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744th ROB by George Goetzelman

History of the Transportation Corps

The Transportation Corps is one of the youngest and smallest of the Army's Service branches. Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 1942 in response to the overwhelming mobilization demands of World War II. During World War II, the Transportation Corps conducted operations in Europe and the Pacific operations. Moving 30 million soldiers in the United States and carried 7 million soldiers and 126 million tons of supplies overseas. Playing a decisive part in the Allied victory. By George Goetzelman. This is a typical steam engine that we used to take supplies up to the front lines during World War II. Our crews consisted of the conductor, engineer, fireman, brakeman and flagman. The steam engines were 2-8-0's (designated by the wheel arrangement).


A dummy run--preparing for the real thing. This outfit shipped overseas while our battallion went to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for basic training. After leaving Fort Sam Houstan, Texas --- 744th ROB was stationed here for technical training before departing for Europe. All that remains of old Fort Snelling is the original round tower, Now a museum.

* * * EMBLEMS * * *

The insignias of the Transportation Corps. Supplying the ammo, food, clothing and everything to win a war. Not to mention the transporting of millions of troops.

This very old postcard shows the Kungsholm (before the war) in New York Harbor. The U.S. government converted it to a troop ship and renamed it the John Ericsson.

We set sail about midnight with over 5000 troops aboard. We were in for a 2 weeks cruise. We headed South near the Azores and joined several other ships. This was one of the biggest convoys of WWII.

The John Ericsson just before it was scrapped.

Kungsholm Specs: Length - 609 feet, Beam - 78.1 feet, Speed - 17.5 knots. In it's hey-day, the Kungsholm carried 1575 passengers back and forth the Atlantic Ocean only to succumb to the rigors of war.

Relatives and friends could communicate with us by V Mail. Now a days it is E Mail. It was one page, photographed and sent overseas on a 4 x 5 inch format. Sometimes the writing was so small we could hardly make it out. But it was better than nothing.

* * * FUNNY MONEY * * *

After sixty years, this is some of the script that survived. It was issued by our government. This was our pay in which France, Belguim and Germany accepted as legal money. Privates got paid fifty dollars a day-----ONCE A MONTH.


Ready to be towed to be mounted on a railway flat car. The operating crew had to keep the ammunition coming, remove and change the hot barrels generated by the high heat and calculate the range and distance of given targets.


The quad 50 caliber capable of firing over 500 rounds per minute and an effective range of over a mile. Mounted on flat cars to ward off the strafing German Stukas. A portion of the bombed out railroad tracks in France.

Train Wreck --- Our biggest worry was sand washing over the tracks.

Victory in Europe day.

We stand at attention at Charleroi, Belgium.

Site of Napoleons Defeat at Waterloo, Belgium, after the battle, the women got their baskets and scraped the blood soaked top soil and made this mound.

Over 200 steps leads up to the monument on top. You can see the whole layout of the battle ground. We visited the monument after the Battle of the Bulge.

SURDON, FRANCE --- October, 1944

We could smell them before we could see them. Along came two Frenchmen with a donkey pulling a fish cart.


The TUSCULUM, not unlike the restored Lane Victory ship, harbored at San Pedro, California, carried us home from the ETO (European Theator of Operations). Specifications: length--455 feet, width--62 feet, speed-15 knots, propeller--19 feet in diameter.

* * * TUSCULUM * * *

Here I am aboard the Victory Ship Tusculum, after leaving France. In a few days we will be back home. It will be a lot faster than going over, which took us thirteen days on a troop ship with thousands aboard. World War One was called the war to end wars. World War Two----------NO MENTION ! ! !

SERVITUM SINE GLORIA-----only a symbol but the Latin phrase tells it all-----SERVICE WITHOUT

GLORY. You don't hear much about us but we did our share.


Sugar and shoes were rationed. Gasoline was only allotted to get to work. Spare tires were turned in for the war effort. I seen grown men cry because they were turned down to fight for their country. We will never again see the patriotism that was displayed by the people that lived at the time of the attack on PEARL HARBOR.

The government sewed this insignia on our Ike Jackets because we were allowed to wear our uniform for 30 days because of the shortage of civilian clothes.

We called it the Ruptured Duck because to us it didn't look like an eagle. In fact it was a joke and nobody wore the pin on civilian clothes. I believe this is one of the first "What Ever's".


REUNION at Lowry Hotel - St. Paul, Minn. - June 29/30 - 1951

ANNUAL REUNION - Schaumberg, ILLINOIS - June 26, 2004

59th ANNUAL REUNION - Schaumberg, Illinois - June 24 - 26, 2005

8 original members of the 744th ROB attended. 22 total including family members. The 60th ROB REUNION was held on Friday through Sunday, June 23 - 25, 2006 NOTICE - Due to poor attendance, the Committee has voted to disband the 744th Railway Operating Battallion Reunion. Who could have thought it would have lasted this long? We have come to the end of the line. Any comments? - Email George Goetzelman (always adding) Updated 10/ 28 / 06