The retracing of the 1919 military convoy route made headlines at it crossed the U.S. the past month. Eisenhower. The expedition consisted of 81 motorized Army vehicles that crossed the United States from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, a venture covering a distance of 3,251 miles in 62 days. “In 1919 the US Army decided to plan and execute a motor convoy of various military vehicles across the country on the newly formed Lincoln Highway,” the MVPA says. The Ordinance detachment brought up the rear, repairing or towing disabled vehicles as necessary. [5]:5 Eisenhower later said he joined the convoy partly for a lark, and partly to learn. Both Eisenhower and Jackson reported that organization and discipline improved over the course of the expedition. The objectives were: Lt. The Denison Review, 2 July 1919, p. 1. One pedestrian was struck, non-fatally, in Valparaiso, Indiana. 18th). After a few weeks on the road the most skilled and responsible men were assigned as drivers or co-drivers of specific vehicles with full responsibility for their operations and maintenance and a preventative maintenance routine of evening servicing and morning inspections was instituted to reduce preventable breakdowns. Despite pressures from Des Moines, and furor over the paving question, McClure stayed on course and quieted the controversy over the location of the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. [5]:4 An extra travel day on "mining roads"[25] was used between Ely and Austin, Nevada; where the convoy arrived on the 27th (v. 20th), 348 mi (560 km) short of the scheduled point for the 27th (Sacramento). In the summer of 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy. The military officers carried orders not to deviate from the route Ostermann had established prior to the summer of 1919. Army recruiters were actively trying to attract enlistments into the Quartermaster's Corps along the route of the 1919 Motor Transport Corps Transcontinental Convoy. Bernard H. McMahon were the respective expedition and train commanders[2] and civilian Henry C. Ostermann of the Lincoln Highway Association was the pilot[3] (guide). 3 ton Class B Standardized Military "Liberty" trucks, "Principal Facts Concerning the First Transcontinental Army Motor Transport Expedition", https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TdslAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZvwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6343,3546033&dq=1919+convoy+gettysburg&hl=en, (also published in Mechanical Eng., vol. [EL MP16 235], 200 SE 4th Street He noted that the convoy commander was not given time to train his men and recommended that "...the M.T.C. The 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy was a "Truck Train" of the US Army Motor Transport Corps that drove over 3,000 mi (4,800 km) from Washington, D.C. (departing July 7 and arriving September 6), to Oakland, California, and ferried to San Francisco. In the summer of 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy. Inexperience caused a great deal of unnecessary delays and breakdowns in the early going. In addition to transporting New York's Medal of Joan of Arc[27] for San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts,[28] the convoy had four objectives; and Ordnance Department[5] and Tank Corps observers[1] completed their reports in October. Carson, Chief of Policy [sic] Peter Kline, Fire Chief I.A. Two junior officers scouted ahead of the main body on motorcycles, signaling the route to the rest of the convoy using a simple but effective system of blue paper triangles tacked to trees and fences. Most of the failures that were not caused by operator error (primarily poor lubrication and over-revving on downgrades) were due to the effects of the constant dust, vibration and pounding on the carburetors, ignition systems, bushings, fasteners and bearings. It left Washington D.C. on July 7 and arrived in San Francisco on Sept. 6, 1919. One of … The convoy was proceeded by a publicity officer travelling one day ahead by automobile to prepare for the arrival of the main body. Colonel Eisenhower went on note that the variety of vehicles made it difficult to keep the convoy together and none of the vehicles had been properly tested or adjusted before starting out, which along with the raw nature of the troops caused a lot of unnecessary stops and breakdowns. The expedition consisted of 81 motorized Army vehicles that crossed the United States from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, a venture covering a distance of 3,251 miles in 62 days. The convoy travelled up to 32 mph (51 km/h),[11] and the schedule was for 18 mph (29 km/h)[21]:111 to average 15 mph (24 km/h). In 1919, driving cross-country was a crazy idea - but an Army convoy set out to