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Walt's Daughter

285th Engineers

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During the past year or so, Darrell Pace who runs this site:

 

http://www.1142combatengineers.com/

 

Has sent a few folks my way to try and discover any information regarding the 285th Engineers. The 285th were attached to the 1142nd Engineer Combat Group, and that is why people are writing to him for info. Unfortunately Darrell doesn't have anything he can share, so together we are trying to help.

 

The following people have written to me for assistance. Here are their letters:

 

My name is Robert Arbogast I served in the US Navy 1961-1965. I am trying to do some research on my Father who served in the US Army WW2. My Father passed away years ago. I have contacted various organizations with no help. They said some of the records in that time frame were destroyed in a fire.

 

My Father- Willard D. Arbogast

His Unit----285th Combat Engineer Bat. Company B -( Europe)

Was hoping maybe someone would be able to help me with some information about the 285th Co. B Any information would be appreciated very much.

 

Thank You

Robert Arbogast

 

Hello,

 

I am the grandson of the now deceased Wallace Homer Allen (service no. 38568385) and I have recently been interested in his WWII experience. He was assigned to the 285th Engineer Combat Battalion which I believe was attached to the 1142nd Combat Engineer Group during the war. Would you happen to recall any information about him?

 

I have sketchy information but what I do have showed he entered service from Oklahoma in 1943 and was discharged from Texas in 1948. He was an uneducated American Indian at the age of 29 with five kids at the time he was inducted. He was apparently in the hospital at Brooke Army Hospital for sometime before his discharge that I can only assume was related to his mental health at the time. To my knowledge, confusion on the part of my grandfather and the Army led him to a other than honorable discharge due to unaccounted time (AWOL) that he fought the Army and VA for 40 years before his death and which was eventually upgraded to Honorable by the Army Discharge Review Board in 1982.

 

I would greatly appreciate any information regarding my grandfather that you may have. Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Anthony Waldroup, MD, MPH

Lt Col, USAF, MC, SFS

 

 

Hello My Name is Shawn Promin,

 

My Grandfather is Edward Louis Promin, He was attached to 285th Army engineer Corp, A bailey bridge unit attached to Patton 44-45. My Grandfather is still alive and is 87 years old. If you could help me to plot his trek across Europe. I am also retired NAVY I am 40 years old. And a major WWII history follower. I know his unit was disbanded when they got somewhere in Europe and he was the last in the unit before Decom, I also know he worked at HQ for Patton's officers and he was Patton's driver on many occasions. I want to understand more of this before he dies he is getting old and frail but he still has the twinkle of mischief and sorrow in his eye when he talks about the war. If you could get back to me I would appreciate it. Thank you in advance for your time.

 

Shawn Promin

 

NOTE: Shawn if you come across this post, please re-send your email. I tried emailing you in April 2010 and your address now bounces!

 

The latest letter is from:

 

Marion, Darrell

 

It is quite humbling to reach out to strangers and to receive so much help and information so quickly.

 

Tomorrow I will be out of my office but will begin to follow up with the contacts below. I had contacted some government organization about five years ago. My dad’s records, along with many others were lost in a fire. We moved to Wyoming 2 years ago and in the process I misplaced what little information they could provide.

 

I found more photos of my dad. The attached was in France Aug 21 1945 and Austria 1945. The group photo is with the Battalion Commander. The faces are very clear and I assume I should be able to locate the name of the Lt Col. who was the Battalion Commander. Another was dad and his buddies Cohen and Eddie.

 

Thanks again.

Joe Gulino, P.E.

 

Joe sent along two photos also. Am attaching the two pdfs.

 

Of course we have given them all the typical research suggestions to explore, and have put them in contact with each other.

 

If anyone has anything they can share about the 285th, please contact us via this post or write to me personally. Thanks, M1

Joe_L_Gulino_right_of_center_Austria_1945_going_to_church_services_Battalion_Comander_Lt_Col_in_center_1.pdf

Joseph__Joe__L_Gulino_France_Aug_20_1945.pdf

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Hello,

 

My dad passed away three weeks ago. He was a platoon leader and after the BotB became the commanding officer for 285th Co B combat engineers. I have a few pictures of some of the bridges they built and a nice XII corps book.

