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A Brief History of the 358th Infantry


Camp Barkeley

The story begins in Camp Barkeley, near Abilene Texas. There, in the famous mesquite range country of West Texas, the 358th Infantry was reactivated with the 90th Infantry Division on the 25th of March, 1942. New recruits from all parts of the country joined the original 20th Infantry cadre at Camp Barkeley and a vigorous training program was instituted for these soldiers fresh from civilian life. In basic training at Barkeley, they learned how to live as a soldier, how to shoot. There were daylight maneuvers and night problems on barren, rugged Hankins Ranch. A high state of discipline was maintained throughout all phases of training and great emphasis was given to close order drill. On the parade ground they gained a reputation for their appearance and their precise execution. Their endurance was tested on may grueling twenty-five mile hikes along Burma Road and over the familiar ranch area. Finally, after eleven months, well trained and disciplined soldiers emerged from these West Texas proving grounds.


On January 26, 1943, the Regiment, now completely motorized, was rolling down the highways for a crack at Louisiana Maneuvers. Here it engaged in a series of three, two week free maneuvers, make-believe battles, against the 77th Division. Eleven months of rigorous training was now put to a successful test. On completion of these maneuvers the unit returned to Camp Barkeley, cleaned up, and polished up on drill and marksmanship.

Desert Heat

The 358th Infantry struck out for the West on August 4th, 1943, moving by rail to the wide open spaces of the California Desert, temporarily stopping at Camp Pilot Knob near Yuma Arizona; later moving to Camp Granite under the shadow of the towering Granite Mountains and to the vast maneuver area in the Harquahala Mountains of the Arizona Desert. In the final weeks the Outfit participated in a large scale mock-battle that raged up and down the California Desert from Needles, California to Yuma, Arizona. It was during this latter phase of the maneuvers that the division distinguished itself - attacking through Palen Pass, a treacherous mountainous passageway, in record time. Three months of rough exercises in this hot, desolate wasteland of the West under "Ol' King Salt Tablet" found the Regiment physically hardened and skilled in maneuver; found it tougher - wiser.

From Coast to Coast

A coast to coast railroad trip took the Regiment from the Pacific to the Atlantic, where on New Year's Day it moved into comfortable quarters at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and occupied regular barracks for the first time since activation. Many for the first time became acquainted with New York City and America's Eastern Seaboard. Garrison life for the 358th Infantry was short-lived however, for early in March the 90th Division was alerted for overseas movement, and on March 14 quietly loaded up bag and baggage, and slipped out of Fort Dix to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.

At Camp Kilmer the outfit was immediately plunged into a whirl of furious activity - equipping and preparing for overseas movement - "POM". For several days the Regiment was but a shipping number, "precious and high priority cargo", marked for a secret destination somewhere in the ETO.

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