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Commanding Generals of Two Divisions
Greet Members of Both 34th and 88th
As the guard is changed in the forces of occupation in Italy, Brig. Gen. James C. Fry, 88th Division Commander, and Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte, 34th Division Commander, give their official greetings to the new and old members of the two divisions. Their letters, specially prepared for the joint edition of the "Blue Devil" and the "Red Bulletin", follow:
To you men of the 88th who are leaving with the 34th Division, I extend to you personally and for the rest of your comrades sincere wishes for a happy voyage and for success and happiness in the days to come. You may look back on your days in Italy with pride. the 88th has been acknowledged by friend and foe alike as one of the outstanding divisions in this theater. No task has ever been assigned in or out of combat that has not been performed in a manner warranting proud memories. I know you are glad to be travelling homeward with veteran comrades of the 34th. I'm happy that you go as part of a combat division and not singly and unnoticed. Again, goof fortune and happiness in the days to come.
To the veterans of the 34th Division who now don the clover-leaf of the "Blue Devils" I extend most sincere greetings. In this assigned task which we take over under most difficult conditions, it is comforting to know that the men who supplement our ranks come from such an outstanding division with a heritage of gallant combat, and who have started wisely the role of occupational forces. I know that you can be depended upon to carry on in the same spirit and that in a short space of time we will have a strongly tempered veteran force truly representative of America. Soldiers who have worn the cloverleaf have always been a proud and cocky lot and I know that you who join us will add to the tradition that have made us a fine division. We are all representatives of America. Let us not forget it. In our approach, in our conduct, and in our appearance, we represent America in this part of the world.
In the days to come there will be a constant turnover of personnel where old men will be leaving for home and new men will be joining the ranks of the "Blue Devils". I call upon every individual to establish and maintain high standards, to hold high the torch of our great country while we are in this land. Thousands of young Americans died by our sides to bring the war to a successful conclusion, and it is for us to carry on the task for which they gave their lives.
Brigadier General, U. S. Army
Commanding, 88th Division
It is a fine old military custom which provides that the old and new guards exchange courtesies at the time of relief. So now, as the 34th hands over the task of occupation to the 88th Division I take pride in saluting, on behalf of the "Red Bulls", those comrades who wear the blue clover leaf patch.
But this occasion is more than a passage of duties, it is also an exchange of men. For those of us in the 34th who are returning to the United States, it is a deep satisfaction that our division, with its long record, should make its last voyage in one group, preserving that sense of unity and teamwork which has been its glory during the paste three and a half years of foreign service.
It has not been by accident that we have achieved our measure of fame. The spirit of Hill 609, of Cassino, of Anzio, the Gothic Line and the Apennines, of the Po Valley, reposes yet with the division. I welcome the gallant members of the 88th who are to share, if only briefly, our badge. We extend to them our fellowship and our deep respect for their accord. We have fought side by side. we shall return to our now peaceful land together.
To those men of the 34th who now become members of the 88th, I bid farewell and good fortune. The conditions under which you leave us has provided you with a magnificent outfit with which to continue your service for a while. No division has a more just claim on our esteem than the 88th Division, and to none do we give it more freely.
More than ever, at this time, is needed from American troops an example of steadiness, discipline, and fairness, not merely in their dealings with the civilian population, but also in all of your activities, whether military or private, which may be observed by the local passerby.
We have tried to do our work here in a manner creditable to our uniform and our traditions. Let those who now put on the blue clover-leaf for the first time maintain and improve their performance in loyal service to the 88th Division.
Those who remain in Italy do so only temporarily. From time to time, groups will return to America in our wake. Until then the 34th wishes the 88th good luck on its job and a speedy and safe return home when its work is done.
Major General, U. S. Army
Commanding, 34th Division
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