1205th Transportation Railway Battalion- Brothers keep trains, wars on track

Brothers keep trains, wars on track
Byline: Martin B. Cassidy Connecticut Post, Bridgeport

Oct. 04--STAMFORD -- Looking back over his 13-month tour helping transport supplies from Kuwait to other soldiers in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, Thomas Finn Jr., of Stamford, said he is wistful thinking of his daughter Angela's prom and other milestones in his children's lives he missed while abroad. "Whether it was my son's first Little League home run or my younger daughter's first soccer goal or my son Kevin's first day of nursery school, I've missed a lot," Finn said. "I've spent the past couple of weeks catching up and just trying to spend time with my children."

A master sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve's 1174th Deployment and Distribution Battalion, Finn returned to Stamford in late August after spending more than a year moving equipment for the U.S. Army from Kuwait into Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Finn and his younger brother Troy Finn, 39, share a great deal of common experience, having both served in the U.S. Army Reserve in Iraq and as train conductors for Metro-North Railroad in their civilian lives. Finn joined the reserves in 1990 and previously served in the U.S. Army Reserve's 1205th Transportation Railway Battalion. Troy Finn, a former U.S. Army reservist who works as a conductor on the New Canaan branch line, served an 11-month tour in Iraq in the U.S. Army Reserve's 325th Transportation Company in 2003.

"It's been great to have Tom back home," said Troy Finn, who now lives in Stratford.
Their father Tom Finn Sr., retired from a 39-year job as a Metro- North Railroad engineer in 2006.
"I did a lot of different things before working for Metro-North, but it's a very good job," Troy Finn said of his job. "I wish sometimes I had joined the railroad sooner." Thomas Finn Jr., who also served a 13-month deployment during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 working in the United States, said he is training to transition from his previous post as a conductor to that of a flagman on the New Haven Line's catenary replacement project or another initiative.

Thomas Finn Jr. has worked for the railroad since 1987; Troy since 2000. When Thomas Finn Jr. joined the military in 1990, the recruitment officer helped get him an assignment with the 1205th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion in the continental United States on the basis of his professional experience. I feel like with both deployments I was able to bring something from my job to the military and after the deployment bring a different experience back to my job," Finn Jr. said.

Tom Finn Sr. said he was initially surprised by his two sons' interest in the military, but was supportive and proud though somewhat concerned about their deployments to Iraq in the past decade. "My thought is that I don't want it to be one time more; it's one time too much," Finn Sr. said about Thomas Finn Jr.'s still active reservist status. "I'm aware in his position he could be remobilized. But he's done his time and served his nation proudly and I'd just as well have somebody else take a turn."

Finn Sr. said he got his son a job as a porter for Metro-North to help pay his way, but said in retrospect that many railroad workers tend to end up in it as a career. "I thought he'd go on with his career but I've found over the years that once you work on the railroad it kind of gets in your blood," Finn Sr. said. "I guess that's what happened with my kids." Since 2001, Metro-North Railroad has had 30 employees who have been activated for military service for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Angela Finn, Tom Finn Jr.'s 19-year-old daughter, said that she already feels like she has made up for some of the lost time with her father, who drove her back to the University of Connecticut at Storrs a few days after returning from the Middle East. "When he first left I didn't realize how long he would be gone," Finn said. "Then I realized, 'wow, my Dad is going to be gone a long time' and missed him a lot."

Finn Jr. said that he would not balk at another deployment if it came, because he believes that people in Iraq and Afghanistan are mainly supportive of American troops and the improvements that the military has been able to make there. "It's still in me to go back," Finn Jr. said. "For me it's more about the entire world, because the people there are no different from us and I felt like I was helping them to have the opportunities that we have."

Staff Writer Martin B. Cassidy can be reached at martin.cassidy@scni.com or 203-964-2264.


Call for saving history ! Please help me save the history of these Military Rail units!!

If you have anything you'd like to share I would appreciate it ..you can
send me copies or scans. If you only have originals you can send those to me and I'll scan them and return them to you

We all have this stuff sitting around in old boxes, photo albums or in files on our computers and we need to get them out where others can see them. So many relatives of these veterans ( kids , grandkids) are so thrilled when they see this materials. It only takes up a few minutes to make sure the incredible service of these guys is remembered

Thanks so much for your help and look what we've alread gotten up. http://militaryrailwayservice.blogspot.com/

Please contact me is you have anything you can share ....
Thanks, Nancy Cunningham cunningb2@gmail.com

744th Goetzelman

George writes ...

