The Living Deadeye Legacy
Service to the Nation
Deadeyes of the 96th Infantry Divison created their legacy in the Pacific Theatre of Operations when they liberated Leyte and secured Okinawa. By their actions they proved to be one of the premier US Army Divisions in WWII.
This legacy is reinforced by being honored with our nation’s highest awards; The Presidential Unit Citation, five Congressional Medals of Honor, hundreds of Silver and Bronze Stars, and thousands of Combat Infantry Badges.
This legacy of the Deadeyes has also been recorded in hundreds of history books, official military journals, individual stories by the soldiers, and numerous publications
Memorials have been placed in Leyte and Okinawa and eighteen locations around the country to remember their legacy.
Camaraderie and Family
The Deadeyes became comrades in arms, and continue to enjoy that relationship today. This was built on their early days of training in camps all over the west coast, and their combat experiences in the swamps of Leyte, and on the rocky crests of Okinawa.
This camaraderie has been maintained and enjoyed by their one-on-one conversations at yearly reunions around the country.
In early reunions Deadeyes often met with their units in private suites. Here they shared their experiences about losing friends, the wounded, and artillery shells that came crashing in. They talked about killing enemy soldiers, carrying wounded back, dealing with all the mud and rain, and their C-rations.
Their wives came with them to these reunions, and over the years they became close-knit families, where they shared pictures and talked about their children.
These reunions were important to everyone, so reunion officers planned reunions year after year in city by city. Many volunteers stepped up and mailed notices, collected dues, arranged sightseeing tours and processed reservations.
It was very important to everyone that Deadeye fallen should be honored and recognized, so a touching military memorial service was held every year. This became the heart of each reunion.
Each reunion concluded with a beautiful memorial service for both those of the 96th Infantry who had given their lives for our country and those who had passed away since the war. Reunions included a dinner-dance and keynote speaker. Deadeye units often met for breakfasts the following mornings and left with hugs and well wishes.
Deadeye’s Living Chronicle
Reunion officers realized the next step was to make sure that memorials were established so monies were collected. They also assembled pictures of the battles and so CDs were created and made available.
The official division book was given each Deadeye and was cherished by hundreds.
As technology progressed websites were created. Men had access to answers, stories, notices, connections with old buddies, and places to post their stories.
The esteemed Deadeye Dispatch which began in 1944 continues to be published today.
Splinter Deadeye groups met yearly in different cities, and many take tours back to the Battlegrounds of Leyte and Okinawa were enjoyed by several.
In Conclusion
Efforts over six decades have proven laudable. Though their numbers are now small; Deadeyes still meet today. Their next reunion will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2017.
The legacy lives on, the camaraderie continues to glow in those aged Deadeyes, and they will certainly be remembered for their sacrifices.
Members of the 96th Sustainment Brigade and Readiness Command (Who carry the Deadeye name.) have served our country overseas and stateside for years. Their honorable activities carry the legacy of Deadeyes into the future.

  William R Hill, 2009
    Reg 382 Company M