(Courtesy of Mr. Leo (Sapienza) Leonhart)
UNITED STATES ARMY
1380 ENGINEERING PETROLEUM DISTRIBUTION COMPANY March 1944 to January 1946 by
Charles E. Duckworth
I arrived at 1380 EPD Company Headquarters, Camp Claiborne, Louisiana about mid-March 1944 from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where I had completed Combat Engineering Training. Camp Claiborne had a bad winter in 1944 and we were situated in tents which caused a lot of discomfort and sickness as soldiers begin to arrive and training for over-seas began. As typical Louisiana weather is, we were about to experience the run of damp coldness of March to the steaming heat of August as we got in shape to do the job assigned.
When I arrived in Claiborne there were only about 25 or 30 personnel in the Company which had been organized about the first of March 1944. I had been in the service since February 1943. I came out of the Air Corp and went to the University of Minnesota taking some engineering courses under a program of special training by the Army. There was a large number of those who made up the Company with several years service and as I recall it was a bunch of older men and a bunch of youngsters. I guess the CO didn't know what to do with me so I was assigned to Headquarters groups and stayed there until we got over-seas. One thing that was advantageous to me was I was in charge of the medical records.
We had a full training program at Claiborne with maneuvers, weapons qualification, equipment and communication use. The Company processed over 450 men through the organization to arrive at our T.O. of 7 Officers and 214 enlisted men.
Along with all the hard work on everyone part we did manage to get out around the area when turned loose. There was always Alexander, Bunkie and Villa Platt where you could get your head skinned any night of the week. A few got away as far as Lake Charles or New Orleans a time or two but mainly it was just work.
It is important to mention that we were Engineering Petroleum Distribution Company and the few who knew anything about that area had their hands full. I am amazed but not surprised at what was done by 1380 E.P.D. from its training until the time we were broken up into special units and scattered all over the China-India-Burma theater of war. We didn't get the opportunity to come home together after the war and this has made the privilege of keeping in touch almost impossible. It is also well to mention here that basically we were always on our own. The officers had to scrounge around to get things for us and the enlisted men of the Company became some of the best moon-lite requisitioners the U.S. Army ever had. I mean from some mess hall delights by the cooks to the hardware of operations by men in the field. This was true from the time of training until the end of the war. Finally the day arrived when 1380 along with a sister E.P.D. Company, 1381 I believe, was loaded and ready to head for our assigned overseas duty. Only a few know where we were going since we had a New York APO number. It wasn't long though when we knew we were headed to the west coast, later to know to Camp Anza. I must say here that being what and who we were we traveled in good style to be on a troop train. We were glad to get out of Camp Claiborne to what ever we were to face and the Company Officer generally let us have a good time.
No one was lost on the trip to California, some come close but no loses. We arrived at Camp Anza on August 17, 1944 and the weather was real nice. This was a relief from the heat of Louisiana and we did have a little free time to visit around. O'Shaunessy knew his way around Hollywood and he took several of us up to see the sights in Tinsel Town. We saw it believe you me. California gave us a real welcome and even gave us a small earthquake one morning. Time was drawing near to get on with the war for us. There was a lot of checking of personnel and personal equipment. We had a final field inspection and we were set and ready. Lt. Bowsher was gone with the heavy equipment and supplies, we didn't know where and everyone made the final cut. We entrained and went to deportation at San Pedro docks which is close to Los Angeles and got the first sights of our ship, The General George S. Randell. She was really a beauty. An armed troop transport and making her second voyage. The ship was fully air conditioned and had a Coast Guard Crew with a company of Marines to handle the guns and ship security. The ship's Captain was a former German Coast Guard Captain who had left Germany when Hitler come to power.
Captain Shaw, our CO, did a quick survey of the Company and some way got 1380 on ship duty. This turned out to be a real good deal for most of the Company. We got some special ship privileges. There were several who really fared well as they got the ice plant and milk room detail. That meant that I had plenty of ice cream, milk and goodies out of the ship Captain's special cold storage vault. Since we had some special privileges on deck we got to watch the gunners practice with the 5 inch guns and 20MM ack-ack. There were about 3,500 soldiers on board when we left San Pedro. We later pick up a general hospital at Savu in the Fiji Islands. The voyage was generally uneventful with only a couple of times that the Navy got a little uptight because of some apparent close encounters with the Japs. On the way to the Fiji Islands we ran into a huge fleet which we all thought, later on, was our Navy heading into the Coral Sea battle which was a great victory for us.
