MILITARY RAILWAY SERVICE REUNION - ARMED FORCES DAY WEEKEND (MAY 19 - 21)
Currently, there are no formal national organizations for Military Railway Service (MRS) veterans to unite, share their experiences preserving the history of military railway transportation, network, or develop relationships. In post WWII, numerous MRS battalions formed veterans’ associations to carry on the comradeship developed during the war. These WWII battalion level associations were united on a national level through The Military Railway Service Veterans. Reunions were held at both the local battalion as well as the national levels. For WWII Veterans, national level reunions were held through the mid-1990s. The last of the battalion level reunions were held two to three years ago. Similar veterans’ associations were formed following the Korean War with two of these continuing to hold reunions.
Following WWII, the 714th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion (TROB) at Ft. Eustis was the Army's primary active duty railway unit until deactivated in 1972. Additional MRS units served on active duty at Ft. Eustis for short periods during the Korean War and Viet Nam War eras. None of the active duty units that served at Ft. Eustis have a surviving veterans’ association. The post WWII reserve rail structure has mirrored that of the 714th TROB and has left no surviving veterans associations. With only the two Korean War associations remaining active, it is safe to say that many if not most Veterans assigned to the 714th TROB and other short lived active duty units as well as those who served in the post WWII reserve structure have not visited the U.S. Army Transportation Museum (TC Museum) or are members of the U. S. Army Transportation Museum Foundation (USATMF.)
To address this issue, the USATMF is in the preliminary planning stages of developing a MRS Reunion to be held at Ft. Eustis over the 2017 Armed Forces Day weekend (May 19 -21). The Reunion is dedicated to the service of all active duty and reserve MRS Veterans from WWII to the current date. This weekend endeavor will provide MRS Veterans, their families, friends and the general public the opportunity to unite as one group; to visit the TC Museum, to share their story and history of MRS railroading; to receive a formal, interactive historical rail presentation, from a former professor of military history and to tour the Fort Eustis rail network.
While dedicated and open to all MRS Veterans, their families, friends and the general public; it is USATMF's intention to recognize those Veterans who served in MRS units during WWII, the Korean War and the BERLIN DUTY TRAIN through the Korean War era as Honored Guests by sponsoring their attendance at this Reunion. The Honored Guest program's objective is to provide up to 25 MRS Veterans with round trip transportation, accommodations and meals for the two-day Reunion. USATMF's intention is to fully fund the selected 25 MRS Veterans along with providing financial assistance to their escorts.*
We are currently endeavoring to identify MRS Veterans meeting Honored Guests criteria and interested in attending the Reunion. If you are such a Veteran or know of such a Veteran and desiring additional information please contact LTC (R) Mark Metz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 331-8405. Additional general and specific Reunion details will be provided as they are confirmed. Please mark Armed Forces Day 2017 on your planning calendars and plan to join us at Ft. Eustis.
** 2011 photo