show it could be done Written By: Washington Post | Jul 7th 2019 - 7pm. Lt. Jackson also noted "The maintenance work was considerably hampered by the necessity of carrying spare parts for so many different makes of trucks" and "better tools should be furnished to the mechanics". [18] Six vehicles were chosen to evaluate Dixon's Graphite Grease to see if it provided worthwhile benefits. The engineers were responsible for inspecting each bridge as the convoy came to it. Marilyn Boots reported on her travels with Dennis… The Engineer detachment led the main body with the 5-1/2 ton Mack that carried the Artillery detachment’s Maxwell crawler tractor. Lt. Col. Charles W. McClure and Capt. September 6, 1919 The U.S. Army’s Cross-Country Motor Transport Train arrived in San Francisco, completing a transcontinental trip of 3,251 miles (5,232 kilometers) that began on July 7 in Washington, D.C. On the evening of September 6, convoy commander Lieutenant Charles W. McClure formally confirmed the end of this historic journey in a telegram that… The convoy remained 7 days behind schedule through Oakland, California, where it arrived 5 September at 4 pm (v. the 29th). Jackson (Ordnance Observer) to Col. L.B. of prominent citizens, 3 Fire Companies and two bands, furnished by the Chamber of Commerce and the Goodrich Company." The Tank Corps Observer noted that "the light truck is so far superior to the heavy [which] should be confined to ... hard surfaced roads; and ... short hauls. [11] In addition to 230 road incidents[12] (stops for adjustments, extrications, breakdowns, & accidents) resulting in 9 vehicles retiring,[2] the convoy of "24 expeditionary officers, 15 War Department staff observation officers, and 258 enlisted men" had 21 injured en route who did not complete the trip. The convoy's daily stopping points will be many of the same locations as the 1919 81-vehicle convoy, which averaged 6 mph and 59 miles a day. [5]:2 To the next control point, the convoy travelled 166 miles (267 km) instead of the planned 88 and used extra camps at Echo, Utah (17/18), and Ogden, Utah (18/19); arriving at Salt Lake City on the 19th (vice the 14th). These early experiences influenced his later decisions concerning the building of the interstate highway system during his presidential administration. The 1919 convoy by the Army's young Motor Transport Corps took 62 days, from July 7 to September 6. 145–150 and 205, 16 figs. 1919 U.S. Army Convoy. ), "Newspaper Clippings re the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy", https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=UdslAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZvwFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5272,3768233&dq=gettysburg+1919+convoy&hl=en, "Ike's Interstates at 50: Anniversary of the Highway System Recalls Eisenhower's Role as Catalyst", "The Mystery of the Maxwell Crawler Tractor", "HD Stock Video Footage - Soldiers with the 1919 U.S. Army Motor Transport convoy use Holt tractor to assist trucks mired down in Nebraska", "HD Stock Video Footage - Trucks of the 1919 U.S. Army Motor Transport convoy encounter difficulties negotiating dirt roads in Nebraska", https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=XEkzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=te4HAAAAIBAJ&pg=4806,5289486&dq=1919+convoy+nevada&hl=en, "Dusty Doughboys on the Lincoln Highway: The 1919 Army Convoy in Iowa", "Army Motor Transport to Cross the Continent", "HD Stock Video Footage - U.S. Army motor transport convoy in Oakland and San Francisco after their trip across America in 1919", http://www.lincoln-highway-museum.org/NPS/03-NPS-100-75.jpg, Online documents available from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1919_Motor_Transport_Corps_convoy&oldid=985733701, 20th-century history of the United States Army, Articles needing more detailed references, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2011, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Encourage "construction of through-route and transcontinental highways". When the generals and politicians fin- ished talking at Zero Milestone near the White House on July 7, 1919… In addition to transporting New York's Medal of Joan of Arc for San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, the convoy had four objectives; and Ordnance Department and Tank Corps observers completed their reports in October. