Abbot engineer. (Camp Abbot, Or.) 1943-1944, May 27, 1944, Page Page Five, Image 5

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    Camp Abbot, Ore., May 27, 1944
Page Five
Let us Try!” Battle Slogan Qets Qood
Workout in Battalion Bivouac Phase
51st Lives Up
To CE Standard
Company B constructed a road
twenty feet wide that the for-
mulators of the problem had ex­
pected to require the efforts of
four or five battalions. It stands
a monument to the pride, skill,
and braw-n of the 51st Battalion,
with a simple timber marker
naming it, “51st Battalion Turn­
This a cco m p lis h m en t was
crowned with the good news
that the major part of the air­
borne troops that had landed at
the Bessie butte air strip had
been routed by the 91st Division
of the IV Corps. The encourag­
ing effect of this announcement,
however, was followed on Tues­
day by the information that the
enemy was planning to attempt
reinforcement of its airborne
troops operating on the east
bank of the Deschutes; that the
51st was to be pressed into com­
bat service. The order directed
the battalion to proceed to Bes­
sie butte airport and secure it
against enemy use, meanwhile
building gun emplacements, air
raid shelters, a m m u n i t i o n
dumps and other allied construc­
tion, as well as repair the bridge
on the main supply route.
Accomplishing the difficult
maneuver of assembling his two
companies from the Bend mu­
nicipal airport and the bivouac
area on the river. Captain Elliot
led his troops into bivouac near
Bessie butte. They met the en­
emy in combat Wednesday and
Thursday and successfully de­
fended Bessie butte airport.
At about six o’clock Thursday
evening, word arrived from the
Commanding General of the IV
Corps that his men had been
successful in holding the enemy
around Bachelor butte, and that
the 51st could abandon its de­
fensive positioin and move back
and take up the mine fields and
barbed wire placed the previous
week. Using a map to locate
mines, the battalion completely
removed the obstacles on both
sides of the river during Friday
and Saturday, at the same time
dismantling bridges previously
built and salvaging all usable
Sunday again was spent in
camp, with Chaplain William H.
Andrew conducting the evening
(Continued on Page 12)
The 51st Battalion, under com
mand of Capt. Deon O. Elliot
and company officers, moved
into camp Wednesday morning
after having spent seventeen
consecutive days in the field.
This was the first bivouac per­
iod in the year that Camp Abbot
has been training engineers in
which a unit has remained away
from camp for more than a
week, and evidences of the pro­
longed life in the open, with
sleeping bags in fox holes for
beds, and three meals a day out
of doors, were in their faces.
The men looked rugged. They
looked as though they had ac­
quired an idea of what war is.
In their eyes was that challeng­
ing look men get when they
have proved to themselves they
can take it.
The 51st had taken plenty in
those seventeen days—not as
Photo by Signal Corps Photo Lab.
hardship is reckoned in a combat First regular Sunday evening religious service for a bivouacking battalion from Camp Abbot, con­
ducted for the 51st by Chaplain Lawrence A. Leonard on May 14.
zone, but plenty for men who
only seventen weeks
had been living in comfortable mountain to Davis Lake, passing ting four spans from dimension lain Lawrence A. Lea nord con­
along Bachelor Butte and the timber, the battalion was pound­ ducted the service in anatural
horns and catching buses to go
Sheridan Mountains.
to work.
ing the last nails into the dimen­ amphitheater on the side of a
It was understood that the sion timber section when the hill. The congregation came in
On May 8, after fourteen
weeks o f basic and engineer town of Bend already had been convoy rolled across at nine sat with bared heads. Many re­
training, they had marched out bombed and all bridges destroy­ o’clock. A second similar bridge parkas, for it was raining, but
of camp under full ¡racks, with ed, and that it would be neces­ and two foot bridges of expedi- mained after the service for
a “ problem” to solve that would sary to build bridges across the ient natural timber also had communion.
take them on a series o f march­ Deschutes river to relieve the been constructed.
The grimmer aspects of war
es nearly the entire distance to traffic on Camp Abbot bridges,
Almost before the last truck were resumed Monday morning
Bend and back and require them which were proving inadequate of the convo y had left the when the battalion received or­
to build bridges before they for the heavy movement of sup­ bridge, the 51st received orders ders to improve rear installa­
plies toward the line of resis-
could cross the Deschutes.
to proceed to a point further tions, roads, and the municipal
The problem had been outlined tence. The 51st battalion had the north and help prepare a defen­ airport in Bend for use by the
by Maj. D. H. Griswold and
sive position with barbed wire IV Corps. Under command of
Capt. S. M. Johnson under the main defense force designated, and mine fields. Stowing tools Lieutenant Orvedall, Company A
supervision of Maj. LeCompte for convenience, the “IV Corps." and supplies in trucks, the moved out and proceeded to the
Joslin, director of the Training Theoretically, all units of Camp troops began a foot march north­ municipal airport. Company B,
Abbot had been alerted in order
ward, some of it cross-country under Lieutenant Nonemaker,
In the nature of sealed orders, to throw in additional troops if- through the woods, generally started construction of a road
the problem was revealed to the necessary.
following the course of the Des­ one and two-tenths miles in
men a day at a time. They moved
At noon Tuesday, the second chutes. Accomplishing this dif­ length which was to establish
out of camp with the mission of day out, the 51st received the or­ ficult march, the battalion biv­ itself as a feat even for men of
repelling a hypothetical enemy der to rush construction of a ouacked about dawn near the the Corps of Engineers, who, un­
that shortly before had effect­ bridge over which a convoy stretch of river bank to be for­ der the battle cry of “ Let Us
ed surprise landings at Seaside would have to pass that night at tified. It was then revealed that T ry !” work miracles with bull­
and Reedsport, Oregon, had nine o’clock. At the point the the heavy movement of troops dozers and shovels. Utilizing
pushed on eastward to occupy bridge was to be built, the river over the bridges constructed more than a thousand pounds
Portland, Salem, and Eugene, is approximately 200 feet wide. the evening before had delayed of explosives and felling trees
Oregon, and then had moved Using seven spans of expedient supplies and that breakfast over a hundred feet tall and sev
eral feet in diameter at the base,
even further eastward to a line bridging and six spans of steel would consist of K rations.
extending from Three Sisters tressel equipment, and construc-
On Thursday of the first week,
just as laying of the mine field
on the west bank of the river
was completed, word arrived
that the enemy had landed par­
atroopers ten miles eastward on
the Bessie butte flight strip, and
that completion of the defensive
position would have to be rush­
ed. In order to erect the barbed
wire obstacles on the east bank,
where the enemy might try to
effect a landing of their assault
boats, it was necessary to con­
struct a ponton bridge for move­
ment of the battalion across the
river. By Friday morning the
bridge had been crossed, and the
stringing of barbed wire begun.
By Saturday evening nine hun­
dred yards of wire obstacles had
been installed and gaping crat­
ers had been carved out of the
nearby Bessie butte air strip to
prevent landing of enemy air­
Sunday provided the occasion
for an inspection of troops and
equipment by Captain Elliot and
his staff.
Sunday also witnessed the
first regular church service for
bivouac troops from Camp Ab­
bot. Transporting a field organ,
Memhers of 51st battalion constructing dimension timber section of
Cot than. ». liaish, commander of l llh Group, inspecting IJu trr
three-sect km bridge at about seven o'clock Tuesday evening. May 9. and other ecclesiastical equip hag in field, as mendier of .»Ist battalion draws first canteen of
ment to the bivouac area, Chap­ water.
At nine o'clock the bridge had been completed.
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