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Grave Registration Service
179th Infantry Regiment
45th 'Thunderbird' Division
No photo available
Private Paul Brown was a member of the Grave Registration Service of the 45th Division. The 45th Division arrived early in Italy and was the reserve division for the landing at Salerno, on Septemeber 9, 1943. The 45th Division waited in landing craft off of the coast and landed later in the day after the 36th Division. In January, they were moved up to the Anzio beach head, where they were under intense combat for several months. Finally, in May, the 5th Army advanced from Cassino and on into Rome.
Private Paul Brown kept a journal of his account at the front lines. As a member of the Grave Registration Service, Private Brown had a task of locating the bodies of the soldiers on the field and removing them for burial. He performed this job in the cover of darkness and sometimes under gun fire and shell fire. They lived close to the front lines where their trenches were under constant shelling.
Paul had his younger brother, Nathan, in the same division. I don't have any details about his company and records. Nathan was in the hospital on one or maybe more occasions with a foot problem. The family doesn't remember if it was a combat wound or trench foot. Paul mentions his brother 18 times in his journals and went to visit him on several occasion. When Paul had accumulated enough time to go home, he requested they allow Nathan go in his place. His request was refused.
Anzio Journal - see Anzio Diary of Private Paul Brown.
Private Brown kept a journal about his life at the Anzio beach. He recorded his story in 4 journals, one of which was lost. He used his journal to jot down his thoughts about his girlfriend and on his mortality. He also recorded an itemized list of well over 200 names of GI's his unit buried. His journal also expressed his opinion of Army life along with memorials of some of his fellow soldiers he had to bury.
Interestingly, he recorded some of the everyday events such as the movies they were able to see there on Anzio beach and the USO entertainers he saw while on Rest & Relaxation breaks. Paul Brown's complete journal, less the list of deceased soldiers, is available on this site(which prints out on 38 pages).
After the War
No info, yet. Paul and his brother, Nathan, survived the war. Nathan had problems with his feet the rest of his life.
This information was graciously provided by Paul Brown, Private Brown's son. Paul Brown graciously provided me a copy of his father's journals. The original copy of this journal has been loaned to the 45th Division Museum in Oklahoma City. To read the account of Private Brown, see Anzio Diary of Private Paul Brown.
A display at the 45th Division Museum in Oklahoma City(taken about 1988).
A selection of captured Italian weapons & bayonets
and a "Flag taken from top of Messina city hall".
Distinguishing Insignia for 179th Regiment
The Division originated in Oklahoma as can be seen in the
images used on the division patch(at top) and this D.I. pin.
This metal pin was worn on the dress uniform but not in combat.
The original Division patch was a red square with a Swastika, a symbol used by the Indians.
This was, of course, changed when the swastika became a universal symbol for the hated Nazi's.
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