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s 100th anniversary recreation of the 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy will pass through Fremont Tuesday morning. “In general, the route began at the Ellipse, in Washington, DC and ended at Lincoln Park, in San Francisco, CA – some 3,250 miles and 62 days later.” F. Kelley, Reception Comm. The 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy was a long distance convoy (described as a Motor Truck Trip with a "Truck Train"[1]) carried out by the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps that drove over 3,000 mi (4,800 km) on the historic Lincoln Highway from Washington, D.C., to Oakland, California and then by ferry over to end in San Francisco. This is the association’s fifth convoy and the second one to retrace the 1919 military convoy route. The route the convoy would take was mostly along the Lincoln Highway, the first major transcontinental motor route. [5] There were "2 spare parts stores, 2 water tanks, 1 gasoline tank, 1 searchlight[17] with electrical power plant truck, 4 kitchen trailers, 8 touring cars, 1 reconnaissance car, 2 staff observation cars, 5 sidecar motorcycles, and 4 solo motorcycles";[2] as well as five GMC ambulances with two ambulance trailers, and a Loder 4-ton pontoon trailer (left in Omaha). On Aug. 8, 1919, young Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in Cheyenne with a long line of military cars, trucks and motorcycles. These early experiences influenced his later decisions concerning the building of the interstate highway system during his presidential administration. [5][14] The 81 total vehicles and trailers included "34 heavy cargo trucks, 4 light delivery trucks", 2 mobile machine shops, 1 blacksmith shop, and 1 wrecking truck,[15] actually a Millitor "Artillery Wheeled Tractor"[16] that once towed 9 trucks at once and was equipped with a power winch. Of the transport trucks, the FWD proved the most satisfactory and the Garford the least, the former due to its mechanical reliability and all wheel drive and the latter due to a fragile cooling system, though the Standard B "Liberty" trucks were actually the most towed trucks in the convoy. Photo Credit: Eisenhower Presidential Library The 1919 U.S. Army Convoy In 1919, the U.S. Army Convoy of 72 vehicles and 297 men traveled across the United States to test roads and military mobility. “Billion Urged For National Road System.” Oakland Tribune, 7 September 1919, p. 4. Members of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association will drive vintage and modern trucks following the route of the old Lincoln Highway, now U.S. 30, to mark the pioneering trek’s 90th anniversary. The 1919 convoy included 81 vehicles, 37 officers and 258 enlisted men. The objectives were: [5]:11 The 5th Engineers' Company E[5]:7 of 2 officers and 20 men headed the main body with the artillery's 5​1⁄2 ton Mack truck carrying a 5-ton Maxwell tractor (22,450 lbs total) in the lead followed by the machine shop and blacksmith shop trucks, and the Quartermaster Corps' Service Park Unit 595 of 1 officer and 43 men brought up the rear ("often separated from the main body" while servicing disabled vehicles). [8] The Publicity Officer (Lt William B Doron)[9] rode with Ostermann 2–10 days ahead of the main body,[10] while the Recruiting Officer (Capt Murphy) was 1–2 days ahead, and the Cook and Mess units were several hours ahead,[11] Two motorcycles scouted about ​1⁄2 hour ahead to report conditions and place markers. 42, no. Sentinels were posted that night, but when Ike and friend exchanged warrior yelps outside the perimeter a young officer on guard discharged his weapon. The convoy traveled from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco in 62 days. [24], Convoy delays required extra encampments at Sewickley, Pennsylvania ( 11/12 July); Gothenburg, Nebraska ( 2/3 August); and Ogallala, Nebraska (5/6); which delayed arrival at Evanston, Wyoming, to 16 August instead of the scheduled 13 August. [4] Official observers included those from the Air Service, A.S.A.P.,[specify] Coast and Field Artillery, Medical Corps, Ordnance, Signal Corps and Tank Corps including the then Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. The other motorcycles were used to carry messages up and down the length of the convoy. In the summer of 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy. For example, the log entry for 18 July reads (in part) "At 8:00 A. M. halted by request in Churubusco, Ind for 10 min., while refreshments were served by local Red Cross Canteen Service. In western Wyoming Eisenhower and a companion convinced the convoy that an Indian attack was imminent. INDUSTRY -- In 1919, the U.S. Army drove a convoy of motorized vehicles across the country for the first time, traveling mainly along the fledgling Lincoln Highway from Washington, D.C., to … The officers and men of the Engineer, Medical and Ordinance (maintenance) detachments were described as more experienced and better trained. “Army Truck is Try-Out For Equipment.” The South Bend News Times, 20 July 1919, p. 10. [2] Although some "were really competent drivers" by the end, the majority of soldiers were "raw recruits with little or no military training"; and except for the Motor Supply Company E commander (1st Lt Daniel H. Martin), troop officers had "meager knowledge" of "handling men in the field". The four "light delivery trucks" were 3/4 ton Dodges and the remainder were 3 ton Class B Standardized Military "Liberty" trucks. Lt. Jackson reported that the assignment of a dedicated mess officer in Nebraska greatly improved the food for the second half of the journey. The tour commemorated the 90th anniversary of the first transcontinental U.S. Army motor transport convoy, most of it along the Lincoln Highway. Eisenhower reported that the experience gained on the relatively good roads in the earlier, easier part of the trip proved invaluable in the heavier going further west. [22] The actual average for the 3,250 mi (5,230 km) covered in 573.5 hours[23] was 5.65 mph (9.09 km/h) over the 56 travel days for an average of 10.24 hours per travel day. [DDE's Records as President, President's Personal File, Box 967, 1075 Greany Maj. William C.; NAID #12005074], Report, from 1st Lt. E.R. Moody (Ordnance Department, USA, Tank, Tractor & Trailer Division), "Report on First Transcontinental Motor Convoy," October 31, 1919. Finally, the Maxwell and Militor tractors were praised for their overall reliability and mechanical superiority, as the trip could not have been completed without them. "Ike's Road Trip" by Kevin L. Cook, The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Spring 2001, pp 68-7. Dealers en route supplied gasoline and tires to the convoy and the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company provided 2 trucks (Packard & White, each 2-ton) fitted with "giant cord pneumatic" tires that carried spare standard tires. The 1919 convoy started in Washington, D.C., and reached its destination at Lincoln Park in San Francisco. The Ordnance Department notes "great interest in the, Procure "recruits for ... the Motor Transport Corps": enlistment through the convoy was sparse, Exhibit "to the public ... the motor vehicle for military purposes": In the course of the journey, the convoy "passed through 350 communities, and it was estimated that more than 3,000,000 people (perhaps 3,250,000), Study & observe "the terrain and standard army vehicles": . Sorbell, Secretary Chamber of Commerce Jos. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association will conduct a 90th-anniversary convoy across the United States to retrace the 1919 Army’s Transcontinental Motor Route, and Greensburg will be among its first stops. [5] The heavy trucks included three examples of each of three wartime commercial models in the 3 to 5-1/2 ton range being considered for continued service (FWD, Mack and Riker) along with eleven 1-1/2 ton trucks from Garford, GMC, Packard and White. Both Lt. Jackson and Lt. Despite travelling on 24 August rest day, the convoy fell behind an additional day using 4 travel days instead of the 2 scheduled travel days from Orr's Ranch, Utah, through the Great Salt Lake Desert to Ely, Nevada; where the convoy arrived on the 24th (v. [U.S. Army, Transport Corps, Transcontinental Convoy: Records, 1919, Box 1, Report on first transcontinental motor convoy] [U.S. Army, Transport Corps, Transcontinental Convoy: Records, 1919, Box 1, Report on first transcontinental motor convoy; NAID #12165976], "Daily Log of the First Transcontinental Motor Convoy, Washington, DC to San Francisco, Cal., July 7th to Sept. 6th, 1919" [U.S. Army, Transport Corps, Transcontinental Convoy: Records, 1919, Box 1, Daily log of the first transcontinental motor convoy (typewritten copy); NAID #12166042]. The centennial of a 1919 U.S. military convoy that traveled across the country on largely unpaved roads will be celebrated August 31-September 16 when the Lincoln Highway Association stages the 2019 Military Convoy Centennial Tour, which will retrace the so-called Eisenhower route. [5]:6,10, In addition to engineer and quartermaster units; the convoy had 2 truck companies of the 433rd Motor Supply Train;[5]:6 a medical unit with surgeon, medical, and dental officers; and a Field Artillery Detachment which provided the Maxwell crawler tractor[13] operated by a civilian. Six rest days without convoy travel were at East Palestine, Ohio; Chicago Heights, Illinois; Denison, Iowa; North Platte, Nebraska; Laramie, Wyoming; and Carson City, Nevada. For the price of a three-year military committment these recruits learned valuable skills that would serve them well in the upcoming automotive age. The expedition consisted of 81 motorized Army vehicles that crossed the United States from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, a venture covering a distance of 3,251 miles in 62 days. Public Domain. Site of the United States WWI Centennial Commission, and the Doughboy Foundation, building