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Rogers Historical Museum  


Photo of the Month

206th C.A. A.A

By Emilee Dehmer, research assistant

 

World War II was a perilous time in the nation’s history. President Roosevelt attempted to keep the United States out of the war, but when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, “a day that would live in infamy,” going to war could be held off no longer and Americans were called to fight.

 

The 206th Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft Battalion (C.A. A.A.) was made up of local men who fought in World War II. This unit was first organized from the Arkansas Army National Guard troops in 1917 for service in the First World War. However, they saw no action and were disbanded. By 1940, they were mobilized again for one year as part of the nation’s defense efforts.  During training in Fort Bliss, Texas, the unit had to compete with another coastal artillery unit to win an assignment to the Philippine Islands instead of being posted to the Aleutian Islands. The other unit was the 200th C.A. from New Mexico. They had a clear advantage in the selection process because most were fluent in Spanish, which would come in handy in the Philippines.

 

The decision came down to a coin toss. The 200th C.A. won the flip of a nickel and was sent to the Philippines. That loss of a coin toss would prove to be a fortunate thing for the 206th. The 200th C.A. was decimated when the Japanese invaded the Philippines and were forced to participate in the Bataan Death March.

 

Instead of the Philippines, the 206th was stationed at Dutch Harbor, in Unalaska, Aleutian Islands, Alaska on August 16, 1941. Just four months later Pearl Harbor was attacked and the troops were prepared to fight. The fight came in June of 1942 when the Japanese attempted to overtake Dutch Harbor and the Aleutian Islands. The Japanese pilots bombed the entire harbor and base beginning what was known as the Aleutian Island Campaign. Accounts claim that the pilots were flying so low the soldiers on the ground could clearly see the faces of the Japanese.

 

The fight lasted just two days, June 3-4, but there were still a number of casualties. Most of those casualties came on the first day when a bomb hit the 864 and 866 barracks killing 17 men from the 37th Infantry and 8 from the 151st Engineers. The Japanese bombers successfully destroyed fuel tanks before attempting to attack the ships in the harbor, the Fillmore and Gillis. The 206th successfully defended the war ships; however the Northwestern, which was a large ship being used to supply power, was hit and destroyed.

 

The Americans had a major success though in their retrieval of a Japanese Zero aircraft. The Zero was a highly sophisticated device and the retrieval of one allowed for study and invention of better defenses against them. The Aleutian Islands did fall under Japanese control after the battle but were retaken on May 29, 1943 after a Japanese Banzai charge. The American troops fought so well against the Japanese that only 28 of the 2500 Japanese soldiers were alive after the charge. When the city of Kiska was recaptured, the Aleutian Island campaign was finally brought to a close.

 

In March of 1944 the troops returned to Fort Bliss and the 206th was deactivated. The troops were then reassigned as follows:

            1st Battalion: 596th AAA – disbanded after one month

            2nd Battalion- 597th AAA – Central Europe and Rhineland deactivate Dec 1945

3rd Battalion: 339th Searchlight Battalion – disbanded after 3 months

After the units were deactivated, most of the former artillerymen became replacements for infantry units.

 

The heritage of this unit carried over through modern National Guard units. Throughout the years thought the 206th has lost some of its loyal members. Below is a list of the names from World War 2 and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Also included are names from the Killed in Action Monument in Jonesboro.

            World War 2:

                        Private Claude H. Biggs

                        Private Allen C. Collier Jr.

                        Private James E. Harrington

                        Private Hugh Bryan Timberlake

                        Private James R. Wiles

                        Private Charles W. Hill

                        Private Ambrose D. Regalia

            Monument in Jonesboro Arkansas:

                        Kenneth Burkhart

                        Clifford Cloud

                        Joseph J. Eble

                        John H. Franklin

                        Charles Hutton

                        Cletis Jeffers

                        Fred Johnson

                        James Lemmer

                        Owen H. Lynch

                        Carl Neal

                        Ray Shreeve

                        Frank Sweeney

                        Roy Wiles

            Operation Iraqi Freedom:

                        Staff Sergeant Christopher Potts

                        Sergeant Russell Collier

 

 

