Military History/1308 Engineer Regiment/WW2
Jack Clay wrote at 2009-09-25 04:22:11
In answer to what the 1308th was doing at Camp Sutton a good place to look is the Camp Sutton newspaper "The Carryall" that was published at the time. Units submitted articles that were compiled into the weekly publication. In addition to their individual training being conducted while at Camp Sutton the units conducted real construction projects while simulating combat operations. The April 15, 1944 issue of "The Carryall" on page 7 contains a good article on the 1308th operations.
Titled: 1308th Builds Roads With Enemy Nearby.
"Two divisions of the enemy are reported to be operating north of Highway 73 and east of the Pee Dee River. Attack can be expected by paratroopers and mechanized patrols from the east and strafing or bombing from the air."
A rather startling paragraph for a unit at Camp Sutton to receive in orders, yet it is an excerpt from Field Order No. 1, dated March 30, issued from headquarters of the 1308th Engineer (GS) Regiment, which for the past fortnight has been about 30 miles from camp on a tactical maneuver involving the construction of approximately 2 1/2 miles of low type military road.
In the words of Capt. R. R. Dawson, S-3 of the regiment: "We've had most of the rock and dirt problems road-building engineers will have - blasting, clearing, cutting and filling, grubbing tree roots and blowing them out. We've had side hill cuts; we've had a build bridges and culverts and although we're following the general route of an old, back country road, we've had to do plenty of striking across untouched "terrain."
Yet the straightening of this wild, hill route, which branches from a country road and extends to New Salem, N. C., was only one phase of the 1308th's problems, a maneuver that saw them carrying out their orders as if under fire with their bivouac area camouflaged, a guard established and six regimental road blocks stretching to the east, whence the most potent "enemy" attack was expected, as far as five miles. The road blocks consisted of rifle and machine gun emplacements, the occupants also being armed with bazookas.
Official reaction to the job the regiment has done on its two-week problem was voiced by Lt. Col. Henry J. Stark, the unit's commander, who said:
"The unit has demonstrated, with outstanding results, its ability to perform tasks similar to what might be expected in the future. The specialists have proven that the schools on the Post should be congratulated for the fine job they are doing in helping to prepare specialists for units.
"The moral of the unit has reached a peak that has surpassed any previously attained. I am only sorry we have not had more experience of this nature during our training, although we feel we can accomplish any task assigned to us, and with outstanding results."
Capt. Dawson and his S-3 aides had less than a week to lay out their problem, plan the bivouac areas, set the grades, design the bridges, arrange for the culverts and put a "general picture" of the forthcoming problem on paper. Two timber bridges (one of 75 feet and one of 15 feet) were to be built, five box culverts (2 feet 8 inches wide) and four concrete culverts (15 to 30 inches in diameter) were called for, the maximum grade was to be 8 percent and the maximum curve 10 degrees. The road was to be a 20-foot dirt strip, wide enough for two-way traffic.
To execute its orders, the 1308th moved out of camp in two sections, the Second Battalion on April 1, the First Battalion, the next day. The men went by motor convoy, their biggest equipment transported by prime movers or trailers. As they hit the bivouac area they set up their pup tents in pine groves and threw huge camouflage nets over their kitchens, motor pools, fuel and ammunition dumps.
The first week-end was fairly pleasant, but "blue" Monday arrived a gray, rainy cold day, and for a couple of days the men experienced the "joys" of working in a cold drizzle with ice forming on puddles. Even when the weather cleared, Jack Frost seemed to have a pet project of making the 1308th uncomfortable, and the chill continued for several days.
Each company of each battalion received a certain stretch of road to do, and as each unit finished its particular task, it "leaped frogged" over the others until it was at the front of the regiment, only to be replaced by another company when it had finished its initial assignment and was moving ahead to tackle a new stretch.
The outfits had their own particular problems but the most spectacular fell to Co. E, Second Battalion and Co. C of the First, which constructed the 75 and 15-foot timber bridges respectively. Most of the lumber for these spans came from trees the men cut down.
But it was not all work. There were movies, a PX tent, and for Easter, Protestant and Catholic services were conducted under the pines, while men of the Jewish faith were convoyed back to Camp Sutton for Passover worship.
To add liveliness, officers frequently bet each other that a certain unit would or would not complete an assignment in an allotted time, the losers to treat the winner's unit to a beer, and to add realism, plan spotters were set out, various types of aircraft being designated as "unfriendly." One night the "foe" rendered a company area "untenable" with bombs, and the unit had to move to its alternate area about 400 yards off.
With the completion of its mission, the 1308th turns back to the State of North Carolina a straight, back country road serving nearby residents. The State loaned it to the Army for training and construction purposes, and when the job was done, the Army was to return it to the State to maintain.
A complete original set of "The Carryall" is at the North Carolina State archive. Two mixed copies and originals can be found at the Union County, North Carolina Public Library and the Heritage Room in the historic Courthouse in Monroe, NC.
As a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, that needed a hobby, I research the history of Camp Sutton thus my interest in this subject.
