Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Organization of the 519th Port Battalion

To help meet the massive logistical needs of the war, the the 519th Port Battalion was activated June 25, 1943. It was made up of Headquarters, the 302nd Port Company, 303rd Port Co., 304th Port Co., and 305th Port Co. My grandfather was in the 304th. The Bn. was attached to the 1st Engineer Special Brigade for the Normandy invasion. It's not clear to me whether the 519th remained under the control of the 1st ESB for the remainder of the war, or of it was detached when they were transfered to Antwerp. The men did continue to wear their engineer's patches: the Army Amphibious patch (blue with yellow eagle, gun and anchor), and the Engineer Amphibious Command (white oval with red sea horse and blue border).

Above is a photo of a monument on Utah Beach dedicated to the fallen men of the 1st ESB. It was Inaugurated on the 1-year anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1945. On one side of the monument a list of port battalions, port companies, quartermaster trucking companies, and QM service companies. Two additional companies were attached to the 519th shortly before the Normandy invasion. The 519th Port Bn. was joined by the 280th Port Co. on May 4, 1944, and the 279th Port Company on May 13. They were originally part of the 505th Port Bn.

Before the 519th was relocated to Antwerp the 279th Port Co was released from the Bn. In November the 279th departed for a new station—I don't know where. In that same month the 281st Port Co was attached, accompanying the 519th to Antwerp.

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