More Photos of the Month

People:
Rogers Academy Class of 1896
Applegate Family
Bingham, George H.
John Black and Hugh “Tater” Black
Blackburn, J.A.C.
Blaylock, Sarah
Carter, C. Jimmie
Clarke, A.O.
Curry, Dr. William Jasper
Decker, Charles
Felker, William R.
Ford, Edsel
Funk, Erwin
Harvey, Coin
Hawkins, Harold and Frank Jr.
Hill, Fred
Jacobs, Thomas
Keck, Jack
Key, Vera
Kirksey, Birch
Lingle, Greer
Lockhart, Tracy
McNeil, Tom
Means, Joe
Morgan, Tom
Morsani, Al
Myler, John
The Sagers
Sikes, J. Wade

J.L. Shinpaugh, Rogers City Marshal
Steele, John Bell and Mary Van Winkle
Thaden, Louise
Rice, Dr. Rufus S.
Rogers, Betty Blake
Rogers, C.W.
Rogers Dough Boys
Rogers, Will

Tribble, Letsie
Truman Boling, Master Builder

Vick Will

Places:
Beaver Dam
Beaver Lake
Butterfield Trail
Camp Joyzelle
Confederate Monument
Coin Harvey’s Spring Lake and Falls
Lake Atalanta
Monte Ne
Old Highway 12 Bridge
Park Springs Park
War Eagle
The Amphitheater at Monte Ne
Silica Mining
Frisco Tunnel at Winslow
Wonderland Cave in Bella Vista
The Ozark Bluff Dwellers
Fisherman's Camp
Kruse's Gold Mine
Highway 71
Hanging Tree

Businesses:

The Apple Industry
Callahan's Station
Cattle Ranching
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Daisy Manufacturing
Decker Motor Co.
Dyke Lumber Co.
Hailey Motor Co.
House of Webster
McNeil Chevrolet
Munsingwear
Poultry Industry
Pressing Sorghum Cane
Rogers Champion
Rogers Hardware Co.
Rogers Transfer & Storage
Suzie-Q Malt Shop
Wal-Mart

Wendt-Sonis

Schools:
Rogers Academy
Rogers High School
Sunnyside Elementary School

Buildings:
The Applegate house
112 South First Street
Bank Of Rogers Building
Benton County Jail
B.F. Sikes Log Cabin
Central Methodist Episcopal Church
J.B. Steele House, 303 South First Street
Juhre Building (1894)
Golden Rule Building (circa 1894)
Lane Hotel
Love's Sanitarium
Mutual Aid Union Building
Palace of the Ozarks
Rogers City Hall
Rogers City Jail
Rogers Milling Company
Rogers Opera House
Rogers Post Office
Rogers Wholesale Grocery Company
The Key Wing
The Stroud Building (1899)
The Victory Theater
James and Sally McDaniel Home

The Stroud Home
The Tribble House
The Rocky Branch School

Organizations:
206th C.A. A.A
Home Demonstration Club
Rogers First Elks Lodge
Rogers Garden Club
Women's Study Club/Mas Luz Club
Benton County Possum Hunters
Rogers High School Football Team 1921
Rogers High School Marching Band 1942
936th Field Artillery Battalion in the Korean War
1960's Rogers High School Spirit
Arkansas State Guard in WWII

Events:

Apple Blossom Festivals
Benton County Fair
Bolin Murder Inquest 
Ozark Golden Jubilee
Rogers Centennial Posse
Rogers Diamond Jubilee (1956)
Santa's Rocket Sleigh
Sledriding
The Arrival of Santa Claus (1945)
The Brightwater Train Wreck (1907)
The Great Car Skate on Lake Atalanta (1940)
Thanksgiving (1904)
The Last Reunion of Pea Ridge Veterans

Other:

Baseball
Cars
Chemical Engine
Christmas Memories
Frisco Railroad
Halloween
Mining in Northwest Arkansas
Natural Resources
Rogers' Congregational Church
Rogers Fire Department
Rogers Police Cars
St. Mary's Hospital
Tobacco and Benton County
Still Busting near Bentonville
Roadwork
John Boat
Quilts
Tall Tree Tales

Civil Defense in the 1960's
Early Cars
Rogers Yuletide
Brick Streets
Rural Road Work

 


 

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