WW II Collection On Display At UND
by Kyle Johnson, KVRR Reporter/Producer
February 04, 2013
Taking a trip through history is now as simple as a walk down a hallway at UND.
A new exhibit is showcasing a rare look into the lives of one of North Dakota's bravest infantries during World War II, the 164th Infantry Regiment.
Down a quiet hallway inside Chester Fritz Library at UND, is a new exhibit honoring one of the most celebrated group of North Dakota Soldiers during World War II.
"They are a very highly decorated unit," said exhibit organizer, Dan Sauerwein. "North Dakota can be very proud of its contribution to the war effort""
The infantry helped blaze the trail of battle in the pacific, being the first Army to engage the enemy at the Guadalcanal.
Their support of a marine division even earned them the nickname of the 164th Marines.
"It's the ground pounders." Sauerwein said. "These are the guys that are into combat."
For weeks, hundreds of US soldiers were killed or wounded trying to fight off fierce and sometimes kamikaze-style fighting from the Japanese.
"It was considered dishonorable to surrender, so it was essentially a fight to the death," Sauerwein said.
"I think that's fascinating. What they went through. What they sacrificed, and they did such a great job," added Curt Hanson, with the UND Dept. of Special Collections.
The 25 piece display is part of a larger collection donated to UND, Sauerwein was processing the items when the idea to put them on display popped into his head.
"They're here. We have them. Why not show them to the public?" Sauerwein said.
"I'm very proud of it," said Hanson. "It's a wonderful collection that documents an important part of ND history."
Featuring items such as a bracelet made from a downed zero aircraft, a grass skirt from Fiji and even a Japanese sword.
"That is personally my favorite part of the collection here," said Sauerwein.
A new generation of Americans can now look and appreciate what life was like on the front lines for these brave young North Dakota men.
Now that it's in place, the exhibit will be a permanent fixture on campus.