Letter spurs Army memories

  • Follow Letters

I was delighted to read the Feb. 25 letter praising the U.S. Army Transportation Corps’ “Red Ball” operations in World War II (“Remember Red Ball Express”). These troops truly were unsung heroes.

I had the good fortune of being the commanding officer of the 76th Transportation Company, a heavy truck operation stationed in Orléans, France, during the Cold War. The 76th was a highly decorated, old Red Ball outfit that had run fuel, ammo and other supplies from the coast inland to supply our fast-moving combat troops at the front. It operated until the late 1950s.

Although they were not in danger of buzz bombs, as your writer stated (the Londoners got those!), they did haul ordnance through France and into Germany under constant attacks by Nazi ground and air forces. Their primary armaments were .30-caliber carbines, .45-caliber “grease guns” and one .50-caliber machine gun mounted on every third or fourth vehicle. Pretty puny protection!

You point out that the manpower were primarily black soldiers. In the ’50s my outfit was about 50 percent black, 25 percent Hispanic and the rest were various backgrounds. When I first met and introduced myself to them, assembled, and announced I was from Augusta, Ga., there was an audible groan!

We developed a very strong relationship in a very short time, however, and ended up leading the NATO parades in our area. Good, honest performance was rewarded and failure punished. I never had a racial incident or heard a slur in my time served with these guys!

Would that our city government could function in this manner the way our mixed bag did back in the ’50s.

George Sheftall


Comments (3) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Young Fred
Young Fred 03/10/13 - 06:35 am
I salute your sacrafice for

I salute your sacrafice for our country! Enjoyed the history lesson.

"Good, honest performance was rewarded and failure punished. I never had a racial incident or heard a slur in my time served with these guys!"

Can you imagine how far this country would advance if that was still the most important?

Riverman1 03/10/13 - 06:38 am
Great letter, Mr. Sheftall!!!

Great letter, Mr. Sheftall!!!

deestafford 03/10/13 - 08:02 am
The vast majority of the time it is the front line

combat units that get the recognition and "glory," but without the support from the logistical tail we Infantrymen would never survive. We could not have fought without them delivering the ammo, food, clothing, and other essentials to us at the front. There are so many unsung heroes that bring about a victory and the troops that drive the trucks are at the top of that list.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs