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57th Transportation Battalion

The mission of the 57th Transportation Battalion is to, on order deploy to provide command, control, supervision and staff functions to units engaged in transportation functions.

The 57th Transportation Battalion was first constituted on 1 May 1936 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 26th Quartermaster Regiment and activated on 30 March 1942 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 20 June 1942 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 26th Quartermaster Truck Regiment. Stationed at Surunda Bay, Espirito Santos, New Hebrides Islands, the unit consisted of its Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, a medical detachment, and Companies E, F, and G. The Batttalion had approximately 150 2.5 ton 6x6 cargo trucks and 16 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers, and 386 Enlisted Members.

The Battalion was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1943 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 57th Quartermaster Battalion, Mobile. Companies E, F, and G were reorganized and redesignated as 3385th, 3386th, and 3387th Quartermaster Truck Companies respectively, each of which thereafter had a separate lineage.

The Battalion took part in the Luzon Campaign during the Second World War. As of 13 May 1945, at Batangas, Luzon, the Battalion had been augmented with the 460th Quartermaster Truck Company (with the 3357th Quartermaster Driver Detachment attached) and the 3666th Quartermaster Truck Company. This gave the Battalion approximately 175 2.5 ton 6x6 cargo trucks and 26 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers, and 683 Enlisted Members. In the previous 22 months, the total cargo mileage for these units stationed at Espiritu Santo was 4,616,427 miles. The type of hauling was mainly loading and unloading ships to and from supply dumps. A large amount of the supplies belonged to the Navy. A smaller amount was for the Marines and New Zealanders. After the end of the Second World War and a period assisting with the Allied occupation of Japan, the Battalion was inactivated there on 20 February 1946.

While inactivate, the Battalion was converted and redesignated on 1 August 1946 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 57th Transportation Corps Truck Battalion. It was redesignated on 25 April 1966 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 57th Transportation Battalion and activated on 1 June 1966 at Fort Riley, Kansas.

The 57th Transportation Battalion deployed to Vietnam on 1 October 1966. There it was attached to the 500th Transportation Group at Cam Ranh Bay. On 18 October 1966, the 545th Light Truck, 585th Medium Truck and 592nd Light Truck Companies were relieved from the 54th Transportation Battalion at Qui Nhon and attached to 57th Transportation Battalion.

On 20 May 1967, the 585th departed Cam Ranh Bay for a permanent change of station to Qui Nhon. In October 1967, the 57th Light Truck (2.5 Ton) Company was sent north to the Marine base at Chu Lai in the I Corps Tactical Zone. The 57th Transportation Battalion moved north to Dong Ha in early 1968 to assume control of the 57th Light Truck and 585th Medium Truck Companies. The Battalion established its headquarters at Quang Tri.

The 57th Transportation Battalion's mission was to support the 1st Cavalry Division operation to break the siege of Khe Sanh and drive the North Vietnamese Army out of the A Shau Valley, which was successful. The Battalion subsequently moved down to III Corps Tactical Zone in October 1968. On 2 May 1968, the 585th Medium Truck Company was attached to the 39th Transportation Battalion, which had just moved to Da Nang. On 28 November 1968, the 57th Transportation Battalion moved to Chu Lai where it provided transportation, supply and service and direct support maintenance for the Army's largest active duty division, the 23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL). For the next 26 months, the Battalion transported cargo all over I Corps Tactical Zone. Among other things, it operated such diversified functions as a field laundry, a bakery, frozen storage areas, helicopter refueling points, a POL bulk storage farm and a medium boat company.

In 1969 the 57th Transportation Battalion consisted of the following units: Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 63rd Transportation Company (Light Truck), 226th Supply and Service Company, 588th Maintenance Company, 596th Light Maintenance Company, 4th Quartermaster Detachment (Bakery), 200th Supply Detachment (Fortification and Construction), 126th Supply and Service Company of the Illinois National Guard), and the 737th Transportation Company (Medium Petroleum Truck), part of the US Army Reserve from Washington state.

In 1970, the Battalion headquarters moved to Camp Hakins, Da Nang with the mission of port clearance and line haul operations throughout Military Region I. At that time the Battalion consisted of the following units: Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 62nd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), 363rd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), 563rd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), and 572nd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton).

The 363rd Medium Truck "Road Runners" had 3 gun trucks at that time: The Colonel, Pallbearers and Canned Heat. By January 1971, The Colonel, an APC-type gun truck, was damaged by an RPG. The 363rd Medium Truck Company built a new gun truck named The Mercenary. It was a double steel wall box style gun truck on a 5-ton cargo truck.

The 57th Transportation Battalion supported the AMERICAL Division out of Chu Lai with the following units in 1970: 62nd Transportation Company (Light Truck), 363rd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), 563rd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), 572nd Transportation Company (Medium Truck) (12-ton), 226th Supply and Service Company (Class I and III (package and bulk), 544th Transportation Company (Medium Boat), 596th Light Maintenance Company, 533rd Engineer Detachment, 547th Signal Detachment, 661st Ordnance Company (Ammunition), 3/403rd Transportation Company (Terminal Transfer), 3/1st Security Company (Provisional), 57th Signal Detachment, 133rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD), 525th Quartermaster Platoon (POL) (Tank Farm), and Semi-trailer Refrigeration Squad (Provisional).

In the summer of 1971 the Battalion received orders to proceed to Quang Tri in support of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) incursion into Laos during Operation Dewey Canyon II/Lam Son 719. 30 hours later, the Battalion headquarters moved and was operational in its new home at Quang Tri. It commenced cargo and POL operations throughout Northern I Corps from Tan My to Khe Sanh. The enemy increased their ambushes around Hai Van Pass in order to shut down the flow of supplies to this operation.

Also during the summer of 1971, the 523rd Light Truck Company (5-ton) arrived at Phu Bai. It conducted line haul to the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Vandergrift and Khe Sanh as part of Operation Dewey Canyon. Since the ARVN had priority of the roads during the day, the 523rd Light Truck Company drove at night facing numerous ambushes. They brought the gun trucks: Ace of Spades, Uncle Meat, Black Widow, Eve of Destruction, King Kong, and Satan's Lil' Angels. During this time, under extremely adverse road and enemy conditions, the Battalion established itself at Quang Tri Combat Base, and by mid-March 1972 was reaching 90-100,000 ton-miles daily. Over 200 individual awards were recieved by members of the Battalion during Operation Lam Son 719.

The 62nd Medium Truck Company cleared the deep water pier and Bridge LST Ramp at Da Nang. The 363rd and 572nd Medium Truck Companies conducted line haul from Da Nang through Hai Van Pass to Phu Bai and Quang Tri. The 563rd Medium Truck Company provided port clearance at Chu Lai and ran line haul to Da Nang.

In March 1972, the North Vietnamese Army pushed across the Demilitarized Zone, heralding their Easter Offensive. They took Quang Tri. As part of Vietnamization, the US Army Vietnam turned the war over to the ARVN and pulled its forces back essentially abandoning I Corps Tactical Zone. The 57th Battalion departed Vietnam on 29 April 1972 and was inactivated at Travis Air Force Base, California, on 24 October 1972. The unit recieved a Meritorious Unit Commendation and 14 campaign streamers for its time in Vietnam.

The 57th Transportation Battalion was reactivated on 16 October 1999 at Fort Lewis, Washington as part of the 593rd Corps Support Group. In 2008, the 593rd Corps Support Group was reorganized and redesignated as the 593rd Sustainment Brigade.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:30:13 ZULU