SSG D.R.Nicholson wrote at 2010-02-22 02:02:33
My aunt is the wife of an A Co. Corporal
from the 1308. She is 99.
She recently told me that she never saw her husband in the five years of the war, it appears he never had leave or the time to make it to Massachusetts.
I was just given his engraved canteen cup with all their stations on it. It has both Sutton and Shanks
and an odd "Lucky Strike" and "Claiborne, LA" entries below them. Then they show up in Gourrock, Scotland. And so on to Utah and France through Panama to eventually Okinawa!
She knew that Lucky Strike was a place and not a smoke. Will follow up if you would like.
bobtx1_us wrote at 2010-08-01 19:49:40
I was born on 10/18/1943 & have a copy of a telegram my grandfather sent to my dad who was with Co E of the 1308th going from Camp Claiborne LA to Camp Sutton NC. Not sure what he was doing at Camp Claiborne. He was drafted at age 33 in February 1943, so it may have been basic training or engineering school.
Amy wrote at 2010-08-08 02:53:31
There were a series of camps near Le Havre, France, all named after cigarettes. The website below lists Camp Lucky Strike as Janville, France. http://www.skylighters.org/special/cigcamps/cmplstrk.html
I would love to see the rest of the locations engraved on the canteen cup. (I'm bobtx1_us's daughter - Hi, Dad! - and I'm researching the 1308th Eng GSR.)
buck wrote at 2011-03-08 01:23:36
I have a book the `308 Engineer Regiment wrote - my father served in this unit. Does anyone have a list of the men who served in this unit- I recently finished scrapbooking photos my father took at Camp Sutton.
R Helms wrote at 2011-07-06 20:23:03
I have an entire list of the 1308th Engineer Regiment (GS) My father was in the 1308th Co. C He would like to know any fellas still around.
Peter Cozens wrote at 2012-11-22 04:34:37
My father, James B. Cozens, served in the 1308 EGSR from September 1944 to March 1945. He was attached to Headquarters company. He served as the driver for G-3.
My dad will be 90 years old next February and he is doing great.
You can contact me at email@example.com if you wish to contact him.
Michael Mitchell wrote at 2014-09-15 03:42:48
My grandfather was Corporal Ben Timmer E Company 1308th Engineers 1942-1946. He was the Company surveyer and demolition expert (which got him into some fiascos in France and Okinawa).
allen wrote at 2014-11-25 21:03:09
My dad served the 1308th eng gen sv regt co F from 1943 thru 1946.
I just applied to try and get his records.
I am looking to acquire the buttons/medals to add to the case with his flag and bayonet.
If you have any questions of comments feel free to contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
EJT wrote at 2015-03-01 21:13:51
My Grandfather served with the 1308th Engineering GS in company F from July 1943 until his discharge after the war. Does anyone have any photos or stories from the men of Company F that they can share? My mom and I are going through his pictures and we will have them digitized in the next few months.
allen wrote at 2016-01-05 18:44:46
I am feverishly working on the information from my Dad.
1308th, Company F.
My Mom is still with us and has a pretty clear memory. We will be going over a bunch of the photos I found in a scrap book of hers with a bunch of Dad in uniform. Also soon to be digitized.
I'm also grouping the batches and insignias he would have worn as well to display with his flag.
Feel free to drop me an email soon. Maybe we can work on this together!
Have a fun day,
Susan wrote at 2016-01-06 03:17:54
Not sure if I'm sending to the correct place. I found this site. I also have the book written by 1308
allen wrote at 2016-01-07 18:18:54
Susan, please tell me more about your book.
The email address in my previous post is active.
I talked shortly with Mom and she mentioned that Dad was stationed somewhere along the Iran/Iraq (Persian) boarder.
She said he used to throw stuff to them over the fence. I asked her to dwell on that and share more info over the next few weeks.
I have a photo album as well with dad's pictures in it. My wife is going to digitize them and we will make mom a nice home cooked meal and share more info.
allen wrote at 2016-01-09 21:22:57
If you tried to email me, please do so again. I had to resolve an issue. Thanks.
allenmars2 wrote at 2016-01-12 20:52:43
Yup, I have a problem with that email address, sorry.
allenmars2 wrote at 2016-01-20 17:28:18
Hello all and thanks for your patience.
The above email address is back in service.
EJT,please feel free to drop me a note when you can.
Have a fun day all!
Susan Lorentz wrote at 2016-02-23 01:23:18
My father was in the 1308 company F. I have a book written by them. I would love to share information.
T. Bauer wrote at 2016-06-29 03:07:56
My father who recently passed 4/2016 at age 93 arrived 4/21/1943 at camp Sutton, NC joining the 1308(gs) regt .
I have his hand written journal he copied from his record while returning by ship in perfect draftmens printing of every area they were, dates moved, mode of transportation from 5/2/1944 departure from Sutton till he left the unit 9/1945 to enter a hospital in Manila for an injury occurred while exercising. We do have a few pictures that look like we're taken over there with fellow solders.