Now it can be told! At the time of the Japanese surrender the 2d Engineer Special Brigade was preparing to take its accustomed place in the front line of the great assault on the home islands of the Empire. At first it appeared that the enemy's precipitate surrender would deprive our Amphibious Engineers of the trip to the land of the cherry blossoms which had been their goal for so long. But when the troop lists were made up for the occupation of Japan, the 2d Engineer Special Brigade was one of the first units on the list. First of the seaborne troops to land in Japan were units of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 592d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment - the same units that had first joined forces in New Guinea to invade the Admiralties and later had been teamed in the first invasion of the Philippines at Leyte. Accompanying them was the 112th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team, our old comrades of the rugged days of Arawe.
In due order the other units of the 2d Engineer Special Brigade followed. One regiment, the 532d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, participated in landing in Korea, thus becoming the only 2d Engineer Special Brigade unit to land on the mainland of Asia. At the time this manuscript went to the printer, the 2d Engineer Special Brigade had reached its goal - Tokyo.
Much water had flowed under our bows since the 2d Engineer Special Brigade was activated only a little over three years before. We had crossed a continent and the greatest of the oceans to a new land, where we found new friends and faithful Allies. We had participated in a new and unique form of warfare - amphibious warfare - under fantastic conditions. Our advance from Morobe in British New Guinea, where our first combat mission had staged for Nassau Bay, spanned 4,300 miles.
Our boats had carried over 2,000,000 passengers, 1,500,000 tons of cargo, and had traveled over 4,500,000 boat miles doing it. We had made 82 combat landings and had landed with fifteen different assault divisions, including one Marine Division and three Australian Divisions, and had functioned under Navy as well as Army command. We had been the first to use DUKWS, Buffaloes and barrage rockets in this theater and had invented and perfected our own anti-aircraft defense in the LCM Flak Boats. At least fifty Jap planes and their crews had fallen victim of our AA guns. Eight times elements of the Brigade performed so gallantly in action that they were awarded Presidential Unit Citations.
Units of the Brigade participated in five official campaigns as follows:
- East Indies
- Northern Solomons
- New Guinea
- Southern Philippines
- Bismarck Archipelago
The 2d Engineer Special Brigade furnished units for the occupation of both Japan and Korea. Such journeys have their price. In the long miles from Oro Bay to Tokyo, the landing beaches have almost every one claimed a share of that "last full measure of devotion" that every Amphibian had stood ready to offer along every mile of the road. The rows of white crosses in the beachheads almost invariably included the last resting place of one or more Amphibian soldiers. Their sacrifice will always be remembered by their comrades of the 2d Engineer Special Brigade who know better than any that, but for their devotion, the long road could never have been traveled to the victorious end.
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES, PACIFIC
Office of the Chief Engineer
31 August 1945
TO THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS:
To you belongs a full measure of the victory attained by our forces. Your task has been not only vitally important to our combined operations but also a difficult, hazardous and gruelling one.
Our amphibian engineers have performed gallantly and outstandingly in landing our assault forces and effecting their subsequent close combat support on over 150 successful major and minor amphibious operations in the Southwest Pacific. Our combat engineers have, often under fire, ably assisted the operations of our combat forces in mine clearing, combined attack on enemy defensive positions, rapid construction of roads and bridges, and on all other types of engineer work. Our basic construction units have performed miracles in transforming virtually overnight, jungle, swamp and mountainous terrain into depots, airdromes, hospitals and camps. Aladdin-like, you have created major ports and bases, without which our air operations and forward movement would have been impossible. Our engineer supply forces have, under greatest difficulty, surmounted the impossible in procuring, handling and providing the millions of tons of hundreds of thousands of items of engineer equipment and supplies, required for this gigantic engineer effort. Our maintenance units have kept this vast engineer work potential functioning by efficient maintenance of many millions of horsepower capacity of engineer equipment, without which our task could not have been performed. Our topographic units have charted a vast, relatively unknown section of the world and provided hundreds of millions of maps to guide our forces through what otherwise would have been a dark unknown. Our engineer planning and supervisory headquarters have, with high success, borne a heavy responsibility in their planning and subsequent, continued supervision of these difficult tasks.
Each of you has done his part well. With a failure or omission of any of these important cogs, our entire machine and the operations they support, would not have functioned. And let us all pay a silent tribute to those of our ranks who gave their lives in the execution of these tasks. To each of you of all ranks I tender my deepest appreciation for your magnificent effort, my pride in you for your outstanding performance and my best wishes for your continued well-being and success.
HUGH J. CASEY,
Major General, U. S. Army
Final Review --- Yokoham, October 2, 1945
"THE ROAD TO TOKYO"
At Oro, Nassau Bay, and Lae,
White crosses on the beachhead show
The resting place of those we know
Who led the way.
At Scarlet Beach, and Arawe,
Cape Gloucester, and on Negros Isle,
Let's stop and pray a little while,
On Wakde, and by Mokmer Drome,
You'll find the bravest and the best
Lie there eternally at rest.
They'll not go home.
We landed at Leyte in the fall,
Ormoc and Biri took their toll
As we pressed forward to our goal:
Some gave their all.
Only their comrades really know
How gallantly they led the way,
Along the road from Nassau Bay-