Information Officer
57th Transportation Battalion (Truck)
Writer:     Major Henry H Poarch Jr.
8 July 1967

 

 

"OPERATION CASEY JONES"

Cam Ranh Bay., RVN (57th Trans Bn I.O.) After eight months., over two million miles of driving and transporting six hundred thousand short tons of cargo in Vietnam, the men of the 57th Trans Bn (Trk), 500th Trans Gp (MT), have literally hauled everything from refugees to railroad cars.  For the second time this year the 57th Trans Bn (Trk) has hauled railroad cars on Battalion trucks.

 

This reverse "piggyback" operation has now been responsible for thirty two railroad cars being delivered to the Vietnamese National Railway in nearby Ba Ngoi.  The first operation., completed in April of this year, delivered twenty, 34,000 pound gondola and flat rail cars to the National Railway.

The latest operation, requiring 49 hours., was completed on 6 July under the coordination and supervision of the Project Officer., CPT Kenneth G. Scott S3,, 57th Trans Bn (Trk).  First, the 52,900 pound, 46 foot., refrigerator cars, shipped to Cam Ranh Bay on the Sea Train New Jersey were off-loaded from the ship at Pier 1A by the 565th Terminal Co. commanded by CPT Lawrence J. Lipka . Utilizing the ship!s crane., the rail cars were loaded on to 25 ton capacity 40 foot trailers.  Length of the rail cars between "trucks” was 38 feet, 8 inches, allowing only 8 inches of clearance on each end of the trailers.  After lashing the rail cars to the trailers and bracing them with heavy timbers, the truckers' real work began.  Utilizing M52 Tractors., the trucks, with their unusual cargo, began the slow and cautious journey to the railhead at Ba Ngoi, 15 miles away.  The move was made in two., 6 truck

Convoys with a military police escort provided by the 97th Military Police Battalion,

With a 50 ton mobile crane provided by Vinnell Corporation., the rail cars were off loaded by personnel from the 116th Terminal Service Company commanded by CPT Albert Heffner . Bracing and tie-dowm chains were removed., a lifting sling was fastened around the rail cars and the crane settled the rail cars onto the tracks neatly and securely.   Despite the difficulty and obstacles encountered., all twelve rail cars were moved safely and without mishap.  The 57th Trans Bn Commander., LTC Julian H Hall., , praised the effort saying., "This operation is again proof of our Battalion motto., Poviding With Mobility”

Also observing this unusual example of transportation ingenuity were COL H. E. Tistadt, , Commanding Officer of the 500th Tr-ans Gp (MT); and MAJ Walter F. Musial, the Director of Transportation, Cam Ranh Bay Support Command.

Noting the rapid and successful completion of the “reverse piggyback" operation, COL Tistadt also

lauded men of the 57th Trans Bn (Trk) and the 565th and 11th Terminal Companies.  ‘We, have again

proved today the truth of the old axiom," he stated: "Teamwork is the greatest weapon the Army has ever developed".