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.


Kathryn Struck said...

My dad, who just recently passed away, was a member of 713rd Railroad Battalion and was in all locations that you mention on this site. He kept some diaries that I have found since he passed. I think this group of men could use a book about them. As a former publisher and current writer, I would be interested in forming a collaboration with adult children of the men who served in the 713th Railroad Battalion. I have the book that you show on your site. Dad went to every reunion that he could, and lived in Hampton, Iowa. HIs name was Alvin Harrenstein. He was the 'host' of one reunion, held in the 60's in Mason City, Iowa. I went to some of the reunions with my folks over the years. I know that the reunions have ceased to be, (what a shame), but would love to talk to the men about their stories and experiences during the war. Or the adult children! My dad wrote down many of his memories and told me other memories that he did not write down. I hope you answer my message. I am looking for living members of the 713th Battalion. This is a story which is yet untold.

Regards, Kathryn Struck
Daughter of Alvin Harrenstein
my email: kdstruck@mchsi.com

Phoebe said...

My grandfather was a member of the 713 - he always referred to it as the Santa Fe Battalion. I don't know if he ever went to any reunions, I never heard any stories about that. But he would tell tales about his time there - funny ones to entertain us kids. He was a bit of a rule bender, my grandpa :) Edward Rizzuto was his name. If you'd like to get in contact, my email is catherdingblog @ hotmail.com (no spaces)

Unknown said...

I see it has been a while since a post was left. My father, Frank Coffey passed away in April of this year at age 93. I am finally getting around to reading some of his memoirs. I know he kept in touch over the years but that faded as his lost friends in later years.I'll see if I can post some of his pictures for historical sake for anyone who happens along. - Frank Coffey III (ftcoffey@gmail.com)