286th Army Combat Engineers Co B

My name is Jon Blankenship from South Carolina. My uncle Charles P. Blankenship served in Europe 1944-45. He was a very young 1st Sgt. in the 286th Combat Engineers Co B. He served in The Colmar Pocket, built Bailey bridges over the Rhine and on into Germany. He left. Clemson University at the age of 18 to serve his country. He experienced the 3rd Reich’s horrors first hand and head on being able to return to the US in 1946. He suffered severe PTSD but was able to overcome his terrible memories of the war and lead a very productive and fulfilling life to age 89. He never spoke of his time in service. My cousins and I would ask our grandmother(his mom) about his time in WW2 as curious youngsters. She would only tell us bits and pieces. So... since his death 4 years ago, I started looking into his Army records and such. I have been able to find his mooring reports and a lot of other valuable info. My research has become a favorite hobby of mine. I am really pleased I found this website to continue on my research. I look forward to meeting anyone that can help with his unit and I will gladly share any info that I have as well. Thank you.  


Welcome to the forum, Jon. So pleased to hear that you were able to obtain a lot of information from my site. 

I hope we will be able to supply you with more info. I have one book I am going to look into for you, this afternoon. 




Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

I am going to place a few links here. Even if you've seen these before, maybe they will help others.

Interview with Louis Charles Gerken

Library of Congress - 286th

WorldCat Identities - 286th

American Battle Monuments Commission - Frank C May Jr

Together We Served - 286th

Battle of the Bulge - states on this page that

Units at Unknown Locations

There are many units that received recognition for participation in the Ardennes-Alsace campaign. This is a list of some of those units so recognized but for which I have yet to determine their geographic location during the Battle of the Bulge. If you have information on these, please let me know.

  • 260th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 275th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 281st Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 286th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 289th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 290th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 294th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 297th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 298th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 301st Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 303rd Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 304th Engineer Combat Battalion
  • 305th Engineer Combat Battalion

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Building the bridges to victory : the story of the 286th combat engineer battalion from France to Germany to a concentration camp and to Austria : an interview and research report / by Tom Mueller. This is not digitized. You have to visit the library/archives

Consulate General of France in Los Angeles - 10 WWII veterans received the Legion of Honor in San Diego

286th Engineer Combat Bn - H&S Company

Obit - John T McDonough

549th Eng Light Ponton Co -( mentions the 289th) In the European Theater of Operations it was often just ahead or behind the 289th Engineer Combat Battalion during the months of March, April, and May 1945. At various points it detached a platoon to the 289th and traded an officer back and forth in April.[2] On April 1, 1945, the detached 1st Platoon enjoyed Easter Dinner with the 289th at the Mudau Hotel in Mudau, Germany.

Looks like there is an available book from librarycat,org - Building the Bridges to Victory: The Story of the 286th Combat Engineer Battalion from France to Germany to a Concentration Camp and to Austria: An Interview and Research Report by Thomas S Mueller - paperback, 2007. But it says it's currently unavailable on Amazon. Library Thing lists it. I would visit that site. World Cat shows it's available at several libraries.  The Ultimate Sacrifice and History 

286 Engineer Combat Bn - based on a map by Alexander, July 1945

Unit Citation and Campaign Participation Credit Register

On US Senator Johnny Isakson's site

Available at the Eisenhower Library in Box 636 - info on the 286th

GIs Remember - Dan Evers -Dachau

Corps of Engineers: The War Against Germany - pg 487

1944 Troop Ship Crossings - see 44 -10-22

Obit - Robert J McKean Jr

Senate Confirms VA Watchdog

Louis Gerken - via LinkedIn

Herald Tribune - Officer's Leadership Remembered

Prof DR George Leitmann

Obit - John Austin Lepter

This PDF file on the 549th Engineer Light Ponton Co - says it mentions the 289th!

Obit Carl W Roggenbaum

Obit Harold J Allen PhD

Obit Theodore M Justyk

Congressional Record Online - speaks of Dan Evers of the 286th

63rd Infantry Division mentions 286th Engineer Bn.pdf

Attached Files
.pdf   63rd Infantry Division mentions 286th Engineer Bn.pdf (Size: 209.49 KB / Downloads: 0)
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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