BISMARCK - A new book tells the story of the 164th Infantry Regiment in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945.
Author Terry L. Shoptaugh, history professor and archivist at the University of Minnesota Moorhead, spent almost three years researching the unit history and interviewing veterans. He concluded that the title, "They Were Ready," was an appropriate choice in all respects. "They Were Ready" unfolds the tale of the regiment as told by 70 veterans of World War II.
This North Dakota Army National Guard regiment was the first U.S. Army unit to offensively engage the enemy, in either theater, when it reinforced the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal on Oct. 13, 1942.
The first appearance of the book will be at an event at the State Capitol in Bismarck on Monday. Doug Burtell will display original paintings that are used on the book jacket and the image that is carved on the granite 164th Infantry Memorial at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery near Mandan. Burtell, originally from Casselton, now resides in Bowman.
At least seven World War II veterans of the 164th are scheduled to attend, including Bernard Wagner, Valley City, who served in both World War II and Korea, and is currently president of the 164th Infantry Association.
The program includes an historical overview, military displays and comments by Gov. John Hoeven. Books will be available at half the cover price at the event only.
The book is hardcover, large print and contains 50 photos and 11 maps. Books will be available at select bookstores and from The 164th Infantry Association, P.O. Box 1111, Bismarck, ND 58502. Interested persons can e-mail Editor164InfantryNews@hotmail.com. Information about the 164th Infantry Regiment is available on the history tab of the North Dakota National Guard Web site (www.ndguard.com).