History of the 106th Engineers

The Regiment was redesignated the 106th Engineer Battalion (C) on February 26, 1942, and on August 8, 1943, was redesignated the 106th Engineer Combat Battalion.


The Regiment was redesignated the 106th Engineer Battalion (C) on February 26, 1942, and on August 8, 1943, was redesignated the 106th Engineer Combat Battalion.

Through 1941 the Regiment progressed from basic train­ing, every type of engineer work and combat infantry training to a thoroughly efficient, well rounded outfit. Offi­cers and men not only performed their normal functions but prepared themselves for the biggest of all wars. A large majority of them were to go to new units throughout the Army to organize and help train the expanding army.

From 1941 through 1943 it was to be endless training. Maneuvers, bridge building, water supply, building and tearing down, putting together and blowing up. Work day and night not only assisting the operations of the Division by means of its normal engineering work but fighting many times as Infantry troops. The men always showed a willingness to achieve the greatest attainable efficiency and ability. Morale was always high even in the face of task which at times seemed impossible.

The objective of the 106th Engineers has always been to do the job thoroughly and efficiently regardless of any obstacles. They have more than lived up to this objective which is borne out by many commendations received from the Adjutants General of Mississippi and Florida, the Chief of Engineers, Chief of the Map Reproduction Plant, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army, Corps and Division Commanders.

February 1944 found the 106th Engineers Battalion ready to sail after three years of continuous training and maneu­vering. Enough Officers and men had been trained and passed on to new outfits to form several battalions.

Leaving the United States February 10, 1944 the battalion arrived at Dobodura, British New Guinea, March 17, 1944. It was to be a period of acclimatization. That was only in name. Immediately they were called on to build camps, roads, bridges, furnish water, build and tear down day and night.

On July 3, 1944, company A became a part of the 124th Infantry Combat Team for operations against the enemy at Aitape, New Guinea. The Battalion less Company A, arrived at Maffin Bay, Dutch New Guinea on July 13, 1944 where the 31st Division was to protect airfields and destroy the enemy in and around Sarmi-Wakde Island. In addition to normal functions the job given the 106th of maintaining beach and base roads, operating a combat base of over 40,000 troops and construction of barges, a Liberty dock was prepared at Maffin Bay; Wakde Airdrome was main­tained; unloading of ships and movement of cargo to dumps was supervised. On September 15, 1944 the battalion landed with the Division in the invasion of Morotai Island, Netherlands East Indies. One platoon of Company C went with elements of the 167th Infantry to Sansapor, Dutch New Guinea on November 12, 1944. One platoon company A accompanied 2nd Battalion 167th Infantry in the invasion of Mapia Islands, November 12, 1944. Another platoon of Company A was with the 124th Infantry on November 17, 1944 when Asia Island was invaded.

D-Day on Morotai Island found the Battalion pioneering trails, establishing water points under direct fire of enemy troops, establishing dumps and unloading equipment.

After D-Day supply trails were cut to the Infantry, water points set up, enemy supply dumps destroyed and plans for the permanent road net were worked out. In addition to normal functions the construction of two way coral surfaced roads was begun. An inner perimeter north of the 106th bivouac area was constructed. Emplacements for Division Headquarters were prepared, areas for troops. were cleared and AAA positions were constructed. Night operations were hampered by constant enemy aerial bombings. Over 30,000 square feet of covered storage space was constructed. Two-way 20 ton, pile bridges were built, over 15 miles of supply trails and over six miles of perimeter service roads were constructed.

The job of maintaining airstrips, docks and all Engineer functions of the entire Island were later taken over by th 106th. The engineer situation on Morotai was well under control and in April 1945 everyone was looking toward the Philippines and the next operation.

The Battalion landed on Mindanao Island, Philippines, April 23. 1945. This job can best be covered by the citation awarded by Headquarters 31st Division August 20, 1945.

"BATTLE HONORS.—Pursuant to authority contained in Section IV. Circular Number 333, War Department, 1943, the Commanding General, 31st Infantry Division, desires to give recognition to the following unit for deserved honor and distinction:

106TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION. The 106th Engineer Combat Battalion is cited for outstanding performance in action against the enemy on Mindanao, Philip­pine Islands. during the period April 22, 1945 to June 30, 1945. As the infantry division, of which it was an organic unit, and its attached units began their rapid advance north from Kabacan through Central Mindanao to Impalutao in order to quickly split the Japanese forces, the 106th Engineer Combat Battalion, although it was still on the assigned job of opening and maintaining the supply road for an entire Corps from Parang to Cotabato, was given the mission of performing the engineer work necessary for adequate support of the troops. Through moun­tainous jungle terrain traversed by innumerable gorges and rivers and against constant enemy action, the unit cleared the way for the advance of the division. Despite enemy artillery, mortar, machine gun and rifle fire, the 106th Engineer Combat Battalion with courageous determination and utter disregard for personal safety, sacrificing security for speed, worked right up in the front lines, often with lights at night and within small arms range of the Japanese, building bridges and by-passes. Working at times ahead of the infantry and often on the flanks with little or no security, the engineers kept up constant recon­naissance and opened routes of supply which enabled the infantry to keep the enemy so confused that only once was he able to put up stubborn resistance. Nearly every bridge abutment was mined with heavy demolition bombs which the engineers removed without accident. All of the heavy equipment was moved forward and kept in running order by the use of great initiative and at times simply through sheer determination. North of Kabacan an LCM ferry was established across the Pulangi River a 425 foot infantry support bridge was built and maintained. From this point to the Mulita River a total of 73 bridges were repaired or bypassed as the infantry moved forward, re­placement and more permanent repair being accomplished by other elements of the battalion working night and day in the presence of the enemy. A Bailey bridge was placed across one deep gorge under such difficult circumstances that it had been declared impossible. A 110 foot Bailey bridge was placed across the Mulita River. From this point to Malaybalay the job was heartbreaking as the company in the lead was having to expend every effort to keep up with the infantry using emergency methods and improvisations to maintain close support while small detachments were spread over the whole stretch of road making more substantial repairs, keeping the road open for the movement of the entire division. Much harassment by the enemy was encountered and security had to be sacrificed. At the most advance point the turn-around distance for engineers supplies stretched out to 314 miles over a road which in places disintegrated faster than it could be repaired. Truck drivers as well as road crews worked with little or no security with complete disregard for their own safety. When the junction was made with other troops ad­vancing from the north the battalion then had to concen­trate on the main supply road to the north coast while keeping open the entire Sayre Highway long enough to move the division into the Kibawe to Malaybalay sector. The extraordinary heroism of the officers and men of the 106th Engineer Combat Battalion and their foresight and technical skill tinder difficult and hazardous conditions were a material contribution to the successful advance of the division and exemplify the highest standards of the United States Armed Forces."

In November the battalion sailed for the United States and was inactivated December 21, 1945. The job had been completed—the objective to do the job thoroughly and efficiently regardless of any obstacles had been attained.


Source: Dixie Newsletter, 03/2009.  Author Emory Nash
Page last revised 03/30/2009
James D. West - www.Indianamilitary.org