Distinguished Unit Citation
The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division is cited
for outstanding heroism, and conspicuous performance of duty in action against the enemy on Luzon, Philippine Islands from 31 January to 5 February 1945.
During this period, this unit distinguished itself by the imposing part it played in the advance of an airborne division to Manila. Headquarters and Headquarters Company was divided into three groups: Forward Command Group, Reconnaissance Platoon, and Command Post Group. All groups landed at Nasugbu with the assault waves , and althoughpinned down for some time soon moved inland and established the division command post. They then continued east with the leading elements.
The Reconnaissance Platoon was dispatched far to the north and moved through thirty-five miles of enemy territory, joining the Forward Command Group on Tagaytay Ridge with valuable information as to the enemy dispositions on the north flank of the division.
Approaching Tagaytay Ridge, the Forward Command Group came under intense artillery and machine-gun fire which wounded two of the General Staff officers and killed one a high-ranking visiting staff officer. When the third regiment of the division landed by parachute on the Ridge, a section of the Forward Command Group left the amphibious force which was heavily engaged with the enemy and proceeded fearlessly through a mile of enemy territory to make the first contact between the two forces and coordinate the combined attack which broke the last resistance on the Ridge.
Two hours later, the Command Post Group followed on the fire-swept road and set up the division command post on the Ridge. Here plans were made for the dash on Manila, and early the next morning the Forward Command Group departed with the leading elements and accompanied the initial penetration into Manila. Command decisions were made on the spot and rapidly disseminated and placed into execution despite heavy enemy fire. The Chief of Staff and the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, were killed in the performance of these forward missions, and the division commander and small staff spent a slow and dangerous hour withdrawing across theParanaque River under heavy machine-gun and antiaircraft artillery fire after having been cut off by the enemy.
The Reconnaissance Platoon, after joining the Command Post Group on the Ridge, immediately set off without rest, reconnoitored the entire route to Manila, secured important road junctions on the route, determined the enemy strength and disposition of the Imus garrison, and located the dirt by-pass which the Infantry followed on the succeeding day to outflank and by-pass the first strong enemy defensive line.
The Command Post Group followed on the heels of the advancing Infantry and set up the command post under heavy artillery fire which wiped out one complete subsection. The plans for the final penetration into Manila and the attack on Nichols Field were made here on this night under the terrific handicaps of heavy casualties of key personnel and intense enemy fire of all types.
The magnificent courage, and devotion to duty which led the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division, to disregard all thoughts of personal safety and to accept great and hazardous risks unhesitatingly inspired the fighting troops and reflect great credit on the military forces of the United States in accordance with the very highest traditions of the military service.
(General Orders No. 69, Headquarters Eighth Army,, 25 June 1945, as approved by the commander in Chief , Pacific.) [ General Order No. 68, War Department, Washington, 14 August 1945]
By Order of The Secretary of War