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WWII
472nd [963rd] Engineer Maintenance Company
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Updated 11 June 2012 - Guestbook below



Brief Outline of the History of the 472nd [963rd] Engineer Maintenance Company

Introduction


In writing the history of this organization, we will not mention the routine duties of any individual, though very deserving and of the utmost importance. Since the history is being written in Tokyo, Japan and publication facilities are limited, and stencils difficult to obtain, we will limit the discussion to the major events; for the same reason we cannot give the credit that is due the personnel and officers. If words alone could tell the story of 30 months in Guadal Canal S.I. Or 21 months at Espirito Santos N.H., where work under pressure and tropical heat, to say nothing of the numerous skin disease, jungle rot, and insects, adding to the discomfort if then words could tell the story, we would make every effort to do so; however, one can only feel such things from actual experience, and since this short history is being written primarily for the personnel of the 472nd Engineer Maintenance Company, we will not dwell much on personalities; for we know their modesty and they do not ask for praise. Nor do we write this history to attract applause or ask for laurels. This in only the ungarnished truth, told simply, not by expert writers, but we hope that we can at least put down on paper a little of the spirit and fellowship; which can only exist under the most extreneous conditions, where men from all walks of life are brought together fighting for the same end for the same principles.

The 472nd Engineer Maintenance Company was originally scheduled to operate as a mobile shop; however, due to the sizes of the small islands in the Pacific, it operated both as a mobile and stationary unit. The organization was activated April 10, 1942 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, at that time it was attached to the 34d Army. From Camp Shelby, Miss. It moved to Fort Ord, California, and on October 1, 1942 it moved to Camp Stoneman, California. On Oct. 6th, 1942 it left Camp Stoneman and boarded the U.S.S. Rochambeau October 19th 1942. On October 20th, the organization embarked for overseas duty.

The Company landed in Noumea, New Caladonia November 10th, 1942. [see Deck Log for 5th November notation] While at Noumea the organization split into groups working at Forrestiere Saw Mill, 810 Engineer BN., and the 811 Engineer Bn. While stationed at Noumea the organization operated under very adverse conditions. The Corral Sea Battle had not taken place, and possible attack was always eminent. On January 25, 1943 the Contact Platoon left for Guadal Canal, S.I.; on February 8, 1943, the Second Maintenance Platoon was ordered to Espirito Santo, N.H., arriving at that station February 11, 1943. On July 1, 1943, Headquarters plus first Maintenance Platoon was at Noumoa, New Caladonia; the contact platoon was at Guadalcanal S.I., and the second Maintenance platoon was at Espirito Santo, N.H. Headquarters and First Maintenance platoon left New Caladonia for Guadalcanal August 6, 1943. Hence three platoons consisting of five officers 127 FM ended up at Guadalcanal, and one officer, and 45 EM ended up at Espirito Santo, N.H. On October 21, 1943 First Maintenance Platoon plus one officer and 7 EM from head quarers platoon, a total of 60 EM and 2 officers left Guadalcanal from Munda to New Georgia. On November 1, 1943 Second Maintenance Platoon, one Officer and 44 EM left Espirito Santo N.H. For Guadalcanal.

When the group landed at Guadalcanal, the island was under mopping up operation, and the troops were under constant bombing threat from the enemy, and many times had to dive for bomb shelters during actual bombings. However, the work was carried on with determined effort and with such efficiency that the unit was xited by the commanding General of the island.

Like many of the service units, the work was of a nature which required untold hours of patience and perseverance. Nothing was spectacular, nor any publicity given or expected, but the men kept up a ceaseless determination to keep the equipment running. Let the laurels fall where they may, the ones that paid the supreme sacrifice deserve not only the highest credit and laurels, but also the undying respect of the whole nation. Once this is forgotten then the sacrifice and bitter suffering is all in vain and an empty jesture.

Officers and EM from headquarters made inspection trips to Munda, New Georgia and Bougainville, to facilitate the flow of necessary spare parts from Guadalcanal to forward basis, and to co-ordinate administration supplies between the headquarters at Guadalcanal and the first maintenance platoon at Munda, New Georgia. Mechanics from the first maintenance platoon at Munda, New Georgia traveled to outlying islands of the New Georgia group and Vella la Vella to make necessary repairs of engineer equiptment.

