By Mr. Lee Hasler, B Company, 1886th Engineers|
(Courtesy of Ms. Vicky Valentine, daughter-in-law of Vern Kisor, 1886th Engineer BN)
The 1886th Engineers was first organized at March Field in 1943. It was then moved to a base in Florida, but came back to March Field that same year and was disbanded. In February 1944 it was reorganized and the 938th camouflage unit was disbanded and all that could pass an overseas physical were placed in the newly activated 1886th Engineers along with replacements from the 4th E.A.U.T.C. Training Center. This was all under the command of Major Tracy C. Coleman. In March we moved to Geiger Field at Spokane, Washington, and there we picked up additional personnel to make the unit up to strength for overseas, which was a total of about 925 to 930 men. Three other units that started at March Field were already at Geiger Field, the 1884th, the 1995h and the 1889th. These four battalions made up the regiment and we were assigned to the 933rd Regiment under the command of Col. Smith. We all received training in various ways for combat and civil affairs. We fought forest fires, built roads and built an airstrip in Horse Haven, Idaho, for the National Forest. we all pulled out for overseas duty on the Island of Guam and were assigned to the 77th Infantry Division under the command of the Navy. There we put into action what we had been trained for. The 1884th and 1885th built North Field, a B-29 airstrip, and the 1886th and 1889th built Northwest Field, another B-29 airstrip. These airstrips were used by the B-29 bombers that would cause the total destruction of the Japanese homeland by dropping the atomic bomb. From there we were sent to Okinawa, which was about 300 miles from Japan, to prepare for the main invasion of Japan. At Okinawa, we were assigned to the 7th Division. There were four divisions to the 10th Army under General Buckner, the 7th division, the 27th Division, and the 77th Division and the 96th Division. We helped take Okinawa and secure the island. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay B-29 bomber dropped the first atomic bomb. The B-29 supposedly came from an airstrip on Guam. The second bomb was dropped on August 8, 1945, and this made up the minds of the Japanese to surrender and on August 10 we received a message to this effect and the war was over. We all started thinking of coming home when a big typhoon hit us in September and blew all our tents and clothing away. We had two boxes of K-rations daily until we came home. Some of the men left in 1945 and the rest in 1946.
History of the 1886th Engineers
Vern Kisor, row 1, far right