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Clementine

Hello - 608th Engineer Light Equipment Co

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My father is a veteran of WWII and I am trying to find out information and get a feel for what he experienced as an engineer, so even if I can't find a great deal of information about his specific unit, I hope to find our more about engineering units through the information posted here.

 

My father served with the 608 Engineer (LE) Co., which I only recently found out was redesignated at the 455 Engineer Co. after WWII.

 

My father was discharged in December 1945 and went home and then enlisted in the USAF in December 1947 and served with the Atlas Missile Program. I was born on Fairchild Air Force Base - we were raised with a great sense of respect for our military and a great patriotism. But like many men of my fathers generation and ilk, he did not talk about his war experiences when I was younger. Now he will to a certain degree, we are trying to make up for lost time. About all I know is that he served with the 608th, we even have documents that bear that out, he was Omaha Beach on D-Day and he worked with Patton (not on a one-on-one basis but he was part of a crew that cleared the path that Patton wanted to go). His military records were apparently destroyed in a fire in 1973.

 

I look forward to reading the other posts. And a personal thanks to all of you who have served our country. I am grateful.

 

Clementine

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Hello Clementine, welcome to the forum and a Thank You to your dad for his service.

A typical Engineer Light Equipment Company consisted of 4 officers. 114 enlisted men.

They furnished supplementary equipment with operators to engineer combat battalions and operated as a replacement pool for construction equipment. Light equipment companies were attached to corps or army.

 

AmericanDivisions.com lists the 608th Engineer Light Equipment Co. under Army Engineer Troops for the Normandy invasion attached to the 1128th Engineer Combat Group along with the 1278th Engineer Combat Battalion.

The operation plans state that the 1109th and 1128th ECGroups will do general engineer work in the Carentan Peninsula area.

Later records of the 1128th Group do not list the 608th as being attached to them, so they probably went to Patton`s 3rd Army when it was activated in August `44.

I`ll try to find some record of them under 3rd Army later.

 

The 608thLECo has campaign credits for Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes- Alsace, Central Europe, Rhineland, and Occupation Duty, 2 May - 4 July 1945, Germany.

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Welcome Clementine. Larry, thank you for getting him off to a good start. Let's see what we can come up with.

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Larry,

 

Thanks so much for the information....It is very much appreciated.

 

And I will tell my father. I am so very blessed to have him with me still. He will celebrate his 90th birthday in March.

 

He's great on the larger aspects of his war experiences - for example, he tells of finding a chimpanzee and taking it along with him and some of the trouble the monkey would get into (they called the monkey Adolph), my father wanted to bring him home with him, but could not, of course - but some of the finer details he can't remember. But I am wondering now if it isn't just as much the nomadic nature of being part of a light equipment company, being sent here and there amongst the different units.

 

Look forward to seeing you around the site.

 

Thanks again. And thank you for the welcome, Marion!

 

Clementine

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Marion -

 

I stumbled on some information on another site that helps me wrap my head around some of this - and it just happens to have been written by you.

 

It is on the Daughters of D-Day site and the specific piece I got excited about was:

 

"All along I assumed that each unit fell under a division, but I soon discovered that many engineer units were known in army lingo as "bastard" units; they were individualized engineer regiments or battalions that went where and when they were needed. Sometimes under an Army, sometimes under a Corps, and often times attached to other divisional units."

 

The descriptions of an engineering unit I had been given said they were attached to an army or a corps, and I think that was probably implied in that description, but I just wasn't sure if that meant they were directly attached or if they still belonged to a division or what. I needed it spelled out. And I couldn't understand why my father couldn't remember what division he was with, yet he remembered he was with the 608th. But this makes sense to me if he was part of one of the "bastard" units.

 

Wow...It probably seems like such a little thing, but I think you will understand how excited that makes me.

 

And - I love the photo of you and your father. It's priceless.

 

Clementine

 

(I noticed you have this article at this site as well - I just hadn't gotten to it yet.)

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Clementine:

 

I can share your enthusiasm. Oh yes! :clappin2:

 

Well I'm glad you stumbled upon my article, and certainly delighted it helped to clear up a lot of the confusion surrounding your father's service with an engineering company.

 

This is certainly why your father couldn't remember what division he was in, because he never was! These engineer units simply went where they were needed, and oft times attached to regiments/divisions for a short period of time. So yes, his unit was a "bastard" unit.

 

I'm here to assist you and your father, and now after all this time, you can finally start to put those puzzle pieces together.

 

A big hello to your father, from a very proud daughter. Engineer's rock!

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Hi Clemetine, You probly already know this, but here is a great article on your father being honored recently at the IL House of Representatives. It gives an account of his service.

 

Area vets recognized in Ill. House

http://jg-tc.com/news/article_f4e1fe76-033d-11e0-9d91-001cc4c03286.html

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GREAT! Nice to have that here. Good job Larry, as usual!

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Thanks, Larry. I am so appreciative!

 

I actually supplied the info for both of those bios. If you read the article about my father being honored in front ot the IL House, I am the daughter mentioned. Clementine is just a nickname.

 

(I left out the most important part of his AF bio because it doesn't mention the fact I was born while he was stationed at Fairchild AFB! :) Just kidding...)

 

I know my father was an engineer with the 608th - now I am trying to find out more about the unit's history and even just how engineer units functioned. My father is still pretty good at relating his personal experiences but was really never too detailed about the unit history. Since coming here I have a better understanding why that is. Now I have a better understanding of how the men in a unit such as my father's were shifted around and filled in everywhere and the history of the unit is really the personal histories of each of them.

