103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION
General Officers Serving with the 103d Infantry Division (CACTUS)
General Haffner left the Illinois National Guard when the 33d Infantry Division was federalized. At that time he was the commander of the 33d ID Div Arty. On August 13, 1942 General Haffner received his second star and assumed command of the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) where he remained until health issues forced him to evacuate the war zone and into retirement.
Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, serving as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division in the absence of Major General Maxwell Taylor who was attending a staff conference when the 101st became encircled at Bastogne. At the height of what seemed in-surmountable odds that the 101st Airborne would survive the Battle of the Bulge, the Germans issued a call for unconditional surrender. General McAuliffe sent a one word reply; "nuts." Afterwards the weather during December 1944 cleared and the 101st Airborne Division was resupplied by air and the U.S. Army Air Corps pounded the Germans relentlessly. After coming off a victory at Bastogne, Brigadier General McAuliffe was given command of the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus), replacing the ailing Major General Haffner. General McAuliffe remained the Commanding General until the deactivation of the 103d Infantry Division in September 1945. General McAuliffe remained in the Army, retiring as a full General.
Brigadier General John T. Pierce served during WW I as a Cav officer. He commanded the 14th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division prior to his assignment as Assistant Division Commander, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus). General Pierce joined the Cactus Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana and served as the Assistant Division Commander until the Division's deactivation in September 1945.
Brigadier General Roger M. Wicks was a graduate of the United States Military Academy where upon graduation November 1, 1918 was assigned to the European Theatre. After a six year stint overseas, he returned to the USMA as an instructor and backfield coach of the Army football team. Later he served as an instructor at the Army's Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. General Wicks commanded the 79th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and served as the Corps Artiller Officer, IV Army Corps prior to his assignment to the 103d Infantry Division as Div Arty Commander. He was promoted to Colonel in July 1942, assigned Division Artillery Commander of the Cactus Division in August 1942, and received his star on November 2, 1942. General Wicks served as Division Artillery Commander for the 103d Infantry Division until the unit's deactivation in September 1945.
Senior Officers and Regimental Commanders
Colonel Guy S. Meloy, Jr. replaced Colonel Lewis C. Barkes as Chief of Staff. Colonel Meloy was a United States Military Academy graduate and one of the first Anti-Tank Officers in the U.S. Army. He served with the Cactus Division, as Chief of Staff, from April 1944 until the unit's deactivation in September 1945. Colonel Meloy continued his service with the Army, retiring in 1963 at the rank of General.
The first commander of the 409th Infantry Regiment was Colonel Charles N. Stevens, who held command until health forced him into retirement in early 1944. Colonel Stevens Executive Officer was Lieutenant Colonel Claudius L. Lloyd, who was promoted to Colonel and assumed command upon the departure of Colonel Stevens. Colonel Lloyd remained in command of the 409th Infantry Regiment until the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) was deactivated in September 1945.
After activation November 15, 1942, the first commander came from the 85th Division and joined the 410th Infantry Regiment in early October 1942. Shortly thereafter, the remainder of the officers arrived at Camp Claiborne where the 410th Infantry Regiment would start training. Colonel Henry J. P. Harding commanded the 410th Infantry Regiment during its combat phase in the ETO.
Commanding the 411th Infantry Regiment was a Regular Army officer, Colonel Donovan Yeuell. His men viewed him as a no nonsense, hard charging commander who loved to be in the thick of things - whether training or operations. He gained respect from his men for being the kind of commander who would not send anyone into an area where he, himself, would not go.
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