The battalion was originally the 419th AAA AW Battalion and was converted to and redesignated as the 71st Chemical Mortar Battalion at Camp Shelby, Miss., in accordance with the TO & E 3-25, 26 and 27, dated 29 September 1944, effective 0001, 7 December 1944 pursuant to General Order No. 40, 14th Hq & Hq Det, Sp Trs, 2dArmy, Cp Shelby, Miss., dated 6 December 1944. Upon redesignation Lt Col (then Maj) Aubrey O. Pittenger 0298 215 assumed command. Lt Col Pittenger was formally commanding officer of the First and later the Second Training Regiment at AFSTC, Cp Silbert, Ala. Within a period of several weeks after redesignation, the following officers were assigned T/O positions, as follows:





Maj Jesse E Hendricks 0356071 CWS

Bn Executive Officer

CW Sch Edgewood Ars, Md

1st Lt Ernest R Laverdiere

01 045 495 CAC

Bn Combat Liaison, S-1 and Bn Adj.

479th AAA AW Bn

Capt (then 1st Lt Marquis L Pinkston 01 054 088 CAC

Bn Cml Intelligence Field Officer, S-2 

 479th AAA AW Bn

Capt Paul Adkins 01 035 110 CWS

Bn Plans & Training Officer, S-3

100th Cml Co (Co mp), Edgewood Arsenal, MD 

Capt (then 1st Lt) Leon Goodman

01 046104 CAC

Hq Company Commander,

Bn Supply Officer

479th AAA AW Bn

Capt (then 1st Lt) Joseph J Bruskie

01 046 028 CAC

 Bn Motor Officer

 479th AAA AW Bn

Capt (then 1st Lt) Joe A Eckhart

01 046 076 CAC

 Comdg Co A

 479th AAA AW Bn

Capt (then 1st Lt) Roger I Martin Jr

01 046 201 CAC

Comdg Co B

479th AAA AW Bn

Capt (then 1st Lt) Eugene C Carlson

0 495 659 CWS

Comdg Co C

CWS Repl Pool,

Cp Siebert, Ala.

Capt Mark A Brannon 0 297 467 MC

Comdg Med Det Bn Surgeon

479th AAA AW Bn


The above CAC officers requested and were officially detailed in the CWS.

During the course of the Individual Training Program and the Unit Training Program the authorized allotment of T/O officers, consisting of 38 officers and 1 warrant officer, was supplemented by approximately 20 CWS officers attached to the Battalion in order to give close supervision to all phases of training.

The 479th AAA AW Bn T/O of 39 officers and over 850 enlisted men was gradually reduced and replaced so the present T/O included, in addition to former AAA men, approximately 90 enlisted mortar trained replacements from Ft McClellan, Ala., and 80 specialist and basic replacements for the 14th Hq and Hq Det, Sp Trs, 2nd Army, CP Shelby, Miss., and the other units including other Chemical Mortar Battalions.

b. The organization was placed in A-4 priority on 2 Jan 1945 and completed The Individual Training Program on 5 February 1945. The battalion was alerted for overseas movement on 15 March 1945. On 1 March 1945 the unit went on a two week field problem at Cp Shelby to accomplish river crossing training and to take basic medical and AGF Mortar Firing Tests. b. After and individual clothing showdown inspection on 3 April 1945, the Battalion was inspected by representatives of the Inspector General's Department on 13 May 1945.

The Port Call was received on 5 June 1945 from the Seattle Port of Embarkation ordering equipment to arrive at the Port 30 June 1945 and personnel to arrive on 3 July 1945.The advanced party consisting of Capt Leon Goodman, Bn 5-4, and 2d Lt John A. Hooper departed of for the port on 24 June, 1st Lt John Lawson, Bn Adjutant, departed for the port on 26 June as Battalion Billeting Officer. Personnel departure date was delayed for nine days by the port and the unit departed Camp Shelby, Miss. on 7 July 1945. The organization arrived at Fort Lawson Staging Area, Seattle Washington on 12 July, the staging process was started at once. On 21 July the unit was alerted for further movement, and the battalion boarded the USS Zeilin (APA 3) on 22 July, per par 4 SO 175 ASF, FLSA, dated 20 July 1945 with the destination of SEST, via Eniwetok and Ulithi. The unit arrived at Orange Beach, Okinawa on 22 August 1945, immediately debarked and bivouacked for one night at nearby Army Assembly Area. The battalion was assigned to the XXIV Corps per X Army General Order No 137 Dated 30 July and assigned to a bivouac area at Nagusuku, on Route 3, approximately 10 miles south of Naha to where movement was made on 23 August.