The next leg of the trip overseas was from Fiji Islands to Melbourne, Australia where we stayed only a short time for fuel and we picked up two New Zealand destroyers to escort us on to our final destination. From Melbourne to Bombay, India was the worst part of our ocean trip. The weather in the South Seas, going below Australia, was cold, windy and rough. We banged around a lot and it didn't get better until we got up into the Arabian Sea. We landed in Bombay about the 15th of October 1944 and took about a day to get unloaded and on an Indian train to head across the country. We had been on the sea 48 days and were glad to be on land.
The trip to our first destination in India was about 1,250 miles across the country toward the Burma border to the east. This trip turned out to be in three phases and 1380 was exposed to India in a very unique way in as much as the first 300 miles was by a fairly decent Indian train. Suddenly we carne to a river and the tracks ended. As we detrained we came face to face with our next mode of transportation, an ancient river stern boat. This was a side-wheeler and 1380 went aboard for its next leg of the trip. I believe that this is the Narmada River and traveled up this river to Jabalpur.
We now were getting the sights, sounds and smell of this historic land. We disembarked the ancient boat to again board the train on the last leg of our trip. I must mention that these Indian trains had wooden bench type seats and the rest room was a hole in the floor. The stern engines on the railroad as well as on the riverboat were fueled by wood, coal, oil and whatever else would burn. We arrived at our destination in about three days which was at an airstrip in Bengal close to the town of Akhaura, India.
Akhaura, India was our Headquarters until we moved to Bhadarpur, India in January 1945. As I recall we had real problems getting our equipment and supplied needed to get the work assigned done. Transportation was a real problem in this part of the world. There had to be a lot of Yankee ingenuity take place to get the job done, as we had about a hundred miles of line to build with pumping and tanks to be in place, when gasoline started to arrive at offshore unloading facilities at ...
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We worked along the Chittagong-Assam railroad which was a great help. Two or three of our construction groups lived in rail cars which was a great help. The motor pool and mechanics fixed up some carryall truck wheels for most of our jeeps and you could ride the rails which made us really mobile.
After Christmas 1944 I went to the field leaving the Headquarters Group in Akhaura. William Hicks went with me and we set up a test pump on a tributary of the Brahmaputra River about 20 miles up the line. Later we added Roy Harris to our little outpost. We tested the line in both directions, all in all the work went along in good order. We had an Indiana from Madras in Southern India show up one day with a young elephant and its keeper. They stayed with us for about a month. We had him do our shopping for food which was mainly bananas, oranges, potatoes and eggs. I think we ate a lot of duck eggs while there. Natives from a nearby village come to us for help in getting rid of some wild hogs which were destroying their crops. Hicks and I agreed to meet them on a trail up the river about a mile late one evening. We were shocked when we were met by an albino Indian who took us to their village.
Early in April 1945 we completed our work at the test station and joined a construction group where we constructed a tank farm. It was at about this time President Roosevelt died and Vice President Truman became our President.
I went to Headquarters again about the end of April which was located by them at Bhadarpur. This location was the best location that we had in all our service overseas. We had good quarters, showers and good food. I believe that the cooks were getting some Air Corp supplies. I remember I got a new pair of shoes. We were on a high bluff on the Brahmaputra River and though we were 400 miles from the coast the river had high and low tide action. This river here had some real monstrous crocodiles in it which we could see easily from our C.P. area.
The later part of April 1945 the whole Company was ready to move, having completed its task on this section of the Burma to China pipe line. Since we were attached only to Headquarters Command India-Burma Theater our orders carne down from there and we were assigned to take a vehicle convoy over the "Road" to China. We took the train to Tinsukia, India where we began preparation to train enough drivers to take over a hundred vehicles on this 1,000 mile trip over the highest mountains in the world. It was also the most treacherous road in the world and I had seen some pretty bad roads. I would drive because I had done some truck driving and I sure didn't want to ride with some kid from New Jersey who had never driven. Now I must say we had some of these fellows who had never driven, they did drive a loaded truck over the "Hump" and did a good job of it. I took a GMC 6 by 6 loaded with 9 (55 gallon) barrels of gasoline and 15 cases of 75MM shells which gave me a load of about 6,000 pounds. Langer and Tracy looked around and decided to ride with me and I was glad to have a medic along. We had a firm understanding that if I said jump they were not to ask or look, just jump because we were probably going over the side which was in most case a 1,000 or 2,000 foot drop. We took turns sleeping in the cab and in the back and one always on guard. We had a Chinese soldier try to steal our weapons one night. We did have trouble with our allies.