Hi - Come across your pages. I served with the 744th ROB in France, Belgium and Germany. I was admitted to hospital in Germany before returning back home.

I would love to have you add my Web Page to your collection. Thank you.

George Goetzelman


717th Railway Operating Battalion Fred Bahre photos and rosters of HQ & Co A

Thanks so much to Fred's daughter Linda.

Linda his daughter writes .....

I know that dad was in Mons, Belgium in 1945. He made very close friends with Dr. and Mrs. Therionet that lived there. They corresponded after dad got home until the Dr. passed away in the early 1960’s. I have nice pictures of Dr. and Mrs. Therionet. While dad was in Belgium, there was a Royal wedding. Dad got me a wedding commemorative ring that he gave me for my 16th birthday. It is a very dainty ring, the top shaped like a crown with diamond chips in it. I will give it to my granddaughter when she turns 16 years.

My dad spoke German and some French. At some time or other he was exposed to German prisoners. He said that he knew the war was over when he saw 14 years old kids in German Uniform.

Also, the winter he was overseas he said he had never been so cold in his whole life.

While I was waiting for your e-mails to send out, I read the history of the 717th. There’s not much mention of Company C. Perhaps he was attached to another battalion for some reason or another. I definitely know that he was in the Ardennes (Alsace), France and Germany.

I don’t know if I’ve contributed very much to the 717th Battalion because the lists that I sent you are questionable. I could not find any of the names on those lists in the Battalion history. I have to commend you for the railway battalions that are listed on the web. They are wonderful. If I find anything else among my father’s things (I still have some boxes of stuff), I will let you know. Good luck and good hunting for info. I admire you for what you are doing.

I have a picture that I think that is from a reunion. It is a group photograph, and may be a combined reunion with other Battalions. A man in the center foreground of the photo is holding a locomotive with the words “Detroit – 744.” It could be the 744 Railway Battalion. My dad is in the photo marked “Detroit 1964.” If you’d be interested in that photo, I will send it to you. There are several women in the photo – probably wives and daughters – or grandchildren.

I have some photos that are labeled Buchenwald (Concentration Camp). They are depressing. I have no idea how they came to be in his possession. I do know that he gave some of his photos away at one of the reunions. So they’re bouncing around out there somewhere. I think his buddies were good at trading photos.

I live in Houston Texas. I came here in 1967 with the Space Program. So if there’s anyone in my direction that might be from the 717th, I’d love to talk to them.My dad was a very special guy. When I was very very little, he told me he’d put the stars in the heavens – just for me. He was a very loving man.

717th Company a Roster by Nancy Cunningham

717th Headquarters Co. Roster by Nancy Cunningham

763rd Railway Shop Battalion Opal L Presley photos

From BPresley ....(thanks !)

I just discovered your web site after a Google search of my dad’s military unit. I have in my possession a copy of the booklet “A History of Two years Activation”. My father was Opal L. Presley and served in this unit. I know precious little about his experience in the war as he died at the age of 49 in 1957 when I was only 7 years old. I only recently discovered this book....Attached are a few pictures my dad took while in Belgium. Unfortunately, I have no narrative of who are where.

763rd Railway Shop Battalion photos

755th RSB Document and Unit Card

755th RSB Unit Card by Nancy Cunningham

755th RSB by Nancy Cunningham

Thanks Tim

Reports of the General Board-123-Military Railway Service US Army, 1945 (ebook)

Description: US Army, 1945.

008193-Reports of the General Board-123-Military Railway Service 37 Pages1945 At the beginning of hostilities in December, 1941, one railway operating battalion was in training. Additional battalions were organized shortly thereafter, consisting of officer personnel drawn from the Reserve Corps, and enlisted personnel, transferred from other units and obtained through the Selective Service system.

It was from the latter that most of the men with civilian rai1way experience were obtained. About 40 per cent of the enlisted personnel of the Military Railway Service had from 6 months to 10 years of civilian railroad experience. Of this number, about 50 percent had over four years experience. On 16 November 1942, shortly after the arrival of the first military railway units in the United Kingdom, all personnel assigned to the Railway Transportation Service of the Corps of Engineers was transferred to the Transportation Corps, Services of Supply, European Theater of Operations. The General Board was established by General Orders 128, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations, United States Army, to prepare a factual analysis of the strategy, tactics, and administration employed by the United States Forces in the European Theater.

