180th Infantry Regiment crest, 45th Infantry Division, second worldwar

Howard "Max" Aldrich

180th Infantry Regiment Crest, 45th Infantry Division, second worldwar

Introduction to the WWIIRA and 45th Infantry Division, World War II Reenactors

An explanation of who the WWIIRA and World War Two reenactors are

What you will want to know if you have an interest in working with us.

The photo gallery has historical images of the WWII, Thunderbirds and 45th ID reenacting photos.

Information about Venturing Crew 1941, Boy Scouts of America

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These are the World War II events that you will find the WWIIRA in attendance.

Learn about the Men and campaigns of the 45th Infantry Division in WW II.

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Table of Contents listing all of the pages on our WW II 45th Division and Reenacting website, including a list of Maps.
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The following information was obtained from and used with permission of Lance Aldrich.

Howard "Max" Aldrich, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division

Let me begin with my grandfather. Howard "Max" Aldrich was drafted into the service in 1944 to fight for his country within the United States Army. After completion of basic training he was swiftly sent to Europe as one of thousands of replacments for the war tattered and hardened 45th Infantry Division. He served with the "Thunderbirds" (as the 45th was known) in the 180th Infantry Regiment, Company D. He was primarily a heavy weapons crewman having qualified as a marksman in basic training. To this day, I am unaware what his role was. Gathering information from bits and pieces, I believe he was a member of a machine gun squad. I know he was also proficient in the use of the M1 Garand, as were many GI's during World War II.
Only having been in combat for 3 weeks, my grandfather quickly found himself fighting for his life. Having been sent to the 45th Division during March of 1945 he spent most of his combat time on the border of France and Germany, more specifally on the Siegfried Line near a small town named Worms.
As the story goes my grandfather had been fighting for 3 days to take an unknown town near Ballweiller, Germany. Having successfully captured it after 3 days my grandfather was resting within the confines of a war torn building. At 12:00 a.m. there was a sudden BANG and as he said it, "an incredible burning sensation" in his feet. Realizing he had been injured in the feet he was quickly taken back to a Army field hospital. Unfortunatly, and fortunatly, the man who was on guard during the time of the explosion was killed, according to my grandpa's letters home he only had 5 more minutes before it was his turn to take watch. For us this unfortunate happening granted life...in spite of death. Here is a picture of him.

The information above is also located on the family's website at http://www.msu.edu/~aldrich7/family.htm

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