There were four sections of about 30 trucks each and we separated the sections about 20 minutes apart. Our goal was to make about 100 miles a day and to be in the bivouac area before dark each day. There was no joy riding, it was straight ahead and watch for everything. We met convoys coming back to India for supplies and sometimes this would stop us because the road was so narrow. I thought most of the drivers for these transport companies were crazy the way they would drive. A lot of them had a Chinese chick with them. We ground on, up then down, and around some 900 turns which were at a 300 grade. Since these trucks were all loaded we threw a lot of rock over the edge when all six of the wheels were spinning. Everyone would be beat when night came. I must say here that the Himalayas Mountains are awesome and I would not take anything for being so close to them. This was the correct time of the year to use the road because we encountered only a shower or two. A good rain would have stopped us in our tracks.
We crossed the Chinwin Valley, the Irrawoddy River Valley where a lot of fighting had taken place. The cities and villages were tore up real bad and everything was a mess. After we left Ledo we began to see a lot of the war area, especially around Myitkyina. From Bhamo we crossed over into China into the Salween and Mekong River Valleys, then on to Kunming. There are really not words that can paint a picture of this road and the trip by 1380. We all made it and delivered our supplies as assigned. Just the idea of this road and the building of it is a wonder. Then along with it was the pipeline which would be the life blood of the real battle to come as we took on the Japanese on the ground and in the air.
From the jungle of Bengal to high barren land of China was quite a change for us as we set up Headquarters just out of Kunming close to the village of Malung. Our next job was to construct a 4-inch line from the tank farm in Kunming to Chanyi Air Base about 75 miles southeast through Kutsing.
The Company assigned each construction group a section to build and as I recall one group did about 20 miles of line in one day. Chinese labor was used by the Company and some days the Company would have as many as a thousand workers on the job. The Company used the Chinese military to help obtain the workers who really did not want to do this strange kind of work. Each village along the way provided a certain number of workers and it was the Mayor who was responsible for getting them out. These workers carried pipeline and leveled out the ground along the route. The pipe was laid on top of the ground in most cases and this was a problem because from time to time they were punctured and that was a real chore to fix. Loading and unloading the workers on the trucks each morning and evening was really a task.
None would get on in the morning and all tried to get in one truck in the afternoon. We used Chinese soldiers some also and we had the same problem with them. The Company paid the civilians each day for their work and the Chinese dollar was about 16,000 to one American dollar. We carried the Chinese dollars around in burlap bags. I don't recall how much we paid them for a days work. I might mention that the women were better workers as far as I was concerned. All the work on this system was completed and in operation by the middle of July 1945. 1380 E.P.D. then went about operating this, the last section of the world's largest military pipeline.
The Tank Farm and pump station at Chanyi was located on a hill overlooking the valley and was in an old cemetery. We fix this camp up in fine shape. We had a real nice Mess Hall, floors in our tents and hot water showers. Of course all this finery came about as results of the ingenuity of the men of our group. With a little wood, steel barrels and pipe I did believe that we could have built anything. 1380 was settled in and ready to complete its mission of providing the fuel to finish the war.
The Chanyi Air Base provided us with a lot of added benefits we were not use to. Food for one thing was greatly appreciated as well as other supplies. There were a few of our people that used the hospital there, some I remember had taken malaria from our stay in India. Also the use shows came to this base several times during our time there. You can believe that we used any and all facilities that the Air Force would let us use or do.
The air base was built by native labor and was all hard work. Maintenance was all by hand with hundreds of laborers always on the landing strip. Multi-engine air planes killed many of these people because of a superstition of the Chinese people. They would wait until the last minute and the cut across the path of any approaching vehicle or plane. The idea was to have the oncoming vehicle or plane hit and destroy any bad spirits following the person. I guess we wiped out a lot of both. We had a ring side seat to a number of plane crashes at the base which had both bombers and fighters operating there.
On Monday, August 6, 1945 we got word from the air base that a mighty bomb had been dropped on Japan. This created a lot of speculation which two days later, with another drop, we knew about the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was over and we waited for our next orders.
Over the next week some of us were allowed to go to an R&R area about 60 miles from Chanyi but our little vacation was cut short because we were ordered to load up and get back to Kunming.