712th Transportation Railway Operation Battalion : Harold Cooper


For The Telegraph video too :http://www.thetelegraph.com/articles/cooper-56689-712th-korean.html

Veteran Harold Cooper was a brave lineman who climbed power poles to keep the line of communication open for railroad cars carrying supplies U.S. infantrymen fighting on the battlefields of Korea.

Cooper, of Godfrey, was a soldier in the 712th Transportation Railway Operation Battalion, which gained fame for transporting supplies and ammunition through dangerous territory to the U.S. soldiers who were in fierce battles against North Korean and Chinese communist forces.

Cooper climbed 35-foot wooden power poles in 30-degree-below-zero temperatures to make emergency repairs along 52 miles of territory in the Korean War."The lines froze and broke in the cold temperatures," Cooper recalled. "We climbed high on the poles in the bitter cold air to set up an emergency phone system."

The soldiers of the 712th Transportation Railway Operating Battalion gained a reputation for their courageous action to keep supplies moving to U.S. infantrymen.The Korean War was raging in 1952 when Cooper was drafted in the Army in his hometown of East Alton.

He graduated from East Alton-Wood River High School in the class of 1950 and worked a year at Laclede Steel Co. until he went into the Army.Cooper was sent to special training to learn to climb wooden power poles as a lineman to keep lines of communication open to the fighting front.
He learned to dig the steel spikes on the side of his boots into the wood pole and climb 35 feet in the air.

Dozens of soldiers underwent intense training to learn the skill of standing near the top of a pole in the dangerous job of keeping lines of communication open for U.S. forces fighting to defeat communist troops in Korea.

Cooper was assigned to the elite 712th Transportation Railway Operation Battalion, which first went to battle in the early 1940s in World War II.
In the Korean War, the 712th was activated on Sept. 3, 1950 at Ft. Eustis, Va., with officers and enlisted men who had experience in railroad operation.

The 712th operated the Korean National Railroad in the early months of the war from Taejon north to the frontlines of the battlefield.Cooper climbed poles to set up emergency phone communication systems on the site of four major wrecks of railroad trains.

In one Collision, rocks slid down a hillside in the night and slammed into a train, killing the engineer.Armed with a pistol in his shoulder holster, Cooper dug his steel spikes in the wooden pole and climbed to install phones to open the line of communication at the scene of the train wreck cause by the rock slide.

Cooper's 712th Railway Transportation Battalion was awarded the U.S. Meritorious Unit Commendation medal for courageous action in transporting troops to the battlefields.In one dangerous mission, men of the 712th transported U.S. infantrymen, tanks and artillery guns of an entire army division through the night across Korea to another fighting front.

Cooper and his crew did maintenance work on 52 miles of power lines through deep valleys and up mountains in the hot, steamy summer and 30 degree below zero winters.After 17 months in Korea, Cooper came home in 1953 with Army service medals, including the Korean United Nations ribbon with three bronze battle stars.

He returned to work at Laclede Steel Co. where he operated a press in the wire mill, retiring after 42 years.Cooper and his wife, Juanita, married in 2003.He was married 51 years to Shirley Cooper, who died in 2001. They have two daughters, Debbie and Starla, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Cooper is a life member of Alton VFW Post 1308.

Read more: http://www.thetelegraph.com/articles/cooper-56689-712th-korean.html#ixzz1bLTnDPVl

745th Railway Operating Battalion: Company C [Photo]

US Army locomotive #1781 [Bas Relief]

764th RailwayShop Battalion Obits : Lester, Delvecchio & Wieczork

Cook, Lester A, b. 04/24/1908, T/4 CO C 764TH RAILWAY SHOP BN TC, Plot: D 586, bur. 09/27/1961

Camp Butler National Cemetery
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois

Albert A. Delvecchio, son of Mrs. Mary C. Delvecchio of LeRoy, N. Y., and the late Dominic Delvecchio, was born November 2, 1913, in LeRoy. He attended LeRoy Grammar School and High School. He was employed at Hirschman Ventilating Company plant. On January 10, 1942 he married Carmela LaRussa of Batavia.
He was inducted August 5, 1943. Serial No. 42 020 026. He left with the 39th contingent for Camp Upton, L. I. Then to Camp Harahan, La., and to a railroad battalion in Bucyrus, Ohio.
Albert went overseas July, 1944, three months in Southport, England and then to France. Sgt. Tech. Delvecchio served in General George Patton’s Army for eight months in Co. B, 764th Railway Shop Battalion. He died of bronchial pneumonia June 15, 1945. General George Marshall sent a letter of condolence and the Army Chaplain, Dennis McCarthy, wrote assuring his widow of his every care.
Sgt. Delvecchio received the Good Conduct ribbon and the European Theater ribbon with Bronze battle star. His body was brought to LeRoy to be buried in St. Francis Cemetery in the family plot. Besides his wife and mother, he was survived by five sisters and three brothers serving in World War II.

WIECZOREK, Steve J. 8-18-1911 - 10-14-1958
Nebraska PFC
Co C 764th Ry Shop Bn

740th Railway Operating Battalion Headquarters Company : May 1944

Fort Benning 1941 Railroad photo

U.S. Army Advertisements [various]

716th, 757th & 728th : 10 Soldiers sentence blackmarket

Black Market Robs

3rd TMRS KComz readies for release of POWs

3rd KComz

752nd Railway Operating Battalion: History of Company C

U.S. Army Railcars and Caboose [various]

U.S. Army Locomotives [various]

745th Railway Operating Battalion: Gerald Brady, a son remembers and shares

Grom Michael about his Dad, Gerald Brady

My father Gerald J Brady served in the 745th RR group as an engineer. In the group photo he is the 5th person from the left in the front row. I have been looking for the history timeline of the 745th during their tour of duty during WWII. I have included a couple of photo’s that he had while serving. My understanding is that his unit was in India during the time of these photo’s, according to my Aunt. My father died in 1955 when I was 5/old and left very little information about his service. Thanks again.

Michael Brady

Trains Magazine 714th

Trains Magazine 714th

757th excercise

757th excercise

757th Railway Operating Battalion Denazification hit by U.S. Officers NYTimes


Diven 757th Obit

757th diven obit

743RD Railway Operations Battalion Co C Roster

743RD Railway Operations Battalion Co C Roster

Drama found in 3rd TMRS jobs --Stars and Stripes

3rd Drama

729th Railway Operating Battalion

707th Railway Grand Division or 727th Railway Operating Battalion Application

U.S. Army Locomotive #1702

U.S. Army Trains Philippines 1900

714th Railway Operating Battalion Christmas Card

US Army Railway Advert WWII

U.S. Army Locomotive #2296

754th Transport

757th Railway Operating Battalion

Camp Claiborne - A Camera Trip Through Camp Claiborne

History of Camp Claiborne ....... Camp Claiborne, one of four large army camps in the central Louisiana area and located about 18 miles from Alexandria, was opened for use about January 15, 1941, construction having been begun the preceding fall. The camp was named for an illustrious early governor of Louisiana and disciple of Thomas Jefferson, William Charles Cole Claiborne. The 1,245.71 acres on which the camp is situated is leased by the War Department, the government holding an option to renew the lease each year until June 30, 1966.

Constructed initially as a tent camp to provide quarters for approximately 30,000 officers and enlisted men, the camp was enlarged in the early spring of 1942 when what was originally known as "West Claiborne Annex," was constructed and made a portion of the main camp. During 1942 tents were replaced by "hutments." These structures are of two sizes, those for enlisted personnel housing 15 men, while smaller ones accommodate two officers. Since the occupancy of the camp much has been accomplished in the manner of drainage, landscaping and paving of streets. This has much enhanced the beauty-as well as the comfort of Claiborne. Camp Claiborne has its own post office, bank, numerous post exchanges, a chapel for practically every unit the size of a regiment, six well equipped theatres, three guest houses, five service clubs, a large sports arena and commodious bus station, while each company has its own day room.

The facilities comprise water works, natural gas, electricity and sewerage. The climate is admirably suited for year-around training as winters are mild and summers not excessively hot. Located near the historic Evangeline country, it is visited by many tourists throughout the year. The first camp commander was Major General Ellard A. Walsh (who also commanded the 34th infantry division), followed by Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Craig, Lieutenant Colonel A. V. Ednie, Colonel H. McE. Pendleton and Colonel London J. Lockett, who is the present commander.

724th Railway Battalion Plaque

Railroad patch question ....

I received this email from James and he would like any info...

I served in Iraq in 2003 and this was a unit patch we had and were told it dated to a rail transport unit of WW2 African Theater, would you be able to ID it for me?

James Airey SSG ret

email him at James Airey [jamesairey (at ) mac.com]