Blog Archives

Quartermaster Corps – Intermission Story (23)

I am always remarking on how the military operates as one large chain with every job having an important role in the smooth operations.  Most people concentrate on the front line combat soldier, sailor or Marine and forget what it all must take to not only put him/her there, but to keep their mission in operating condition.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps was responsible for procuring and delivering various supplies to units in all those theaters. No other area proved to be more challenging than the war in the Pacific Theater with its lengthy supply lines.

The first step in the Quartermasters’ duties was procurement, which required more than simply calculating user needs and filling out the correct requisitions. Overcoming numerous hurdles, corpsmen were responsible for making victory possible. Their obstacles started on the home front, where shortages of all basic supplies originated. Further complicating matters was the fact that manufacturing and agricultural production had to be increased immediately.

Quartermaster corpsmen provided Class I, II, III and IV items to the war front.

Paratroopers with their ‘K-rations’

Class I: food

A steady supply of food and rations was most vital to the survival of the far-flung armed forces. During much of the war the Pacific Theater experienced heavy losses of food, resulting in random cycles of “feast and famine.” Food losses stemmed from a number of sources, the first being storage problems. Limited warehousing was available, and Class I items shipped to the Pacific were often stacked in big open food dumps with little protection from the elements. To rectify that problem, the corpsmen created portable warehouses called “Paulin Oases,” which resembled a native hut called a bures.

35th QM Pack Mule Train

Class II: clothing

Quartermasters in the Pacific had trouble getting sufficient reserves of clothing where it was needed, mainly because the U.S. clothing and textile industry could not easily obtain the necessary raw goods from scarce commodities. In addition, sometimes plants had to be completely retooled to accommodate full-scale production. Clothing took a lower priority compared to food and petroleum products. After the clothing did arrive, it usually went into base storage areas — sometimes disintegrating as a result of devastating environmental effects.

Naval Quartermasters

Class III: petroleum products

Essential to the war effort were gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel, diesel oil, fuel oil and petroleum-based lubricants. Critical for the sustainment of war machinery and more vital even than clothing and general supplies, those Quartermaster supply items took high priority. The corpsmen excelled in the processing and delivery efforts, and because of easy accessibility from Australia, it suffered fewer hazards.

Class IV: general supplies

Such diverse items as rope, soap, candles, knives, forks and spoons rarely warranted “life or death” status. Those Class IV items usually shipped on a restricted basis. A procurement problem on the home front — the inability of the manufacturers to meet demand with supply — was the main reason for delays.

Quartermaster Corps on the beaches D-Day.

The Quartermaster Corps trained thousands of soldiers during World War II, filling specialized roles in every theater of operation from the Pacific and CBI theaters to North Africa, Italy, central and northern Europe. They willingly supplied more than 70,000 different items with more than 24 million meals each day going to the servicemen.

Pacific Paratrooper did a post on George Watson previously to honor the Quartermaster who won a Medal of Honor.

George Watson

Information derived from U.S. History.com

Click on images to enlarge.

#####################################################################################

Military Humor –

#####################################################################################

Farewell Salutes –

Barbara Baker – Glen Burnie, MD; US Navy WAVES, WWII

George Curtis – Concord, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS McCracken

John Devitt – MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Troop Carrier pilot

Oscar Friedman – Hampton Bay, NY; US Army, WWII

Rubin Gansky – Wallingford, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, ‘Merrill’s Merauders’

La David Johnson – Miami Gardens, FL; US Army, Niger, Sgt., 3rd Spec. Forces Unit, KIA

Upson Kyte – Akron, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div. Recon Unit / Korea

Dwight McBride – Elida, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, APO, PTO, radioman, Sgt.

David Patterson Sr. – Rio Rancho, NM; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

Norman Stobie – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: