164th Infantry subject of book, event to be held Saturday in city

Louise Oleson, Editor
Devils Lake's Leon Timboe is in this photo of the 164th. He is the second row, third from the left.

There will be a discussion and book signing in Devils Lake this Saturday in the lobby of the historic Great Northern Hotel located at the corner of 4th Ave. NE and Railroad Ave.

The historical discussion will focus on the 164th Infantry in the Pacific War from 1942 - 1945. The discussion will be followed by a book signing by the author of the book titled, They Were Ready, Terry L. Shoptaugh.

The event will take place beginning at 2 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 2, and will continue until 4 p.m.

Two members of this battalion live in Devils Lake - Leon Timboe and Kenneth Shaver. They also plan to be on hand for this special event.

The following information was provided by the Editor of the 164th Infantry News:

During the time of the Spanish American War, Devils Lake hosted Company D, 2nd Dakota Infantry.  As part of the reorganization for WWI, Active Army Infantry Regiments were renumbered 1-100, National Guard Regiments 101 through 300.  The 2nd Dakota Infantry was disbanded, but the 1st Dakota Infantry remained intact and was redesignated the 164th Infantry Regiment, which served as a Replacment Regiment in the European Theater with the 41st Division during WWI.  

In the 1920's and 1930's, Devils Lake hosted the Howitzer Company of the 164th Infantry Regiment.  The Howitzer Company was commanded, at one point, by Arthur Timboe.    In 1939, the Howitzer Company was redesignated as the Antitank Platoon of the Headquarters Company and remained at Devils Lake.   

In late 1939, the entire state underwent a reorganization as part of the 43,000 man increase in the military ordered by President Roosevelt in September of that year.  The creation of a full Field Artillery Regiment in the face of impending induction led, in turn, to a major restructuring of the 164th Infantry.  After a careful review of conditions in the infantry and promising sites for new home stations, Adjutant General Heber Edwards ordered the disbandment and relocation of the Service Company at Lisbon, Company D at Minot, and three smaller outfits.  He converted some infantry outfits to artillery.  Minot's Company D, 164th Infantry, became Battery B, 188th Field Artillery, and the 164th's Company D moved to Rugby, a town that had never had a Guard unit.  

Edwards moved the Service Company from Lisbon to Devils Lake.  He had used Works Progress Administration and National Guard Bureau funds to build storage garages and repair shops for the Guard's seventry trucks at Camp Grafton.  "The Service Company is supposed to man these, and to be experts in the care and operations of these trucks," said Edwards.  “It only made sense to have Service Company as close to Camp Grafton as possible.”

---Excerpts from Citizens as Soldiers: A History of the North Dakota National Guard byJerry Cooper with Glenn Smith.

Other local connections with the 164th were the late Art Timboe and the late Eli Dobervitch. See Thursday’s Devils Lake Journal for more on their connection to the story of the 164th Infantry.

The book, "They Were Ready" will be highlighted during the discussion Saturday at 2 p.m. in the former Great Northern Hotel lobby.