WORLD WAR II (House of Representatives – May 30, 1991)

(Page: H3731)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Morella] is recognized for 60 minutes.

  • Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 756th Tank Battalion
    which was activated on June 1, 1941, at Ft. Lewis, WA.
  • The 756th was mobilized with only 5 Regular Army officers and approximately 50 Regular Army enlisted
    men. The remainder of the battalion–whose authorized strength was 800–included approximately 35 Reserve
    officers and 730 enlisted men who were volunteers and draftees from 43 States. The average age of these
    men, when they were sent overseas for the invasion of North Africa, was 22.
  • The battalion was engaged in combat almost continuously for 26 of the 32 months that it was overseas–from
    October 1942 until the end of World War II in May 1945. The 756th fought in North Africa, Italy, France,
    Germany, and Austria, amassing six campaign streamers to their colors. It was attached to one of the finest
    divisions in the U.S. Army–the U.S. 3d Infantry Division–for most of their operations. The other attachments
    for combat operations included the 36th, 45th, 85th, 88th, and 103rd United States Division and the French
    2d Armored Division.
  • The 756th’s mission was to engage and destroy the enemy and to liberate occupied territory. The battalion
    accounted for thousands of enemy casualties and itself suffered 640 casualties. Of these, 111 were killed, the
    remainder were wounded, missing in action, or became prisoners of war. The authorized officer strength was
    40; of these officers, 14 were killed, 17 were wounded, 3 were missing in action, and 2 became prisoners of
    war. Seventeen noncommissioned officers were promoted to second lieutenants on the battlefield.
  • The 34th Division and this battalion hammered on Cassino, the gate to the Lira Valley, for more than 30 days.
    The 756th was awarded the United States Presidential Citation and the French Croix de Guerre. Many
    members of the battalion were decorated, including two who received the Congressional Medals of Honor.
  • The battalion was the first wave to hit the beaches of southern France, using DD tanks that floated in water.
    From D-day in southern France on August 15, 1944, until the end of the war on May 8, 1945, the battalion
    was continuously in combat action except for one 10-day period after the devastating Colmar Pocket battle.
    After Colmar, the battalion, attached to the 3d Infantry Division, participated in the successful siege of the
    Siegfried Line and the capture of Nuremberg, Munich, and Berchtesgaden. It was stationed in Salzburg,
    Austria, at the end of World War II. The battalion traveled approximately 5,000 miles–from Casablanca to
  • In the opinion of knowledgeable military officers, the 756th was one of, if not the outstanding separate tank
    battalion in the U.S. Army during World War II.
  • The 756th tank monument will be put in the Fort Knox Museum on September 21 this year. I congratulate all
    the brave men who were part of the 756th and recognize the great sacrifices which they and their families
    have made over the decades.