The Beginning of the
April 7,1943 orders were cut in Camp Shelby, Mississippi sending a cadre of one 1st Lt. and 88 non-commissioned officers to Camp Phillips, Kansas to be the training cadre for the 275th Field Artillery Battalion. The 275th was one of three new battalions to be assigned to the 405th FA Gp (105MM towed). These battalions were to be filled by draftees mostly from Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee . (Sal Oliva, "C" Battery, obtained a copy of the original orders sending them to Camp Phillips.)
The cadre, originally assigned to an artillery battalion stationed in Panama, were highly trained, very mature soldiers. Most were in their mid-twenties and older. They believed that only the tough and well-disciplined soldiers survive the test of battle. They taught us everything connected with military life. Army protocol in every sense of the word was required of each man, from table manners to surviving in the great outdoors. These cadre were in every respect tough, well trained soldiers. Three received battlefield commissions in Europe, E. L. D. Breckenridge, Edward F. Dougher and Charles M. Shanahan all S/Sgt's. They insisted, in fact demanded, that we do everything right. This very quickly gained our respect. To tell the truth, most of the 18-year-old draftees were scared to death of them. Most of this cadre stayed with us throughout the existence of the 275th. A few were killed in action overseas.
The officers for the 275th came from various field artillery units throughout the United States, including officers from the Field Artillery School and from field artillery training centers. Some lieutenants were recent graduates of The Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The first Battalion Commander was Lt. Col. J. B. Rasbach. By April, 1944 Major Roy U. Clay, originally assigned to as S3 of the 275th as a captain was promoted to Battalion Commander. He remained as Battalion Commander until the end of August, 1945.
We owe a debt of gratitude to these training cadre and our Commissioned officers for our splendid record and our survival rate in the war.