the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. "Ike and 'The Great Truck Train'--1919" by John E. Wickman, Kansas History, Volume 13, August 1990, Number 3, page 139. At many stops along the way the convoy was escorted into town by local dignitaries and feted with church bells, parades, concerts, picnics, dances and banquets. The 1919 Motor Transport Corps Convoy Promotes Good Roads In the summer of 1919, the United States Army Motor Transport Corps (MTC) deployed a convoy The various trailers were also evaluated (most received failing grades) and the graphite grease was determined to provide significant benefits. The Cadillac and Dodge passenger cars and light trucks were found to be generally satisfactory, though the hood latches on the Dodge proved insufficiently durable. should pay more attention to disciplinary drills for officers and men, and that all should be intelligent, snappy soldiers before giving them the responsibility of operating trucks." Open Daily Their goal was 6000 recruits. Bridges too small or weak for the Mack had to be bypassed. 9 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., August - May Military Convoy Retraces Historic Route through Cedar Rapids On Sunday, June 21, a convoy retracing the 1919 transit of military vehicles on the Lincoln Highway pulled into Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the night. The convoy was to test the mobility of the military during wartime conditions. 3, March 1910, pp. Some of the participants also posted updates. The White, GMC, Riker, Packard and Mack trucks also proved satisfactory, though the latter's chain drive rendered them unsuitable for poor roads, and the larger motorcycles would have benefitted from more robust tires. Trucks, jeeps and cars driven by members of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association follow Grant Line Road through Tracy on Saturday morning as they retrace the cross-country route of a historic convoy in 1919. [5]:18,23 Additional vehicle manufacturers included Cadillac, Dodge, F.W.D., Garford, Harley-Davidson & Indian (motorcycles), Liberty (trucks & a 2-wheel kitchen cart), Mack, Packard, Riker, Standardized, Trailmobile (two 4-wheel kitchen trailers), and White. [6], The Signal Corps filmed convoy events;[7] and the civilians of the Goodyear band were transported from Chicago in one of the trucks. Abilene, KS 67410 [DDE's Records as President, President's Personal File, Box 967, 1075 Greany Maj. William C.; NAID #1055071], Report, "Principal Facts Concerning the First Transcontinental Army Motor Transport Expedition, Washington to San Francisco, July 7 to September 6, 1919." Colonel Eisenhower described the Motor Transport Corps soldiers as raw and undisciplined though Jackson also reported that they were generally well behaved. Archival footage from the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy visit to the Firestone Homestead. Commemorative Program, "A California Dinner in Honor of the Officers and Men Who Made up the First Transcontinental Convoy of the Motor Transport Corps, U.S. Army over the Lincoln Highway, Washington to San Francisco, July 7 - September 7, 1919" [U.S. Army, Transport Corps, Transcontinental Convoy: Records, 1919, Box 1; NAID #12165975], Memorandum from Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Chief, Motor Transport Corps, with attached report on the Trans-Continental Trip, November 3, 1919. [1]:4 Dust was a constant problem. Met and escorted through South Bend by Major [sic] F.R. The convoy was to test the mobility of the military during wartime conditions. The soldiers had spent 11 hours on the road that day, traveling from Kimball, Neb., to Cheyenne. [11] One Firestone truck detoured to Reno, Nevada, to have a new giant tire mounted. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association is retracing the route of the first U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy along the historical Lincoln Highway in … The 2019 Military Convoy will depart on August 10, from York, PA, the site of the 2019 MVPA Annual Convention and conduct an official Convoy launch from York, PA. More than 50 historic military vehicles will be on display Aug. 20 at Cantigny Park as part of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy, sponsored by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association. Weak bridges were reinforced or repaired, sometimes after a truck fell through them. [5]:24, In the course of its journey, the convoy broke and repaired[19] dozens of wooden bridges[2]:10 (14 in Wyoming alone) [20] and "practically" all roadways were unpaved from Illinois through Nevada. of sending a military convoy over the en- tire length of the Lincoln Highway and discussed the matter with military offi- cials. 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