 

In addition to my dad's command of the 285th B Co, he had an honor co command at General Patton's funeral. After the war, he was assigned to HQ where he was assigned various tasks. Later he was given Command of the 24th Armored Engineers 4th Armored Division. As with most of our parents, he didn't talk much about the war, but ever so often would talk about "this or that" He took more pride in commanding the 285th than he did his other commands. Only recently did I learn that he had an honor co command at Gen Patton's funeral or that he had a battalion command after the war.

 

If anyone is interested I will try to scan a few pictures.

 

Joe

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Joe:

 

Count me in!!! :armata_PDT_01:

 

I was just getting ready to shut down for the night, when I saw you post, and had to reply. Will write more later, but the pillow is screaming at me! :waving:

 

Would love to hear more and see more and of course my curiosity is roused about the Patton funeral.

 

ZZZZZZZzzzzz,

M

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Joe, also meant to send my condolences. So sorry for your loss.

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Marion, this is just total curiosity but I have read the foregoing posts and as always I like to look up in our 'bible' what the various organisations were doing in Europe. Why is it there is no mention of the 285th or the 1142nd there? In the index it goes from 284th to 286th and 1141st to 1145th.

 

Colin.

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Colin:

 

Hmmmm, I really have no explanation, other than maybe they simply didn't have info compiled/available to them at time of printing. There are other similar gaps in the book, which I've noticed while performing research for others.

 

:(

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Marion, this is just total curiosity but I have read the foregoing posts and as always I like to look up in our 'bible' what the various organisations were doing in Europe. Why is it there is no mention of the 285th or the 1142nd there? In the index it goes from 284th to 286th and 1141st to 1145th.

 

Colin.

 

What is the "bible"?

 

thanks.

 

I found this. I am not sure it helps but here it is anyway. http://www.7tharmddiv.org/bulge/index.htm#fwdssho

 

Also, I was at my dad's house today and found a 285th Co B picture. Unfortunately, my dad was home on leave when this picture was taken.

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Ah, the 'bible' many of us refer to is:

 

The Corps of Engineers - The War Against Germany - Authors: Alfred M. Beck; Abe Bortz; Charles W. Lynch; Lidia Mayo; And Ralph F. Weld - Publisher: Department of the Army - The book describes in detail the role of the Army Corps Engineers in various campaigns, from North Africa, Italy, as well as Central and Western Europe, from 1941-1944. Includes photos, maps... - Recommended to me by Rod O'Barr. Received the book in August 2004. There are numerous references to the 36th, 39th and 540th Engineers and it's a tremendous help to me while trying to write a concise history of the VI Corps Engineers.

 

Are you planning on scanning the photo to share with us?

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Ah, the 'bible' many of us refer to is:

 

The Corps of Engineers - The War Against Germany - Authors: Alfred M. Beck; Abe Bortz; Charles W. Lynch; Lidia Mayo; And Ralph F. Weld - Publisher: Department of the Army - The book describes in detail the role of the Army Corps Engineers in various campaigns, from North Africa, Italy, as well as Central and Western Europe, from 1941-1944. Includes photos, maps... - Recommended to me by Rod O'Barr. Received the book in August 2004. There are numerous references to the 36th, 39th and 540th Engineers and it's a tremendous help to me while trying to write a concise history of the VI Corps Engineers.

 

Are you planning on scanning the photo to share with us?

 

re: photo...

 

yes, but it is @18 inches long. I will probably take a picture of it. I also plan on scanning some pictures of bridges they built.

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Excellent. Thanks. I look forward to all of them.

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That turned out very nice. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I hope some others from the unit or their family members will find this post. I think they would be pleasantly surprised.

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Marion, this is just total curiosity but I have read the foregoing posts and as always I like to look up in our 'bible' what the various organisations were doing in Europe. Why is it there is no mention of the 285th or the 1142nd there? In the index it goes from 284th to 286th and 1141st to 1145th.

 

Colin.

 

I haven't been on this forum for some time, but checked in this evening. My dad never mentioned 1142nd. What he did say was that the 285th was attached to XII Corps during the war.

 

I'm not sure whether this information helps or not, but I thought I would toss it out there.

 

I also have a book XXII Corps, Spearhead of Patton's Third Army

\

It's a treasured piece for me, now that my dad is gone.

 

Joe

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Good to hear from you this evening. I do not have that book. Guess I will have to add that one to my collection.

 

Here's another link to peruse:

 

 

http://www.1142combatengineers.com/documents.htm

 

Notice the mention of the 285th!

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My grandfather served in the 285th Engineer Combat Battalion. His name was Daniel Warchol. I'm looking to get more information about his time in the service during WWII. He passed away in June 2005 and never really talked a lot about the war (to me anyway)...I can clearly see him in the picture above (2nd of the 3 close-up pictures, 2nd row up, 3rd person from the right). If anyone knew him, i'd be so happy to know more about his time in the service!

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Hi: I'm posting this letter for Dale. Looking forward to chatting with him here too. How wonderful to hear from a member of this unit. A warm, warm welcome.

 

 

Mrs. Chard,

A paragraph about myself. I was in 285th Engineer © Battalion. I

joined the 285th in Camp Crowder. At the time I joined the 285th we were

only occupying one barracks. There were only cadre. The day I entered

the unit a Tec/Sgt was latrine orderly.

 

I give this information to show how few men were in the outfit, they were

only waiting for fillers to start training to be Combat Engineers.

Before we ever got to the ETO we had 2 as I remember or maybe three

battalion commanding officers relieved of their command for inefficiency.

The only time I was not with the 285th was 13 weeks I spent in Ft.

Belvoir radio school. I was with the 285th until it was redeployed to

the US. I did not have enough points to return with them and was

transferred to the 4th Armored Division at that time.

 

About 1975 I got a mailing asking if I would be interested in a reunion of

the 285th and of course I replied that I would be interested and would

attend any reunion. The first reunion was in 1976(I think). After

several years of reunions I became part of the reunion organizers and

organized and attended reunions until several years ago when only 3 vets

showed an interest in attending. I cancelled the reunion, for 4

attendees hotels would not give reunion rates.

 

I have a list of all the 285th vets that were located. I looked at the

forum and the questions about 285th vets are about men we could not

locate, with the exception of Capt. Joe Mioux. Capt. Mioux attended a

number of the reunions and I have been in contact with his son.

I hope this explains I have no interest in spamming. I would like to

contact others looking for information. Unhappily I have only a few

mementos of the 285th but I have the original list of the men that were

located. The list is quite old and probably outdated by now and there

are more passed away than there are still living.

 

I live in the St. Louis, MO area and I am always interested in finding

more information about anyone that had been in the 285th and maybe even

getting old comrades together.

 

Dale Diller

 

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Another email....

 

Mrs. Chard,

If you know of anyone that was in B Co. of the 285th I have a picture

taken in Camp Campbell Kentucky showing all of B Co.

I also have a battle map showing our route arriving in England and across

France, Luxembourg, Germany and into Austria, Hungary and

Czechoslovakia.

 

Dale Diller

 

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Just wanted to extend a warm welcome to Nicole (nayers) too. It's nice to have you here.

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I know this is kind of an old thread but I thought that I'd mention that the 285th is mentioned in the Battle of the Bulge book:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=fldMWJ6Kwg8C&pg=PA170&lpg=PA170&dq=285th+combat+engineers&source=bl&ots=JQLznD2_C8&sig=yFX7LSMMkKNb-WwjHhajLWw5ZjQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eoSTUrTVAYu-kQfJ8ICAAg&ved=0CHgQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=285th%20combat%20engineers&f=false

 

I also have a few documents posted on the 284th's website that talks about the 284th and the 285th when they were assigned to the 2nd Cav as Infantry (see Thesis document Patton's Iron Cavalry - The Impact of the Mechanized Cavarly on the U.S. Third Army) and their work at Skyline drive (General Patton's book: The War as I Knew It pages: 226-227)

 

http://284thcombatengineers.com/documents/index.cfm

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Thanks for the updates. A thread is never considered OLD and is always open for addendum. Always pleased to see additional info added to our site.

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I guess I'll add some more details to this just in case someone else happens upon this while looking for information on the 285th.

 

The 284th and 285th rode over to the ETO on the Marine Raven, information on this ship can be found on the 284th's website and scattered about the internet.

