De-activation of the 97th

Public Relations Office

Press Release
22 March 1946


WITH THE EIGHTH ARMY IN JAPAN -- The globe-trotting 97th Infantry Division will be inactivated on March 31, after a seven month tour occupation duty in Japan, it was announced today.

Commanded by Major General H.F. Kramer, the 97th first assembled in Japan at Miizugahara airfield near Kumagaya in September, culminating a redeployment move from the European theater where the trident division played a major role in the liquidation of the German Ruhr pocket and spearheaded the liberation drive into Czechoslovakia.

Disposition of the Division’s units for occupation began gradually, and by December the 97th had reached its maximum deployment through six prefectures -- Saitama, Gumma, Nagano, Niigata, Fukushima, and Tochigi -- covering more than 25,000 square miles of the heart of Honshu.

The huge area held an enormous cache of Japan’s industrial as well as agricultural wealth, including more than one-third of Honshus silk industry, in which Nagano, held by Division artillery, alone produced 21 per cent; the Nakajima Aircraft Plant at Ota, headquarters of the 387th Regiment, once Japan’s most important airplane assembly plant; one of the four locomotive plants in the Tokyo area at Omiya where the 386th Regiment had its headquarters, and Niigata City, the largest seaport on the island’s west coast, occupied by the 303rd Regiment’s second battalion.

Confiscating and disposing of Japanese military property proved to be the Division’s prime task. The 97th returned 198,142,046 pounds of foodstuffs, 670,226 gallons of gasoline 8,568,857 yards of cloth and 480,343 pairs of boots and shoes to the Japanese government for distribution to civilians.

Shipped to the Bank of Japan in Tokyo were 296,682 carats of industrial diamonds, 145 grams of platinum, 580 grams of platinum alloy rod, 45 tons of silver bar, 10 tons of silver wire, and 1,795 long-tons of silver coins believed to be Chinese.

18,039 tons of ammunition and explosives were turned over to ordinance depots by the 97th for dumping.