Guard unit proudly carries Heritage Torch


August 17, 2016 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) — Soldiers of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment celebrated, remembered and cherished the legacy of their unit with several events this past drill weekend.


The inheritance of over 70 years of deployments, challenges and achievements resonated in the several events executed by the men and women of the battalion.


“The trials this unit lived through since its creation are inspirational for all of us … no matter what you are doing,” said Capt. Joe Howe, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.

The battalion’s lineage traces back to the Brainerd-based 34th Tank Company of the Minnesota National Guard which on Feb. 10, 1941, was federalized under the command of Maj. Ernest B. Miller. The Minnesotans joined other National Guard tank companies and combined to form the 194th Tank Battalion before being deployed to the Philippines in the fall of that same year. When the Japanese attacked in early December, the battalion fought bravely throughout the Battle of Bataan and the defense of Manila Bay, inevitably enduring the disreputable Bataan Death March following the surrender of Allied forces.


It was these events that inspired the battalion motto: “Remember Bataan … Never Forget!”


During their August drill weekend the battalion welcomed a new commander, Lt. Col. Tadd Vanyo, and thanked Lt. Col. Joshua Simer for his dedicated service to the Battalion, 34th Infantry Division and the Minnesota National Guard. As part of his speech to the soldiers, families and guests in attendance, Simer referred to the situation of then Brig. Gen. Charles D.W. Canham, assistant division commander, 8th Infantry Division, during World War II.


“Brig. Gen. Canham received the German surrender from an officer annoyed at the prospect of surrendering to an officer of lower rank,” said Simer. “He asks, ‘I am to surrender to you. Let me see your credentials.’ An unruffled Canham motioned behind to the several battle-hardened American GIs, and replied, ‘These are my credentials,'” Simer related that story to the successful standings of his own soldiers.


Following the change of command ceremony, the battalion organized and conducted the 19th Annual Bataan Memorial March, regimental reunion and unit formal dining out.


“We had another great turnout at the Bataan Memorial March this year,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Porisch. “It was an honor to host over 300 participants with many more family, friends and supporters, including Bataan survivor Mr. Walt Straka.”


Remember Bataan… Never forget!


by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs