729th Normandy - The Technical Services - Transportation Corps

 On February 21st 1941, the 591st Engineer Battalion Railway was renumbered the 729th Engineer Battalion. On April 1st 1942, it was redesignated as the 729th Engineer Railway Operating Battalion. On November 16th 1942, the 729th was transferred from the Corps of Engineers to the Transportation Corps and again redesignated the 729th Railway Operating Battalion. The unit was then affiliated with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad based in New Haven, CT. The unit would meet at the New Haven Y.M.C.A.

On December 2nd 1942, the officers of the 729th reported to active duty at Fort Slocun, New York for training. At the time the Unit's Commanding Officer was still William S., Carr. Ten of the units officers at this time were from the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The rest of the officers came from the Reading, Missouri Pacific, Baltimore and Ohio, Santa Fe, Boston and Maine, Chicago and Northwester, Lehigh and New England, and the Delaware and Hudson Railroads.

Almost six weeks later on January 11th 1943, the 729th Railway Operating Battalion was ordered to active duty at the New Orleans, Louisiana Staging Area. At this time the unit had 150 men. The 729th eventually had men from 92 different railroads.

During World War II the 729th participated in campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. Although the unit did not receive any awards it did have to it's credit many accomplishments, and many of it's members were decorated.

Among it's accomplishments are:

First complete unit of its kind to be stationed in England.

Assembled the first American Refrigerator, Tank, Box, War Flats and Gondola cars in Europe.

Pioneered in setting up assembly lines in the United Kingdom

First Railway Operating Battalion to land in France 10 days after "D" Day on Omaha and Utah Beaches.

Ran the first passenger train in France.

Ran the first troop train in France.

Ran the first freight train in France.

Ran the first hospital train in France.

Had a part in the construction of the 1800 foot steel girder Rhine River Bridge in 10 days.

Ran the first train over the Weser River Bridge.

Ran the huge Antwerp Freight Terminal.

Operated rail lines in support of the First and Ninth Armies into Germany.

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