US Army Transportation School
The basis of the U.S. Army Transportation School was a letter from the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army to the Commanding General, Services of Supply, on 17 July 1943 outlining the organization of the U.S. Army Transportation Corps which was activated a few days later on 31 July 1943. The school began as Branch No. 4 of the Army Administration Officer Candidate School (OCS) on 22 August 1942 at Mississippi State College in Starkville, Mississippi. It was operated by The Adjutant General and transportation subjects were taught only in the last 4 weeks of the 12 week course. The first class was graduated on 6 january 1943. The curriculum was not sufficient for the needs of the Army or the Transportation Corps and on 10 January 1943, the operation of the school was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Transportation.
The curriculum was revised and 24 April 1943, the name was changed to the Transportation Corps Officer Candidate School. On the night of 29-30 June 1943, the school moved to the Staging Area of the New Orleans Port of Embarkation (POE) and placed under the port commander. The POE provided much better facilities for transportation training. The move itself was accomplished as a movement problem for the students and was accomplished with no break in schedule. Less than a year later, the staging area was needed for troops deploying overseas and the school was moved to the New Orleans Army Air Base on 1 February 1944 and its name was changed to the Transportation Corps School. The move was again made without a break in schedule.
During World War Two there were transportation training centers scattered all over the country, an uneconomic use of resources. In March 1946, the Chief of Transportation ordered the school to move Fort Eustis, Virginia. Classes began on the morning of 20 May 1946 without a break in schedule. The school was renamed the U.S. Army Transportation School, a name it has retained.
Despite the obvious need for trained transporters in modern war, post-World War II cut backs deeply affected the Transportation Corps and some still viewed the Transportation Corps as a temporary organization. On Sunday, 25 June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and 3 days later on 28 June, President Harry Truman signed the law making the Transportation Corps a permanent branch of the Army. It was a recognition of the need for an organization of trained transporters with the proper equipment to deploy the Army anywhere in a strife-torn world. The Transportation School was the key to achieving and maintaining that goal.
During the three years of the Korean War, the Transportation School graduated over 4,000 officer and 11,500 enlisted students. Resident training was only one of the Transportation School's responsibilities. During the war, the school processed nearly 20,000 non-resident courses a month for transporters acquiring new skills and those refreshing their knowledge of old ones. It was quite an accomplishment.
Less than fifteen years later the Transportation School found itself faced with a series of multiple challenges. First it had to train transporters to support soldiers around the world during the cold war. It also had to train transporters to support the U.S. effort in Vietnam. There were also smaller deployments such as the one to the Dominican Republic in 1965. To meet the expanding requirements, the school nearly doubled in size and established a Transportation Officer Candidate School at Fort Eustis. In the peak year of 1966, the school graduated 12,000 students alone.
Along with the need to graduate skilled transporters ranging from truck drivers to qualified graduates of the Transportation Officers Advanced Course (OCS), the Transportation School also had to keep up with new transportation technologies such as containerization, helicopters and Roll-on Roll-off (RO-RO) ships. After the end of the Vietnam War, the army downsized but the Transportation Corps did not stop the search for better equipment and procedures to accomplish its mission and the school was ad the forefront of all the new developments.
The Gulf War arrived with little warning so there was no time to create a new OCS. Instead the Transportation School helped thousands of reserve transporters make the transition from part-time to full time soldiers. It provided deployment training packages and training courses on videotape to the troops in Saudi Arabia. After the Gulf War, the Transportation School established a comprehensive program to record the "lessons learned" from the nation's largest deployment since World War II.
As the Army and the Transportation Corps move into the 21st century, the Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Virginia is responsible for producing the skilled transporters who will deploy U.S. soldiers to all parts of the globe. To do that, the school must keep current with the latest computer and equipment technologies. The courses taught on the eve of the 21st century are very different than those taught in World War Two or even twenty years ago, but one fact remains the same, "Nothing Happens Unless Something Moves."
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Fort Eustis, VA, by relocating the Transportation Center and School to Fort Lee, VA. It would then consolidate the Transportation Center and School and the Ordnance Center and School from Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD with the Quartermaster Center & School, the Army Logistic Management College, and Combined Arms Support Command, to establish a Combat Service Support Center at Fort Lee, VA. This recommendation would consolidate Combat Service Support (CSS) training and doctrine development at a single installation, which would promote training effectiveness and functional efficiencies.
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