Several months ago I added a February 1945 anniversary program for the 56th Signal Battalion to my collection. The back cover features a colorful reproduction of the unit's Disney designed insignia. This particular design was created in the winter of 1941, by Disney artist Van Kaufman.
To get around War Department restrictions, which disallowed any insignia designs that gave away a unit's designation, Kaufman has used 5 stars above the rabbit and 6 stars below to indicate the 56th's designation. The lightning bolt was often used as a sign the unit in question was involved in a communications role, while the rabbit in question may or may not be Thumper from Bambi.
The 56th was first constituted in October 1927. During WW II, units such as the 56th provided communications for U.S. Army Corps Headquarters - this included both radio and telephone line hook-ups.
In July 1942, the unit left the United States for Scotland. The men in the unit engaged in training exercises in Northern Ireland, and in November 1942 the unit traveled to England, where they remained until the D-Day invasion.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the men of the 56th Signal Battalion landed at Omaha Beach, on the Normandy coast of France. From there the unit supported combat operations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and finally Czechoslovakia.
In February 1946 the unit departed Europe for home. On March 8, 1946, the unit was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. The 56th Signal Battalion was awarded several battle streamers and the Meritorious Unit Commendation, for its participation in WW II.
56th Signal Battalion
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