Now things for 1380 began to become very hectic for all of us. We were ordered by Theater Headquarters to inventory all of our equipment and supplies and turn them over to the Chinese Nationalist Army. The Company was broken up with some men sent on special detail to various places throughout China to free all Americans prisoners of war, to strategic military locations and various other activities in China, with the purpose of getting out as quickly as you can. There were a number of us who made up a residual team in Kunming to turn over the pipeline system and supplies to the Chinese.
A hot war had already broken out between the National Army and the Provincial Army along with the Communist and we were literally caught in the middle. During this time I believe we were in more danger of being in a fight than any other time we were overseas. We moved quickly and got to the air base in a few days and back to India about the first of October 1945. As I recall there were only five or six of us who stayed together on the return to India. We joined the remains of our ordinance supply Company and settled in to wait to get a ship home.
Our arrival and station until December 1945 was at an old B-29 air base about 30 miles from Calcutta. It had also been a political prisoner compound of the British Government but was now closed. A lot of work went on to activate this facility again. We started up the old ice plant and cleaned up the old bamboo barracks. The Air Force had left a lot of beer at this base so with a lot of softball, tennis and a fire bucket of iced down beer it was off to the movies each night. We had almost three months of this and people really got restless and upset to get home.
The five or six of us from 1380 got our ship call about the 15th of December and we were trucked to the Hialeah Race track in Calcutta. The only good thing about this place was it was a step toward home and we were there during racing seasons which had started up again. I might mention here that we were confined to camp all the time we were back in India. The race track was our camp through Christmas day 1945 and we boarded a ship in the Hooghly River on the 26th.
Our ship home was the S.S. General Thomas, a Navy Troop ship from World War I and there were about 3,500 soldiers on board. The route home was from Calcutta to Tramcolee, Ceylon - Singapore - Melacca Straits - North of Philippines - Seattle, Washington. As we got out to the Pacific we ran into a bad storm which rescheduled us to San Francisco. This storm persisted and we finally came back to good old San Pedro and walked down the same gang plank we went up a year and half before.
Camp Anza didn't look the same since it now was just a process point for returning soldiers. Here we were processed to the various Army facilities throughout the States for discharge or assignments. I went back to Texas the same way I went out to Anza except the railroad car (coach) was about 100 years old and it took three days to get to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
I was sent to the base hospital where I was assigned to a wing with men who had been on Bataan and imprisoned in Mukton, Manchuria prison camp for over five years. The hospital built me a new plastic eye and I was able to home to Palo Pinto, Texas February 15, 1946.
This report must be considered as the view of one soldier and his company as recorded some 42 years after the time of its happening. It is a most general view and there are hundreds of happenings which are forgotten that are of real importance. It is my hope that some of us can get together and fill in some of these happenings which mean so much to us and our families.
As a follow up to the History of 1380 Engineering Petroleum Distribution Company, as recorded by Charles E. Duckworth, these few added happenings, events and further explanations are set forth.
One of my earliest memories of 1380 was our moving out to the area that was to be our home while training at Camp Claiborne, the tent area of the camp. This was not living at its best, with all the cold wind and bad damp weather of March, 1944. As I recall, these tents weren't in the best of condition and poor lights and heat just added to the misery. I guess the PX, movie and service club were not much in our area either because I don't even recall a thing about them. I think WP stayed too busy.
In July 1944 we went to the field for final training and maneuvers. Most of us enjoyed this because we had been camping out ever since we got to Claiborne anyway. At 1380 Headquarters we had a lot of final paper work to do with a lot of trips back to the main area of Claiborne. Someone got us a motorcycle for transportation and it was a real rodeo. Everyone around the C.P. took a try at riding the thing. We would do very well in Camp where there were some streets but it was strictly bike trailing out to where we were camped. It is well to mention here that we found the mosquitoes as bad here in Louisiana as we did in Burma and India.
One of the final acts of our training was to qualify at the rifle range. As I recall we all did very well with even a few sharpshooters. All of this rifle qualification, mind you, was with the old Army 03's, vintage 1917. I will mention here, so as not to forget we took carbines, 03's and 50 caliber machine guns overseas with us.
Packing up for overseas was some real hard work. There was tar paper, cosmoline and sealer which covered everything. We did manage to keep out a number of typewriter cases which we filled with refreshments to have on our train trip.
