Ex-CBI Roundup
June 1967 Issue

By Edward H. Clark

45th Q.M. Truck Outfit Had Infantry Duty

Twenty-five years ago the 45th Quartermaster Truck Regiment was activated at Camp Knight, Oakland, Calif.

About January 1943 we proceeded to Camp Stoneman, where we did double duty in training ourselves, as well as in helping to carry departing troops to the ships and also delivering by convoy large numbers of vehicles to ports of embarkation up and down the Pacific Coast from the Stockton Ordnance Depot to Vancouver, Wash., Port Hueneme, Calif., and Los Angeles, Calif. We sailed on the transport George Washington from San Pedro in September 1943. Incidentally, I had ridden this great old ship twice before-once in 1911 as a civilian passenger and the second time returning from duty in the AEF in December 1918.

We were six weeks at sea to Bombay, with a two-day stopover for refueling at Hobart, Tasmania, where we were the second contingent of American troops to touch at that port. We managed to get a little change from our ship routine by giving the natives a parade through the city of Hobart, which was received with great enthusiasm.

After four days in Bombay we went around on the British transport, Nevasa, to Calcutta; whence the first and third battalions preceded by river and train to Ledo, Assam, headquarters for the Advance Combat Area, and the Ledo Road, General Pick commanding. My battalion, the second, later designated under the new War Department Regulations as the 68th Quartermaster Battalion Mobile, stayed over to clean up the bottleneck which had developed in Calcutta with regard to supplies being forwarded to Ledo from incoming ships to large barges and via the Bengal and Assam Railway. This mission accomplished, my battalion joined the regiment in the latter part of December 1943 and early January 1944.

The duties of the 45th Group consisted of rail unloading and convoying supplies forward for the Chinese Army in India and Merrill's Marauders, who arrived shortly after we did. The convoying continued in ever-increasing distances as the length of the road was extended until it linked up with the Burma Road, at which time we were one of the first units to be put on Burma convoy duty delivering vehicles of all kinds to our China Theater Headquarters at Kunming.

There was one short interim of three or four weeks before, during and after the Japanese attempt to break out into the Imphal Plain, which, as you know, was British responsibility, when we were called on to assume infantry duty to protect the Ledo Base in the event of a possible attack by the Japanese coming north to cut off the railhead. However, not a single Jap showed up and we returned to convoy duty.

After V-J Day we finally left Ledo by train across India to Karachi in October 1945 and eventually arrived in New York November 24. All units were broken up at Camp Kilmer, N.J., and officers and soldiers returned by detachments to camps nearest their homes.

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