765th TRSB Obit --Henry “Hank” J. Swalley

Thanks to his son , Jim for sending this
Here is his obit from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 28, 2011.

Henry “Hank” J. Swalley, 82, a resident of Willow Gardens, died Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids following an extended illness. Funeral services: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Marion, by the Rev. Michael Kleeberger. Family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the funeral home. Burial: Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery, Cedar Rapids. Military honors: Marion American Legion Post 298.

Survivors include his wife, Bev; four children, James (Maria) Swalley of Falcon, Colo., Linda Barnard of Pennsylvania, and Christina Swalley and Dean Swalley, both of Cedar Rapids; a stepson, Phil (Mary) Tucker of Marion; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and his faithful dog, Rainy.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Paul.

Hank was born Dec. 16, 1928, in Cedar Rapids, the son of Harry and Louise (Plowman) Swalley. He was a United States Army veteran, serving during the Korean conflict. He married Lois King and they later divorced. He then married Bev Tucker in 1980. Hank worked for 43 years as a carman for the Rock Island Railroad and the Chicago Northwestern, retiring in 1988. He was a former member of Hillside Wesleyan Church.

A memorial fund has been established in Hank’s memory.


From September 1941 and July 1942 the 711th Railway Operating Battalion with help from the 91st and 93rd Engineer Battalions, constructed a 47.66 mile railroad in Louisiana between the Missouri Pacific Railroad which served Camp Claiborne, LA and the Kansas City Southern Railway that served Camp Polk, LA. Known as the Claiborne – Polk Military Railway (C&P) it became the primary Army owned and operated facility for “technical” training of Military Railway Service (MRS) units. Informally known as the Crime and Punishment, the line afforded the Army total flexibility for tactical training in basic railroad operations. Ultimately, a total of six Railway Operating Battalions (ROB) and the two Railway Shop Battalions (RSB) would conduct technical training on the C&P. Units training on the C&P included the 711th ROB (Training Battalion), 712th ROB (RDG & CNJ), 714th ROB (Omaha Road), 718th ROB (NYC), 725th ROB (C,RI,&P), and the 752nd ROB (B&M). Also, training on the C&P were the 760th RSB ( ? ) & 762 RSB (Alco), the MRS’ two diesel shop battalions. Five additional battalions, the 715th ROB (IC), 719th ROB (T&NO), 759th ROB (MP), 754th RSB (SP), and 755th RSB (N&W) were activated and conducted basic training at Camp Claiborne but transferred to commercial training facilities for technical training.

Returning from service on the Alaska RR in May 1945, the 714th ROB became the last rail unit assigned to Camp Claiborne. With victory in the Pacific on August 15, 1945, neither Camp Claiborne nor the C&P were part of the Army’s long term post war stationing plan. Both Camp Claiborne and the C&P were declared excess and dismantled in short order. In January 1946 the 714th ROB would move it’s flag to Fort Eustis, VA, where, other then being deployed to support actions in Korea, it would call home until deactivated on June 19, 1972.

Today Camp Claiborne is a forest of mature trees interlaced with decaying roads and building foundations. While a short segment of the C&P continues in service at Fort Polk, the balance of the right of way is trackless but with use of topographic map and back roads can be located at many locations. Still inscribed in the Camp Claiborne enginehouse foundation are the initials C, RI, & P RR from the 725th ROB. Otherwise with the exception of a plaque by the still existing main gate, little marks the existence of this once thriving military base and even less of the C&P training railroad.

In an effort to correct this neglect of history, the Southern Forest Heritage Museum of Long Leaf, LA will be holding its first annual Camp Claiborne-Claiborne and Polk Military Railway Symposium this coming October 29th and 30th. The symposium will feature both formal presentations as well as on the ground explorations of the facilities and rail right of way that once existed. Additional details at http:www.foresteritagemuseum.org/ or from LT. Melinda West at Melinda.West@Isus.edu.

While the C&P provided an excellent training facility, a greater number of MRS units conducted their technical training on commercial railroads based on agreements between the Army and the individual carriers. Overall, 30 of the 36 ROB’s and 10 of the 12 RSB’s activated in CONUS would conduct their “technical” training at 12 commercial rail facilities. The earliest of these commercial arrangements beginning in March 1942 was the 727th ROB which was mobilized and assigned to Camp Shelby, MS, near Hattiesburg, MS. The 727th conducted training on the Southern Railway’s New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (NO&NE) between New Orleans, LA, and Meridian, MS. While the battalion was assigned to Camp Shelby, “C” company, battalion train operations, was billeted at the Hattiesburg passenger station (Fort Northeastern) aboard NO&NE furnished passenger and camp cars. “B” company, battalion maintenance, trained at the NO&NE shops at Meridian, MS and was billeted at nearby Key Army Air Field. This basic concept served as a template for other ROB training complexes. Successor of the Southern Railways NO&NE is the Norfolk Southern Railway.

LTC Mark Metz

752nd Railway Operating Battalion - Robert D. Anderson

From Zeke, his son  ..My father, Robert D. Anderson, was company commander of Company C of the 752nd. He died in Tucson in 1964 of emphysema.

Captain Anderson in Kassel, Germany in 1945 with Caesar von Weinburg, a champion Boxer whose German owner could no longer afford to feed him. Caesar was rotated to the USA where he died at a ripe old age.