We left Camp Claiborne on the Missouri-Pacific to Marshall, Texas where we switched to the Southern Pacific. Our route then was to San Antonio, Del Rio, El Paso, Yuma, Arizona and then to Riverside, California.We did a lot of starting and stopping along the way and took about three days to complete our move to Camp Anza. We played a lot of poker, blackjack and pinochle.
When we arrived in Del Rio it was understood 'that we were to have about one hour layover so there were several of the more adventuresome men took off for Vera Acuna, Mexico to buy some additional refreshments. This was a case of misinformation and they just made it back to catch a moving troop train. Of course, this enhanced the enjoyment of our trip on to California. However, there were some strong words from the First Sergeant about staying on the train. We made it to California and we were glad to get to some cooler weather and a shower to wash off some of the train trip. As I remember our part of the troop train was about four chair coaches, a mess car and a supply coach. It really wasn't a bad trip, just slow but no one was in that big of a hurry.
While at Camp Anza at lot of us went to Los Angeles and Hollywood. There was always a good show at "The Stage Door Canteen" and you would, in most cases, get invited out to parties after the show. We all had a good time while waiting to ship out. One amazing thing was that we didn't lose anyone, we all got on board when the time came.
Our ship, S.S. Randell, was an armed troop transport and was over six hundred feet long, I don't recall the tonnage. 1380 Company had quarters in "c" section on 3d deck, which was a good location. We didn't get the full pitch and roll of ship action and this helped with sea sickness. We all did fairly well and got our sea legs soon; however, I remember a few of our people were sick the entire trip. I think the First Sergeant was one of them.
The S.S. Randell had five working decks and most of our work areas were on the fourth and fifth decks, I mean decks down in the ship. You had to take one of the electric elevators down and up. Some of us worked in the Ice and Milk Room on the fifth deck and that was thirty feet below the water line. I mention this because all bulkhead doors were fastened when you got to your work station, we didn't like that although Marines were stationed at these doors who were suppose to let you out unless your station was hit by shell or torpedo. We just figured that the guy would run off if things really got hot and leave us in the Ice Room.
Most of us, since we had ship detail, ate real well: however, we all got beans for breakfast and had to learn to chase our mess gear allover the table. Those of us in the Ice Room did eat good since we were close to where the food was stored. We also got to shower down with treated water because we had plenty. Everyone else had to take a salt water shower. The trip overseas was, for the most part, real nice weather-wise and a lot of time was spent top side. A lot of card playing and trying to get in a little exercising to stay in shape.
The Marines had gun practice almost every day and there was a special place on the top deck that we could stay since we had ship duty. Early in the trip we weren't too impressed with the marksmanship of these guys; however, they got a lot better by the time we got to the Fiji Islands.
The Pacific was beautiful, deep blue, and we didn't see any land until we got to the Fiji Islands. We had the traditional presiding of King Neptune when we crossed the equator and some of our men got dunked in the pool which is part of the ritual which changes a person from a landlubber to a sailor. I might mention the pool was a big canvas sheet stretched over a cargo hole on top deck and filled with sea water.
Sometime just before or just after we got to the Fiji Islands we came in sight of a huge battle fleet. As I recall we could make out a large Carrier, at least one Battle Ship and several Cruisers. There could have been eight or ten ships in this fleet. We latter learned of the Coral Sea battle when we got to Australia.
The sight of the Fiji Islands made us all feel better about our ship Captain, that maybe he knew where he was going after all. We took on board a General Hospital staff and personnel and also some Navy pilots which we carried to Melbourne. We understood they were headed for the islands where a lot of fighting was to take place.
Our stops in Savu, Fiji and in Melbourne, Australia were for the purpose of taking on fuel and provisions. We were not allowed to leave the ship at either stop: however, there were some of our men who found out a lot about Melbourne somehow or other, like friendly girls, nice pubs and horse races. There were a lot of Melbourne's citizens who carne to the docks and talked to us which we enjoyed very much.
We were escorted out of Melbourne by two New Zealand destroyers on to what we thought might be the Philippines or some island. We went south toward the South Pole and the sea got rough and the weather very cold. We had some ice to form and the ships bow and the stern would come completely out of the water. The destroyers stayed under the water most of the time since the waves were forty to fifty feet high. We stayed in this situation until we turned north.
Early one morning, as we headed north, we had a real scare as our ship and the destroyers began to fire off depth charges. I am not sure what really happened but some sailors said a Jap sub was detected; however, we didn't get any official word on this.
