This U.S. Army photo from the National Archives shows soldiers of the 165th Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division attacking Yellow Beach Two on Butaritari in Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands (now part of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati), on November 20th, 1943. Part of this picture was used for the cover of the CD "Fire Air and Water" by Flying Heart recording artists Napalm Beach.


A little background information: the 165th Infantry Regiment has a long and distinguished history. Originally the 69th New York Infantry, they were known as the "Fighting Irish" and served in the Civil War 1861-65, the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Mexican Border dispute of 1916, World War I in 1917-18, and World War II from 1942 to 1945. This long legacy of action has earned the Regiment fifty-two battle rings on its flag, more than any other U.S. Army regiment.

During World War II, the 165th Infantry was inducted into federal service at New York City and assigned to the 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment consisted of 12 companies, all recruited solely from New York City. They landed on Butaritari (as shown in this photograph), the principal island of what was then called the Makin Atoll, on November 20th, 1943. The 1st and 3rd battalions landed first, coming ashore on the western end of the island in the face of negligible resistance. Then the 2nd Battalion secured their beachhead on Yellow Beach Two, and together with additional U.S. forces from the 105th Infantry's 3rd battalion, they squeezed the Japanese garrison into a pocket and wiped it out.

updated November 7th, 2015 by Jan Chciuk-Celt