American Army Dress Peak Cap : LD Culp, 41st Infantry Division
|Title||American Army Dress Peak Cap : LD Culp, 41st Infantry Division|
|Physical description||Cloth, leather and metal.|
Olive coloured peaked cap with a brown patent leather peak and chin strap. Two gold coloured metal buttons with eagles to hold the buckled strap in place. Complete with sweat band and fully lined in yellow silk and plastic. Internal leather sweat band, 2 ventilation holes on either side of cap. Manufacturers label stamped to silk.
Lester Donald Culp enlisted at Le Grande, Oregon on 25 September 1939 with E Company, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division at the age of 24. Culp trained in Washington and California and with the declaration of war on 7 December 1941, his battalion was assigned beach defence and guard duty in the Fort Lewis region of Washington state. The 41st Division was destined for duty in the South West Pacific and were the vanguard of the combat units departing America. Thus Culp sailed for Australia from San Francisco in convoy aboard the SS Matsonia on 22 April 1942, arriving in Melbourne on 14 May. For the next two months Culp and his Regiment were bivouacked at Puckapunyal before receiving orders to move north to Queensland for jungle and amphibious training at Rockhampton (possibly at the Shoalwater Centre), where they were to remain for the balance of the year. The 186th were ordered to New Guinea, following in the footsteps of the 163rd Infantry, who had flown into New Guinea on 27 December 1942, and left Queensland aboard the "Bontiko" on 1 January 1943, arriving at Port Moresby and enduring heavy Japanese bombing whilst awaiting transport to the Buna and Sanananda battlefields. Culp's regiment reboarded the Bontiko which steamed via Milne Bay to Oro Bay, where they were disembarked for Semini, site of some of the fiercest battles around Buna, setting up a Headquarters Group. Culp states that they returned to Rockhampton at the end of July 1943 with "1,200 cases of malaria out of a regimental strength of 3,300 - I contacted malaria and dengue fever, which recurred many times for the next seven years. We were sent to Toorbul Point, about 30 miles north of Brisbane toward the end of 1943 for amphibious training. Attack transports to small beach assaults. I remember Christmas 1943 there in the wind and tremendous down pours of rain." Culp returned to America on rotation in early 1944 and was honourably discharged in September 1945 as a Master Sergeant.