On May 20, 1944 the first maintenance platoon (personnel & equipment) at Munda, New Georgia was transferred to the 963rd Engineer maintenance company, with headquarters at Bougainville. In place of the platoon at Munda the first Maintenance platoon (personnel and equiptment) of the 963rd engineers, located at Espirito Santo, N.H. Was assigned to this headquarters with no change of station.

The platoon stationed at Espirito Santo, plus replacements from time to time, consisted of one officer and 54 EM, the platoon while at Espirito Santo, set up for itself a very enviable record. Their primary mission was the maintenance of all engineer equipment on the island. However, the platoon besides maintaining the equipment, took it upon themselves to help wherever they could, and thus a small gasoline engine repair shop was set up, with the primary mission of maintaining water points, refrigerations units and small diesel and gasoline engines, plus the installation of power units. One of its chief projects was the installation of 51 carrier units for the Quartermaster Depot. During the time that the 27th Division was stagin for the next operation (Okinawa Campaign) full time service was rendered by this Platoon. In the true sense of the word the platoon was busy and on call 24 hours a day. The objective was that no job was impossible and that it would be done per orders. The training grounds and maintenance of equipment took untold hours by this platoon. The platoon received many congratulations for its outstanding work under the adverse conditions.

On June 6, 1945 the 1st Maintenance platoon of the organization which was located on Espirito Santo, N.H. Boarded the U.S.S. Cape Cleare and departed for Manila, P.I., arriving at its destination June 30th, 1945. On June 25, 1945 the company less the first platoon boarded the N.S. Bosh Fontaine and departed from Guadalcanal for Manila, P.I. and joined the first maintenance platoon July 10, 1945. The organization rationed and quartered with the 5th Bn. Casual camp, while awaiting supplies and rations to be unloaded from the ship. After the supplies arrived, the men started to build the company area. By July 15, 1945 the mobile shop was put in operation and by the end of the month, in spite of very adverse conditions, the organization had build a mess hall, showers and latrines and wood floors in the tents. By the end of August we made one more [word missing?] to Batangas, P.I. To embark for Japan.

We left Batangas September 26, 1945 and arrived at Yokohama, Japan October 3, 1945, and on the following day we arrived at our present destination, Omiya, Japan. We are now in Japan; the war is over; we are showing the Japanese a kindness that can only be born out of a democratic government like our own. May this be the beginning of a new peace where problems can be settled by mutual understanding, instead of fox holes, mass murders, prejudices, suffering, and destruction of the human race.

In closing are the following names of the men and officers that have been assigned to this organization at one time or other. Who each have done their job, and together as a team have accomplished a tremendous task. [end]

[believed to have been written by Hardy B. Moore]


[In a volume entitled The Corps of Engineers: The War Against Japan, by Karl C. D (pp. 212-213)

"Next was the matter of finding skilled mechanics. Repeated requests from the theaters for equipment repair units brought the word from Washington that none were available. Finally, on 10 November [1942], the 472d Engineer Maintenance Company landed at Noumea [New Caledonia], the sole unit of its kind to be sent to the far Pacific in 1942. Within a few days the men were swamped with work. Because their shop equipment was being sent on a later transport, they had to tackle the tremendous backlog of repairs with a few tools borrowed here and there. A month after reaching New Caledonia, the unit's commander wrote, 'Life is very busy over here, but very interesting, what with three-cylinder Southern Cross engines, Leeds-Fowler power units, five-cylinder Paxman-Ricardo diesel engines, 75-year-old French locomotives, Nippon brand cement mixers, [and] miscellaneous Japanese electrical apparatus . . . there is never a dull moment.'"]

You might wish to visit this website for further information on Espirito Santo Bases scroll down to 'page' number 227.

You might wish to visit the VI Corps Combat Engineers Forum.


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Contact - Rita: boneplace [at] zoominternet [dot] net

This site is dedicated to my father, Doyle M. Bone, and the men he served with during WWII.


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