The Bushmasters

158th Infantry

Inducted into Federal Service on 16 Sept. 1940 from the Arizona National Guard and composed of men from 2 dozen Indian Tribes and 25% Mexican Americans from Indian Reservations and the barrios of Phoenix and Tucson. Their jungle training in Panama led them to become the Armies premier jungle fighters in the Pacific Theater. They had a hard time in Panama where they were taunted with ethnic slurs and degradation by the hard bitten depression era lifers who were predominately Southerners. Adding to this was some 300 unhappy transfers to the 158th from the 5th and 14th Infantry Units. While training in Panama the adopted the name Bushmasters and they wore the "Cuidado" patch. They primarily fought in New Guinea and the Phillippines and when interviewed in later years they would say that the jungles of Panama were worse than New Guinea.