MSUM Historian publishes book chronicling North Dakota's 164thMoorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - As our World War Two Veterans dwindles in numbers, a tribute tonight to the men of North Dakota's 164th. The state's infantry unit was sent to the South Pacific during America’s toughest times of the war.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
MSUM Historian and Archivist Terry Shoptaugh has just published a book called "They Were Ready." It is a look back at the pivotal role 24-hundred farm kids from North Dakota played at Guadalcanal.
At the height of the bloody battles in the South Pacific was North Dakota's 164th. They served over 600 days in combat in the Pacific.
Left the small towns across the prairie…
“That makes them the longest serving unit in combat in the Pacific.”
For a war that had reached its darkest days.
“Back in F-company however, Medics had gone back to help Shelley, but he had died from his wounds.”
MSUM Archivist Terry Shoptaugh has just finished his new book, They Were Ready. It chronicles The North Dakota's National Guard's 164th role in the Pacific and Guadalcanal.
“They were the first army regiment to go into Guadalcanal which is the first American offensive and the first victory the Americans win after the defeats they suffered after Pearl Harbor.”
In telephone, taped and one on one interviews with North Dakota Veterans from the 164th, Shoptaugh heard riveting first person accounts from those who fought in the Pacific.
“Because if you let down a friend and neighbor, well this is someone you have known all your life.
And that kind of group bond I think was very clear.”
Veterans whose stories, Shoptaugh knows must be preserved.
“These guys are in their 80's and I have said many times that this is easy to write once they tell you. The tough job is deciding which ones to tell and leave out because you have more stories than you can tell in a 500 page book.”
The book is available at Zanbroz in downtown Fargo. A book signing is set for the 22nd of April at the store. Shoptaugh plans on donating all his research and interviews to UND which is home to the archives of the 164th.