Thanks !

717th Railway Operating Battalion Photos

Thanks so much to Andrew Halter

713th Railway Operating Battalion- Roster

Thanks so much to Bob Berry !

713th ROB Rosters by cunningb

713th Railway Operating Battalion- Amazing memorabilia discovered and shared!

Just an amazing part of Military Rail history discovered ....In part these are excerpts from Bob's email.
You can see photos of the vest above and Bob is donating it to the Transporation museum at Fort Eustis, so you will also be able to see it there

I'm the son of P. Robert Berry who served in Company C of the 713 Railway Operating Battalion during World War II.  Robert Berry passed away over 20 years ago.  I was left with a most unusual vest that is made of leather and has a number of detail drawing depicting operation in World War II.  It is signed by Glen Blomberg.  I don’t have any idea of how my dad came to own this vest unless it was given to him by Glen Blomberg himself...

I found the book at mom’s house “The Santa Fe Battalion in World War II” (the book) that I didn’t know it existed. I was amazed by the number of men in the personnel section of the book that I knew. The 713th ROB had a reunion every year from 1946 (I believe) until around 2003 when there was not enough men left to continue on. Since I had attended well over 20 of the reunions myself I knew a lot of the men who attended. Also a lot of the men lived in the area (Kansas City, Missouri) and most were Dad’s old running buddies after the war. Also since my Dad worked for the CB&Q (Burlington) and had railroad pass we visited a lot of the men throughout the United States. So reading the personnel list was like a trip back in time and brought up a lot of memories.The vest that I sent you pictures of, I have some further information on it.

My Dad was attached to a British Rail Division for about three months, my Mom is fairly sure that is where the original vest came from. Now enters Glen E. Blomberg. My Dad worked for the CB&Q railroad from the time he was a Junior in high school. He had to work in Tower 1 on the Kansas City Terminal Railroad for my Grandpa who was having eye problems. Tower 1 was under the CB&Q ownership. If they found out the my grandpa could not see well he would have been fired so Dad dropped out of high school to do his work. As Grandpa got his sight back Dad finished high school, and when he graduated he went to work for the CB&Q as a switchman in Murray Yards in North Kansas City, Missouri. Let me tell you one thing about my Dad, he could remember names and faces like no other person that I have ever known. I don’t think that I ever went with him to a town that he didn’t know someone or someone who knew a person he knew.

 In the book I noticed that Glen E. Blomberg was an employee of the CB&Q railroad in Denver, Colorado. I would be willing to bet that my Dad either knew Blomberg before he was in the service or knew someone who knew Blomberg. At any rate they both worked for the same railroad in the same Company C of 713th and they were only 7 men apart on the roster list. It was not by some fluke my Dad had this vest, Glen E. Blomberg did the art work on this FOR my Dad.Marvin Krinke who took the pictures for the book I knew very well. He has one heck of a nice guy and I can see his face to this day. Marvin Krinke was NOT a railroad man. In fact he worked for Eastman Kodak Company and was attached to the 713th as a photographer for the Battalion. I don’t know what the arrangement were with the Army or if he was even in the Army. I didn’t know until a couple of day ago that he was not personnel in the 713th .

 I do know that he had all the pictures of them being over sea and all the reunion pictures.
I will be donating the vest to US Army Transportation Museum in the near future. I think they will display and value the vest as I think it need to be. Again I feel sad that it will be leaving my family after so many years in our possession, but I think it is for the greater good.
I’m also sending 2 pictures taken by my Dad of Loren W. Richter and a picture of my Dad.

The book Bob is talking about is ...

The Santa Fe Battalion in World War II (713th Railway Operating Battalion). by Loren W. Richter and Louis L. Russell, Glen E. Blomberg, Marvin Krinke .

Publisher Information:
Nelly Printing Co., 1945.


I recievd a nice emai from Neil inviting American Military Rail veterans that worked on these trains during this time period to come to the celebration in 2012.

21 years ago the curtain came down on one of the most difficult and yet smoothly and consistently delivered trains in the history of European railways. The British Military Train was born in the wreckage of defeated and broken Germany, and spent its life on the front line of the Cold War. It was operated in a unique and highly politicised partnership between British Army railway operators and the two state railways of the divided Germany. There had been nothing like it before, and it is unthinkable that we will ever see the like of it again. It ran without fuss, with a very British understatement of the political minefield surrounding it.

On 12 May 2012 we acknowledge and celebrate the calm professionalism of railway people, civilian and military, British and German, who did the job, day in day out, without triggering a Third World War. Steam loco 03 1010 will head a train of 1960s carriages, including a dining car, from Berlin to Hannover and back. Proceeds from the train will go to the Royal British Legion in Berlin, and the military guest of honour will be Major General David Burden CBE, retired Colonel Commandant of the Royal Logistics Corps and a former OC Train of the Berliner. The dining car will serve a typical Royal Corps of Transport menu and wine list. During the journey there will be a break at the old border station at Helmstedt for a visit to the Border Museum. Fares are from £90. There will also be a pre-train party in Berlin on 11 May. For reservations, or to discuss the Berliner train, please email us at militarytrain2012@gmail.com or call Neil Howard on 07982 786529.