 

I am happy to be here and so thankful for helpful people like you.

 

Clem

 

 

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My dad was in the 608th Engineers LE Company. His name was Olin K. (Casey) Thies. He passed in 1984 and I am interested in finding out more about his wartime experiences and the people he served with and his friends. I have about 15 pictures of his friends with their names written on the backs of the photos. Is anyone interested in these photos? Would relatives of other members of his unit have pictures of him? Is there a roster?

 

Donna

Daughter of Casey Thies

608th Engineers LE Company

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Would love to see the photos. Can you email them to me and/or post them here? I would love to add them to our engineer photo gallery. Thanks!

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Clementine,

 

I do not have too much to offer, but in reading through the After Action Reports for the 157th Engineer C Battalion, the 608th Le Co. is mentioned on February 27th, 1945. At this point the 157th is somewhere in the area of Domfessel, France and they are working on and operating a rock crusher. The report says that the "shovel that was attached (to the 157th) from the 608th Le Co and used at coord. Q557285 for loading rock had to be returned to bivouac for repair and maintenance work."

 

It does not sound like the 157th and 608th were working together (just sharing equipment), but the 608th must have been close by.

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Clementine,

 

I was looking through my photographs and I realized I did have a little more to add for the 608 Le Co. In my post here http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=7758#entry36235 you will see in the last photograph on the third post, there is a sign on the Pascal Bridge that says

"Pascal Bridge

Built by

157 ENGR C BN

2nd PLTN. 608 LEco"

So it looks like our outfits may have been closer than I thought!

 

Brian

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Hey, does anyone here know exactly where the Pascal bridge was built. Have another person who is very interested in acquiring this info. Thanks!!!

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I found another pic of it and it shows a blown portion of the Autobahn, with the Pascal in the background, but what city is this in? Anyone know?

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The caption on the photo posted by Brian M said: "Pascal Bridge. (from the Richard Purcell Collection) The Autobahn bridge was blown up by the Germans just a few days before the end of the war. Once the ended, some of the bridge building was performed by the German POWs as can be seen in the photograph. The bridge was named after Tec 4 Pascal of the 157th who drowned during the construction of the bridge. "

 

On this webage about Harold Whiting, 157th ECB,

http://carol_fus.tripod.com/army_hero_157ceb.html

 

In the history sketch on that page it says:

 

"The next major job assigned to the unit was bridging of the Salzach River, west of Salzburg, Austria on the autobahn. The unit was engaged in this project on VE Day."

 

This may be the Pascal Bridge, but it looks like the 157th had many bridge projects going on that time.

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I do know the exact location for that bridge and in fact my WWII buddy Mr. Purcell made a surprise visit to my house this afternoon and I went through and showed him the locations of some of the other bridges he built with the 157th. He was amazed that I could show him aerial shots and street shots (from maps.google.com). I showed him photographs from their bridge building during the war with buildings in the background and then showed the same buildings from current google maps and street shots. He loved it!

 

As far as the Pascal Bridge, i did have the location of that one and there are some nice shots of the newly constructed bridge that was put up right where the previous one had been blown. The bad part is I am in the middle of organizing all of my data so that is one I could not find this afternoon. I will look for it again tonight and post the location, i know it will not take too long to find.

 

Marion,

If that is Clementine you are talking to, i may have photos of some cranes and pile-drivers from her dad's outfit. I tried to log onto the forum you posted about earlier where Clementine had the postings about her dad, but it would not let me log in or email me the confirmation information when i signed up.

 

Stay tuned!

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Marion,

 

The city is Piding, Germany. I suggest searching that on google earth and you will see the bridge to the east of the city. Try using the camera function to see photographs that people have taken and linked to the site. The mountains are beautiful. I have some great shots of both bridges with the mountains in the background and it is breathtaking! (here is one http://www.6thcorpscombatengineers.com/engforum/index.php?showtopic=7758) I think it would have been a great place to work on bridges, especially since the war had just ended, but obviously it was still dangerous.

 

The official paperwork says "Tec 4 Freeman P. Pascal, Jr. was drowned on the night of 12 May 1945 1 mile east of Piding Germany in the Saalach River. Tec 4 Pascal was installing electrical fixtures on a bridge which the battalion was constructing across that Saalach River when the motor boat in which he was working was caught in the strong current and carried down stream hitting a cable which caused the boat to overturn. Every effort was made to save Tec 4 Pascal but due to the difficult conditions these efforts failed. To date the body has not been recovered. The bridge which forms a portion of a by pass on the Autobahn near the town of Piding was upon completion names "Pascal Bridge" in honor of Tec 4 Pascal who gave his life for it".

 

Mr. Purcell knew Tec 4 Pascal and has told me several times about the events that night. He said one guy jumped in to try and save him but the water was so swift and cold, that there was no way anyone could have gotten to him. This is obviously a hard one for him to talk about.

 

The bridge built by the 157th was located just south of the original (and current) bridge location. If you do get a chance to go to the site, i would think that a quick walk around would get you the exact spot as they had to move a lot of dirt with the bulldozers and road scrapers to get down to their bridge location.

 

Brian

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Brian thanks SO much for all the info. I will pass that along to my new friend, who was very interested in this.

 

What an awful thing to happen to Sgt Pascal, but how wonderful that his men remembered him in this way. Ya, and I can imagine it would be a terrible thing to talk about that day and the events surrounding it.

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