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The 511th PIR on New Guinea: Part 1

Dobodura Road to Tokyo SignI've received several inquiries lately about what Colonel Orin D. "Hard Rock" Haugen's 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (and the 11th Airborne Division as a whole) did while they were stationed at Dobodura, New Guinea between May and November of 1944 and thought I would paint a portion of that particular picture here.

When the regiment arrived at Oro Bay on May 28, 1944 they got their first real look at the lush green mountains of the Pacific's islands with a relatively short stop-over in Milne Bay (either at Aihoma or Waga Waga) where the Angels' transport, the much-hated SS Sea Pike, off-loaded some cargo and took on fresh water and fuel. During the activities, the dock workers regaled the fresh paratroopers with stories of the battles for New Guinea which had been raging since January of 1942, over two years earlier. Some of the workers even told the Angels that they daily patrolled the jungles around the docks just to shoot enemy stragglers.

Col. Haugen's cocky, yet inexperienced, boys ate it up, of course. 

Welcome to Dobodura

After a local pilot came onboard, the Sea Pike sailed some 160-miles north for Oro Bay where the young paratroopers flooded the decks to study the massive Allied fleets that filled Oro Bay's picturesque waters. It is possible that the 511th disembarked on the bay's southern shores where a Liberty Ship wharf had been built, but I doubt it as the paratroopers had to climb down cargo nets into waiting DUKWs which circled the ship off shore (there were also LST landings at Embogo to the north). The DUKWs then motored up the beach and drove the Angels several miles inland past Allied supply dumps and warehouses which piqued the paratroopers' curiosity. As their months on New Guinea droned on, the young paratroopers would make countless "Midnight Requisition" trips to steal untold amounts of rations, weapons, ammunition, and carefully parked vehicles including jeeps, ambulances, bulldozers and even Kenworth 10-ton 6x6 heavy wrecking trucks. More on that later!

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