Immediately following the surrender, the division was assigned its zone of occupation around Imst, Austria. Primary duties involved occupying the towns and villages and sending out patrols to scour the forests and lonely mountain huts seeking disorganized bands of enemy who still roamed the area and former high-ranking members of the Wehrmacht and Nazi organizations who were still at large. Roadblocks and check stations were set up at strategic points along the main roads. Members of the German forces were disarmed and concentrated into P.W. enclosures. Their arms, weapons and ammunition were collected at captured enemy equipment dumps.
The 44th was tasked towards the end of its brief stay (May 24 - June 1) in Austria with the task of transporting the 19th German Army which had surrendered to them from Landeck to a large PW camp near Munich. In preparation for the move, the Division collected and inventoried the captured German equipment, including hundreds of vehicles, horses, arms and ammunition, rations and signal equipment, before storing them in depots.
The 44th was to remain in Austria for only one month after VE-Day, as it was soon designated a Category II (deployment to the Pacific Theater) unit and placed on the Redeployment Schedule with a departure date set for July. Orders were issued on June 3 for the Division to move to Buchen, near Heidelberg, were the unit would turn in most of its equipment and supplies to Army depots in preparation for its shipment back to the United States. The Division relinquished its occupational responsibilities to the 103rd Infantry Division and began its long journey to the States.
Next, the invasion of Japan.
Dawson Dowdy (above) served in the 114th Regt. Headquarters Company, with a nice ride right after VE Day.