June 6 marks the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. I wanted to dedicate this weekly update to the Nebraskans of the 134th Infantry Regiment who came ashore at Normandy about a month later.
The 134th Infantry Regiment was part of the 35th Infantry Division during World War II, and it still is.
My legislative aide and I both began our military careers in the 2nd Battalion of the 134th Infantry Regiment. My son-in-law serves in the regiment today.
I want to thank the Coulthart family, who maintains a webpage where much of this history was found. The Nebraska State Historical Society’s General Butler B. Miltonberger special collection is a rich compilation of some amazing historical records as well.
Lastly, I want to promote the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward. It is an amazing facility I strongly encourage folks to visit. They have done a fantastic job of capturing the World War II experience from a Nebraska perspective.
The beginning of the 134th pre-dates the state of Nebraska. It was first organized Dec. 23, 1854 and fought in the Indian Wars. In 1898, it was mobilized and deployed to fight in Philippine Insurrection. It was deployed again in 1913 for the War with Mexico and in 1918 was sent to France for combat in WWI.
The regiment resumed the role of citizen soldiers until in 1940 when preparations for WWII began.
After the regiment landed at Omaha Beach on July 5-6 and until they sailed for the United States aboard the Queen Mary after the war’s end on Sept. 5, 1945, they liberated or captured 124 towns. In the process, the 134th suffered more than 10,200 casualties, including over 1,200 soldiers killed in action. Over 200 of those killed in action were Nebraskans, who were part of the original regiment that first mobilized and left Nebraska.
The regiment captured nearly 9,000 German prisoners of war and advanced in the face of enemy fire over 1,500 combat miles.
On the “regimental colors” (each Army unit has a distinctive flag), there are 26 campaign streamers from the Indian Wars, the Civil War, the War with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, WWI, WWII, and The War on Terror. The regiment has two Presidential Unit Citations, four distinguished unit citations, a Meritorious Unit Commendation from Afghanistan, an Army Superior Unit Award, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, from the battle of St. Lo in World War II, and an Army Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Most Army units would be lucky to have half of the honors listed here.
From just WWII, soldiers in the regiment received 1 Medal of Honor, 8 Distinguished Service Cross Medals, 159 Silver Star Medals, 738 Bronze Star Medals and more than 10,200 Purple Heart medals.
Reading the history of Nebraska’s 134th Infantry Regiment makes me smile inside. It’s yet another example of the outstanding people that make up our great state.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; email@example.com. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1202, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.