 

As far as the 1142nd I asked Dale about it and his response was:

 

I wrote to Pace explaining I was in the 285th before it had the fillers just cadre. He posted my email on his page but I have never had any reply. I remember the 1142nd sign in Camp Crowder and I know that was the group we were assigned. I can not remember if we were assigned that group in the ETO. The only assignment I am sure of is that we were XII Corps.

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Now for a couple stories from Dale:

 

Marine Raven:

When we boarded to the Raven we had most of what we owned in a back pack. I forget the exact number of bunks, there were either 7 or 8. They folded against the wall (bulkhead?). The bottom bunk was deployed you were instructed to lay down in the bunk, with your backpack on and stay there till notified you could get up. The second bunk was lowered and the next in line got that bunk, lay down and don't move (couldn't move if you had to after the next bunk was lowered). You laid there till all 7or 8 bunks were occupied then you had to wait till the entire room maybe 70 or 80 men were in the bunks. When all the bunks were full and the next room was opened you could get out of the bunk. Of course the top bunk had to get down first and the first bunk was the last to get out. No place for claustrophobia. And of course during the sea trip it was always one of the top bunks that the occupant got sea sick and of course the ensuing "waterfall".

 

I was just talking to one of my friends I graduated from high school with and we agreed it was a great experience but hoped no one else had to endure anything like it.

 

40/8s:

Had more room on the 40/8s. While awake pretty much room. Nights were cosy. It was cold but you "spooned" with another G.I. Not all that comfortable but we kept each other not warm but from freezing.

Most of us were pretty lucky but a couple of the 40/8s had been damaged by shell fire and had holes in the roofs. I think those guys were more uncomfortable than we were. Another car had a 4 foot hole in the floor where some idiots had built a bonfire.

 

I rememeber at a long stop somehow we were furnished bread. I stood outside the car with my arms extended and got as many loaves of bread as I could carry. I was told to run to the end of the train and 2 loaves NO MORE ! to each car. As a result the train started just as I ran out of bread so I just jumped on the car till the next stop. We never knew how long a trip would be or when or how long a stop would last.

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Great to hear those stories, for they are priceless. Every time I read recollections such as his, I always think about how COLD they were. It truly makes me appreciate that I can simply walk in my door at any time and get warm and toasty. When I shovel snow each year and am fighting the wind and the elements, I think about all those GI's enduring the winter. I tell myself, "you are only going to be out here for 20 minutes, those poor guys were out there for days upon days and weeks upon weeks, without any real shelter, you have it easy, Marion." It's a real reality check, isn't it?

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Brief history of the 285th: (my apologies for any spelling errors, the font is small and faded on the document that I'm reading for this)

 

Arrrived at Barry, Wales aboard the USS Marine Raven, debarked 2 NOV 1944. Boarded train there and proceeded to Delamere Park Camp, 1 mile NW of Cuddington Station, England. Battalion quartered there until departing for continent. Embarked 7 Jan 1945 at Southhampton, England. Debarked at Le Havre, France 9 Jan 1945. Entrained to Camp Twenty Grand SW of Duclair, France. Entrained again after sweating it out for a week on salmon and cheese for Ukange, France. Departed by truck for Delheim, Luxembourg 20 Jan 1945. Assigned to Third Army, attached to 12th Corps, further attached to 42nd Cavalry Sqdn of 2nd Calvary Group. Relieved of attachment to 42nd Cavalry Sqdn and attached to 1137th Engr. C. Group 3 March 1945 at Wecker, Luxembourg. 17 March 1945 placed in direct support of 11 Armored Div. east of Bitburg, Germany. Relieved of support to 11th Armored Div. 24 March 1945 at Undenheim, Germany. Place in direct support of 4th Armovered Div until relieved 31 March 1945 near Lauterback, Germany. Crossed the Rhine river 25 March 1945. Relieved of support of the 4th Armored Div and attachment to 1137 Engr. C. Group 31 March 1945. Attached to 1135 that date. Relieved attachment to 1135 Engr. C. Group; attached to the 1137 Engr. C. Group at Herbstein, north of Gedern, Germany 7 april 1945, being relieved of this support 22 April 1945 and made direct support of 26th Infantry Div. that date at Kaltenbrunn, Germany. Remained in support of 26th until termination of war and relieved 12 May 1945.

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