On 24 August the battalion was alerted for movement to Korea for occupation duty and immediately started preparations. Co A and A Ammunition Section of Headquarters Co were attached to the 7th Division for movement to Korea per 7th Division Field Order No 45 and moved to 7th Division Bivouac Area on 6 September. On 21 September the Commanding Officer was notified by XXIV Corps that the Battalion was no longer alerted for movement and that Co A and A Ammunition Section of Headquarters Co were relieved from attachment to 7th Division and would return to the Battalion Area on 2 October. The unit was relieved from assignment to XXIV Corps effective 26 September and assigned to AFWESPAC and further assigned to ASCOM I. Lt Col Pittenger was relieved from assignment and command of the Battalion on 2 October and Major Jesse E Hendricks assumed command. Col Pittenger was assigned to Hq & Hq Battery 10th AAA, APO 235 for duty with Military Government in Korea. Maj Jesse E Hendricks was relieved from assignment and command on 9 November and assigned to 25th Replacement Depot for readjustment. Capt Roger I Martin assumed command. During the period 9-27 November the battalion was detailed the duty of the Guard and Security of the Naha Ammunition Dump. On 4 November a 25 man Japanese PW Patrol including 6 officers was attached for rations, quarters and command from that time until 28 November. During that period approximately 86 Japanese soldiers and 15 civilians were captured or apprehended.

On 19 November, Warning Order No 4, Headquarters Okinawa Base Command dated 17 November war (sic) received alerting the battalion for return to the United States for inactivation. On 30 November, Movement Order Shipment No RK 2105, Hqrs., OBASCOM dated 29 November was received ordering movement to the United States and assigning the unit E. During the period 1-18 December all officers except six and all men except 47, who were eligible for readjustment under the 1 December Regulation were transferred to the following organizations: Hq BASE X, APO 75, 28th Chemical Smoke Generation Battalion, APO 180, Hq Co OBASCOM APO 331, 62 General Depot, APO 903, and all T/E equipment other than minimum essential equipment was turned in.

Twenty-four men were enlisted in the Regular Army on 9 December and were transferred to the 287th Field Observation Battalion for attachment until called to 25th Replacement Depot for enlistment furlough. Prior to this time all men eligible for discharge under regulations before 1 December had left the unit.

On 18 December the bivouac area was turned over to the Itoman District Naval Military Government, and the unit with a strength of six officers and forty-seven men moved to Unit Staging Area No 1, Okinawa. On 19 December a cadre of 5 officers and 37 men arrived and were assigned per SO 201 and 203, Hq 25th Replacement Depot, APO 105. Major Thomas G Morton 0 233 776 CE assumed command on 19 December. On 21 December 26 officers and 594 enlisted men were assigned per SO 201, Hq 25th Replacement Depot, and seventy-two hours of continuous work by Battalion Headquarters under direction of M/Sgt E.J. Hemmer, Battalion Sergeant Major, were required to make up POM Passenger Lists and Personnel Rosters. Company Commanders were appointed by VOCO and Companies were organized according to Separation Center groups. On Christmas Day the Battalion Commander was notified that all Personnel would start loading aboard the USS Lavaca as casuals on 28 December and the work of endorsing Service Records as casuals was begun at once. One man and one officer were designated to remain on Okinawa to compost the unit until fillers were received. The following day the Battalion Commander was notified that the organization would remain a Category IV Unit and loading was scheduled to start on 30 December.

During the afternoon of 29 December 1945 an advance party consisting of Company A boarded the USS Hamblen (APA 114) at Baten-Ko. On the following day the main body and approximately 1300 casuals boarded and the ship departed from Okinawa on 301630 December 1945. The battalion commander was made Ship Troop Commander, the necessary guard and mess details were set up at once. The battalion Service Records were indorsed to the appropriate Separation Centers during the voyage, and the unit was scheduled to arrive at Seattle at about 1600 on 17 January 1946. The ship crossed the International Date Line on 7 January 1946. It is anticipated that the inactivation of the battalion on the west coast will be prompt and that separation from the service of the unit personnel will take place without delay.

Although the organization arrived overseas too late to see combat, the men and officers of the 71st Chemical Mortar Battalion had the satisfaction of doing its assigned jobs well and of gaining experience and adventure as a unit particularly in building a complete salvage lumber bivouac area with barracks for all troops after the 9-10 October Okinawa Typhoon.