Bombay Harbor was a very crowded and depressing place. There were many small boats and these were the home of thousands of people. All the dock work was done by dock workers since there was very little machinery. We were able to get on a train at the dock side. One thing sticks in my mind were the birds, which looked like small hawks, and they would take your cap off your head. We had to deal with them as long as we were in India.
The riverboat we traveled on must have been a hundred years old. It was a steam driven side wheeler. The long driving rod turned both paddle wheels which were connected to a single shaft. There was a lot of civilian passengers, as well as 1380, on this trip. As I recall we saw our first funeral fire on this trip up the river.
The airstrip at Akhaura was our first stopping place and we had bamboo barracks at first. About dark the first or second night the air raid sirens went off over at the airstrip. There were a few trenches around and I remember Lt. Hutchenson running around yelling "Get your helmets on this is a combat zone." Everyone's helmets were in the bottom of their duffel bag. Nothing happened but we heard that the Japs bombed the airstrip at Coma! They missed the strip about 200 yards to one side, that would have got us if they had hit Akhaura.
The Maharajah of Trapuria State had a beautiful summer palace about five or six miles from where we were located. We were able to get over to see this and take a tour of the palace and grounds. We saw our first elephants there.
The British Government would not let anyone hunt tigers but since we were in the tiger country of Bengal some of our men wanted to hunt. With the help of some of the natives it was set up for some leopard hunting which was fine. Our hunters that night were up on a tree platform and had a goat staked out for bait. There was a blur and a bleat followed by a volley of carbine fire. All that remained to show for the hunt was a very dead goat with about thirty holes in him. The leopard was too swift and got away.
While in India there were a lot of kids who came to our bivouac area and became "Number One Boys." They did the cleaning up around our tents, did washing and odd jobs. They were paid a rupee a day and we fed them also. They would stay with us until we would move on. We usually left them in good shape for clothes and other things of need.
The Army dentist enjoyed visiting 1380 and paid us several visits. Those who needed some tooth filling work got good attention. Our medics had the job of hand turning the dentist's drill.
Although we had a very good company barber we also had a Punjab barber who stayed with us until we went to Burma.
There were many monkeys in India and Assam and we always had one or two around the bivouac area. They were of every shape and size and traveled as families. I might mention that they were well trained thieves also.
While at Bhadarpur someone at the shop or motor pool got hold of a 75 H.P. Johnson motorboat motor. They also borrowed a small skiff which was almost like a racing shell with that big motor. We had some real thrilling rides on the Brahmaputra. Although we missed the heavy monsoon rains of India we did get some real down pours while in Assam, even hail a time or two. Our military operation was scheduled to miss these heavy rains which would reach as much as three or four hundred inches during the season.
Most of us got to visit the Wall City of Kunming which was an engineering and architectural feat beyond imagination. Although primitive by our standards today this two thousand year old city had a utility system, planned streets, parks, schools, hospitals, and fortified for protection. Of course, the main population of Kunming lived outside the wall portion of the city.
Patrolling the pipe line was always a new experience each day. It was reported that one of our patrols found three or four severed human heads on the line one day.
One morning some Chinese soldiers brought a man, they said he was a mountain bandit, to the C.P. and was going to hang him on our basketball goal. The First Sergeant ran them off so they turned him loose and as he ran away they shot him down.
Late one afternoon, Sergeant Peak and I pulled off the main road to let a Chinese convoy pass. You did that to keep from being run over. There were five trucks in this convoy and as they came over a rise and down the side of the mountain where there was a ninety degree turn to cross over to the opposite side. The first truck was going too fast, couldn't make the turn, went over the side and down the mountain. You guessed it, the next two truck followed this truck over but the fourth and fifth managed to stop. Chinese soldiers and gear was scattered all over the place. We didn't stay long because there was enough help and I don't recall anyone killed but a lot badly injured. The Chinese had a real hard time learning to drive American trucks which these were.
Although most of what I have reported has been on the lighter side of our Company service, I wish to take special care to acknowledge the hard work, sweat and even tears of 1380 E.P.D., as it fulfilled its mission in a most exemplary way. Only a hand full of men accomplishing an unheard-of task.
There is one vivid picture that will forever be in my mind. As we drove out of our C.P., to go the Kunming Air Base and get out of the fighting between the Chinese, there was our Company guide-on there in front of the Headquarters tent, that red "1380 EPD" flag. I stopped the jeep and went back and got it. It is now hanging in my study but I know it belongs to all 1380'ers and represents a lot of memories.