555 AAA Battalion

Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion (Mobile)-Its primary mission is to attack all enemy aircraft within range, to destroy them, cause them to abandon their mission or to decrease the efficiency of their operation. Its secondary role, anti-mechanized defense and ground support. It consists of four Automatic Weapons Batteries and a Headquarters Battery. Each firing Battery has eight 40 mm Gun Sections and four Halftrack Sections; each halftrack having four .50 caliber machine guns mounted in a turret. Total Battalion weaponry includes 32 Bofors 40 mm guns and 64 Browning Heavy Barrel .50 caliber machine guns. The personnel consist of thirty-six officers, three warrant officers and 762 enlisted men.

The "Five-by-Five" Monument

Honoring Soldiers of the 555 AAA Battalion

This magnificent memorial stands in Veterans Park. Shawnee, Kansas. Although funding for its construction was provided by gifts from 555 AAA Battalion veterans and their families, the design concept, park arrangements, site selection, construction, and general managment of the project were driven, primarily, by the dedicated efforts of Joe Lowe.


Excerpt from"The Five by Five, A History of The 555th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion" by Sayward H. Farnum

Just prior to our leaving Camp Hulen for the Louisiana Maneuver Area, on 11 September, 1943, an epochal battalion party was enjoyed at the Wells Point Firing Range. During this festivity the men formally adopted the nickname "Five-by-Five" and gave a roaring approval to the soon-to-be famous battalion insignia of "Mister Five-by-Five, the lovable little fat man in black silhouette against a field of white. This appealing little fellow, whom the Chicago Sun summarized as "...always scurrying off to his duty", was the able creation of Sgt. Emil Stepanovic. Little did any of us realize at that time that our insignia would later be confused with Prime Minister Churchill and called "Little Winnie" by the people of London, or that he would be mistaken for "Fat Herman" by the Goering adherents who were taken prisoners in the Siegfried Line of Germany. (From p.5"The Battalion is Activated")

"It was the first among our attachments to wear the Timberwolf patch"...General Terry Allen

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush stand with members of the 555th Antiaircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion (555th AAA Battalion) at the White House Veteran's Day reception Saturday, November 11, 2006. Mrs. Bush's father, Harold B. Welch, served as Battalion Master Gunner in the "Five-by-Five." Two survivors from the Nazi concentration camp Nordhausen were also in attendance at the reception. The 555 AAA Battalion was attached to the 104th Infantry Division, which liberated the Nazi concentration camp Nordhausen on April 12, 1945. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt.

Searching for these men who served with the "Five-by-Five"

Brush, Darrell R. Detroit, MI A Btry
Chamberlin, James W. Caruthersville, MO D Btry
Craig, William A. Marshall, TX B Btry
Dean, Robert H. Moorhead, MN C Btry
Gunderson, Donald L. South Pasadena, CA A Btry
Hart, George W. Springfield, MO A Btry
King, Donald W. Omaha, NE D Btry
Morrow, John B. Bakersfield, CA C Btry
Novak, John Coraopolis, PA C Btry
Olds, Darrel D. Fredonia, KS A Btry
Ricotta, Joseph P. Brooklyn, NY A Btry
Roberts, James W. Webb City, MO D Btry
Shanahan, William J. St. Louis, MO HQ Btry
Simmons, John J. Derby, MO A Btry
Smith, Frank Butler, CT B Btry
Watts, Lee M. San Bernadino, CA A Btry
White, John B. Hastings, NE A Btry

Inquiries regarding the 555 AAA please contact the Battlion Representative Judy Bezjak

This page last updated: 22 March 2013
1999 National Timberwolf Association