4th Engineer Special Brigade
HENRY HUTCHINGS JR.Brigadier General, U. S. A.
Feb. 1943 - The US ARMY, Chiefs of Staff, Appointed General Hutchings totake command of the 4th Engineer Special Brigade.
The 4th ESB Chronology of Events
The 4th ESB was comprised of the following units:Brigade Headquarters
534th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment
544th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment
594th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment
564th Engineer Boat Maintenance Battalion
264th Medical Battalion
164th Ordnance Maintenance Company
199th Quartermaster Gasoline Supply Company
289th Signal Company
694th Truck Company
3492nd Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company
4th Engineer Amphibian Brigade Band (434th Army Services Band)
This is a tribute to RAY KIRKHOFF who was in Regimental Headquarters Company and hosted the 544th EB & SR
Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion
A summer morning in July 1943 I boardered a train marked NEW YORK NEW HAVEN & HARTFORD RR. After two days of induction into the US ARMY at Camp Upton, Long Island, NY. We were off to parts unknown. As I looked out my train window I saw familiar places that I was leaving behind, my home, my family and friends. Crossing over, the Hell Gate Bridge, we headed north. The entire troop train buzzed about where we were being taken to. After some hours we arrived at a place called, Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. We were quickly rounded up and sent to a theater where an Army officer did the welcoming. Welcome to Camp Edwards you are now in the 4th ENGINEERING SPECIAL BRIGADE. This is a highly specialized outfit and you have been selected for that reason. The chiefs of staff have designated that the, US Army Engineers will be the responsible agency to operate landing craft to deliver our troops to enemy shores. By August we had completed our basic training and quickly assigned to our permanent companies on Cape Code. C. Martin, R. Cheung, J. Cianciulli, P. Finkeletein, S. Rowitt, J. Freeburg, G. Roweare now members of the
Cape Cod 1943
The summer of 1943 the company was well organized and moved the operation to Washburn Island (Camp Washburn). Major Gibbons was the Commanding Officer and 1st Sergent Wilkins was charged with HQ CO. The company has a roster of 130 men, divided into marine operations, communications, clerks, cooks, mess hall, ordinance, etc. Most of the boats used for training were Navy surplus and in rough shape. Many civilian craft were on loan to the government for the war effort. By September the weather at the Cape began to change and made training and living in tents difficult. By September 14, 1943 the entire Regiment was moved to Camp Gordon Johnson, Florida.
Camp Gordon Johnson
As we boarded the troop train at the Cape the guessing game began. "Where are we going?" Once we passed through Maryland it was obvious we were heading south. We landed at a place known as Camp Gordon Johnson, Florida. The camp was located on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico in the North East corner known as the Pan Handle. The camp opened in 1941 and served as an amphibious training base housing around 10,000 troops. Dog Island, 3 miles off shore, was used for amphibious landings. Carrabelle, was the closed town, with a population of 1000. Our barracks were long narrow structures held above the ground about 3 feet and housed about 60 men. Being in HQ. CO.had its advantages like no guard duty which was done by line companies. KP wasn't too bad. We only had a 130 men in the company. Sergent Lasseter and Sergent Day, who headed up the Communications group, had us train on various types of communications equipment. Class rooms were started teaching Morse Code and radio procedures. Sergent Bank, Peace and Kauffman trained their men boat handling. Training was not limited but extended to combat warfare, rifle and machine gun training, forced marches, etc. The Boat companies (A-B-C) were now trained the LCM's, the same craft that would be used for combat landings. The 4th Infantry Division began amphibious operations with Regiment. Both the Infantry and the personnel of the Regiment gained valuable experience.