68th QUARTERMASTER TRUCK BATTALION



Source:  68th Transportation Battalion

The 45th Quartermaster Regiment with three battalions was originally constituted on 1 May 1936. On 15 December 1939, the Headquarters, 2nd Battalion was redesignated Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (HHD), 2nd Battalion. On 1 November 1940, it was again redesginated as Headquarters and Headquarters Section. The regiment was redesignated 45th Quartermaster Truck Regiment on 1 April 1942 and activated at Camp John T. Knight, Oakland Sub-port of Embarkation on 9 May 1942. The regiment moved to Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, in northern California where it participated in training exercises in preparation for overseas deployment. The regiment delivered by convoy large numbers of vehicles to ports of embarkation up and down the Pacific coast from Stockton Ordnance Depot to Port Hueneme, and Los Angeles, California and Vancouver, Washington.

On 7 September 1943, it embarked from Los Angeles Port of Embarkation, Wilmington, California, aboard the George Washington on a six-month voyage to participate in the China-Burma-India Campaign. The George Washington first docked in Bombay, India then after four days, sailed to Calcutta aboard a British transport Nevasa. 2nd Battalion hauled cargo from the docks to the warehouses at Camp Howrah.

On 1 December 1943, the Regiment was broken up and the units were redesignated. The 45th Quartermaster Truck Regiment became the 45th Quartermaster Group and the 2nd Battalion became Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 68th Quartermaster Battalion, Mobile. The lettered companies were also redesignated to numbered companies, 3466th through 3468th, and followed separate lineages.

Early in 1944, the battalion transferred its mission to another truck battalion and loaded its trucks on rail cars to a railhead at the foot of the Himalayas. From there they were driven due east to Ledo, at one point being ferried over he Brahmaputra River. The average journey took 12 days. For a month the battalion assisted in a convoy movement in which its drivers turned over their trucks at Loglai to drivers of other convoys up the Ledo Road, transporting personnel, supplies, and ammunition from the railhead at Ledo to engineer units building the road and to Chinese and American combat units operating in northern Burma. The battalion was one of the first truck units put on Burma Convoy Duty delivering vehicles to the China Theater Headquarters at Kunming. The longest run in 1944 went 367 miles to Bhamo, Burma. At the close of the year, the battalion was dispatching an average of 36 2 -ton GMC cargo trucks daily, with the trucks carrying a one-ton overload. A complete convoy run averaged four days. The cargo transported included rations, ammunition, Bailey bridges, engineer and ordnance supplies, pipe of the pipe line, and supplies for air-drops. Driving was difficult because of the topography and climate. At Pangsau Pass on the Assam-Burma border, the road rose to 4,295 feet. Much of the road through the Hukawny and Mogaung Valleys was flooded through the long haul rainy season.

In April 1944, the Japanese launched an offensive into the Imphal Plain in an attempt to sever the vital lines of communication. While the Japanese attempted to break out into the Imphal Plain, 2nd Battalion was called on to assume infantry duty to protect the Ledo Base in the event of a possible attack. However, not a single Japanese showed up and the Battalion returned to convoy duty.

Between 1 January and 8 April 1945, the battalion furnished 36 vehicles per day for convoys operating on the Stilwell Road between Ledo, Assam, Shingbwiyang, Namti, Warazup, and Bhamo, Burma. Convoys took from one to four days, as road conditions were better than in 1944. The trucks managed an average speed of 13 miles per hour. Between 1 July and 8 September, the unit convoyed jeeps, trucks, and Chinese personnel to China over the Stilwell and Burma Roads. After 8 September, the battalion performed general garrison duties and operated small convoys from Ledo to Shingbwiyang and from Ledo to Moran airfield. On 21 October, after the Japanese surrendered, it loaded up on rail cars and departed from Malir to Karachi, India. It returned to the United States where it disembarked at New York Port of Embarkation on 24 November. The 45th Group with its battalions was once then inactivated on 26 November 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It had earned campaign credits for Indian-Burma and Central Burma.

The 68th Battalion was converted and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 68th Transportation Corps Truck Battalion on 1 August 1946. Then again on 14 July 1966, the unit was redesignated as HHD, 68th Transportation Battalion.

The 68th Battalion was activated at Fort Carson, Colorado, on 25 August 1966 and attached to the newly activated 43d General Support Group. The mission of the battalion was to provide command and supervision of units engaged in all types of motor transport such as direct support of tactical units, depot, terminal operations, and line haul. Most of the truck companies were activated Reserve units filling in for Regular Army truck companies deployed to Vietnam. The battalion had the responsibility of loading the 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division's vehicles and equipment destined for Vietnam in July 1968.

The 68th Battalion had the following units:

  • HHD
  • 312th Transportation Company (Light-Medium) was inactivated on 5 September 1968.
  • 421st Transportation Company (Medium Truck Petroleum) was inactivated in September 1968.
  • 557th Transportation Company (Heavy Truck) was inactivated in 5 September 1968.
  • 724th Transportation Company (Medium Truck Petroleum) activated from Forest Park, Illinois, on 13 May 1968 as part of the National Reserve call-up.
  • 890th Transportation Company (Medium Truck Cargo) activated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, on 13 May 1968 as part of the National Reserve call-up.

The 68th Transportation Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia from October 1990 to June 1991 in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. It deployed as part of the 43d Corps Support Group, which had been redesignated in 1973. Throughout this campaign, the 68th provided key transportation support throughout the theater. The 360th Transportation Company was attached to the 475th Quartermaster Group (Petroleum). The unit received the Meritorious Unit Citation for services in Southwest Asia.

On 16 October 1992, the Battalion was re-designated as the 68th Corps Support Battalion. In concept, the 68th Corps Support Battalion was structured to deploy on order to the Theater of Operations to provide medium (petroleum and general cargo) and heavy lift transportation support, tailorable ammunition supply support, direct support maintenance and class IX supply support to divisional and non-divisional units in our area of operations. It was also prepared to provide supply support (Class I, II, IIIP, IIIB, IV, and VII) and services when task organized to do so.

In May 1993, the 68th Battalion deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of Operation Continue Hope. This operation followed Restore Hope. The 43d Corps Support Group had already deployed in December 1992. The Battalion provided maintenance, supply, transportation and field services and remained there until to August 1993.

From October 1994 to March 1995, the 68th Corps Support Battalion deployed with the 43d Area Support Group to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Sea Signal. The battalion provided essential life support to include transportation, maintenance, supply and field services to Cuban and Haitian migrants and US Forces. The unit received the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for service to Joint Task Force 160 during this operation. The 68th returned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from January to April 1996 to close the migrant support facilities constructed during Operation Sea Signal.

In 2002, the battalion had the following units under it:

  • HHD
  • 2nd Transportation Company (HET)
  • 32nd Transportation Company
  • 59th Quartermaster Company
  • 60th Ordnance Company
  • 183d Maintenance Company
  • 360th Transportation Company (Petroleum)

On 14 January 2003, the 68th Corps Support Battalion deployed by air to Kuwait and arrived at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait at 0400 hours on 15 January to support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. It took the 152nd Movement Control Team, 183d Quartermaster Maintenance and 360th Transportation Companies. Upon arrival, the Battalion assumed duties as the Camp Mayor responsible for reception, billeting, land management, and force protection. Shortly thereafter, the Battalion assumed control of the Theater Distribution Center, which handled all Class II, III(P), and IV for the entire theater. The Battalion also assumed responsibility for the Theater Class I Activity located at the Public Warehousing Company. The Battalion managed the only GS Class IX activity for the entire theater at the GS Class IX warehouse, managed the Direct Support Maintenance Activity for southern Kuwait, and managed the DS Class IX warehouse for Camp Arifjan and all of southern Kuwait.

It currently falls under the 43d Area Support Group, 7th ID, III Corps.

CAMPAIGN STREAMERS

World War II:  India-Burma, Central Burma

Southwest Asia:  Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait, Southwest Asia Cease-fire

DECORATIONS

Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Streamer embroidered GUANTANAMO BAY (HHD 68th Spt Bn cited for period 20 May 1994-19 May 1995; Ltr, JCS, 6 Jun 1995)

Meritorious Unit Commendation, Streamer embroidered SOUTHWEST ASIA (68th Trans Bn cited for period 28 Oct 1990-31 Mar 1991; DAGO 27, 1994)

COAT OF ARMS

SHIELD:  Per chevron reversed gules (brick red) and or, two annulets braced palewise azure, each issuing a wavy barrulet barbed fesswise in pale buff. The shield is divided yellow and brick red and commemorates former service as a Transportation Battalion. The pile denotes "points of departure and arrival." The two rings simulate wheels and reflect former service as an element of a Quartermaster Truck Regiment. The rings are blue, alluding to the Quartermaster heritage. The wavy arrows symbolize service in the Pacific Theater and reflect the tortured Burma Road run. The arrows are buff to denote the support functions of the Battalion. Service in India is recalled by the elephant while service in Burma is represented by the head of the tribeswoman in traditional dress, signifying distinction and alluding to the support mission. Scarlet refers to the Meritorious Unit commendation for distinguished service in Southwest Asia. The joint Meritorious unit Award is signified by the additional colors of gold and white. The scimitar recalls participation in the Gulf War during the defense of Saudi Arabia and the liberation and defense of Kuwait. Scarlet signifies courage while gold denotes excellence.

CREST:  On a wreath of the colors (or and gules [brick red]) an elephant passant superim-posed by the head of a Burmese tribeswoman in traditional brass neck loops and jewelry surmounted in base by the tip of a scimitar suspended bendwise from the elephant's upraised trunk proper.

DISTINCTIVE UNIT INSIGNIA:  On a dark blue ring interlaced over and under a brick red ring two wavy gold arrows issuing in opposite directions; inscribed on the two rings the motto WHEELS OF DISTINCTION in gold letters.

MOTTO:  "STAGECOACH"


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