483rd Transportation Battalion
On September 30th, 1942 the 483rd Port Battalion was activated at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. The 483rd was one of many all African American units that served during the World War II. After training at Jackson Barracks, Louisiana; the battalion shipped off to the Seattle Port of Embarkation and from there, for Excursion Inlet at the northern end of Alaska’s Inside Passage The 483rd transshipped lumber and petroleum products to oceangoing vessels heading to the Aleutians. For its service in Alaska, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Streamer without inscription was awarded to the battalion. After 10 months in Alaska, the 483rd shipped off to the Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for movement to Europe. Upon arriving in England, the battalion served at Maghull, England near Liverpool loading and discharging American Vessels.
On July 10, 1944, the battalion under the command of LTC Harry A. Conroy disembarked at Utah Beach in Normandy. His challenge was to ensure soldiers and equipment was delivered “In quantity and in plenty time”. By the end of the month, the battalion was operating at the Port of Cherbourg, France discharging the beans and bullets for the soldiers fighting against Nazi Germany. They discharged on average over 40,000 tons of cargo at a rate of 9 tons per hour. After returning home, the battalion was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 28 November 1945. For its service in Europe, the battalion was awarded the campaign streamers for Normandy and Northern France.
The battalion was reactivated in the Army Reserves on May 7, 1956 in Oakland, California as the 483rd Transportation Battalion under the command of LTC William “Mac” McPhee. During the Berlin Crisis, the 483rd mobilized on October 15, 1961 at Ft. Lewis, Washington. After a year on active duty at the Beaver Island Army Depot in Oregon, the battalion demobilized on August 5, 1962 and returned to Oakland, CA.
The battalion and subordinate units moved from Oakland to the Mare Island Army Reserve Center on December 2, 2000. Following the Septermber 11th terrorist attacks, the battalion provided personnel and units to support the ongoing Global War on Terror. On August 12, 2004 the battalion headquarters was mobilized in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. After several weeks at the mobilization station at Ft. Lewis, Washington, the battalion arrived in Kuwait on October 7, 2004 and on November 1, 2004 assumed responsibility of terminal operations at the SPOD/E at the Port of Ash Shuaiba. The battalion and its subordinate units supported the largest movement of equipment into a theater of war since World War II. During the rotation of forces for OIF 04-06, the battalion flawlessly managed the deployment of 32,311 pieces of equipment from the 42nd Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 1st COSCOM and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment on 45 vessels during a two month deployment surge and the redeployment of 32,012 vehicles and equipment of the 1st Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division, 25th Infantry Division and 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on 37 vessels during the 3 month redeployment surge. During its 12 month deployment, the battalion processed over 120,000 pieces of cargo. In September of 2005, the battalion completed its mission in Kuwait and redeployed to Ft. Lewis, Washington in October 2005 for demobilization. For its service in Kuwait, the unit was awarded the Global War On Terrorism campaign streamer and recommended for a Meritorious Unit Commendation award. From the beaches at Normandy to the desert in Kuwait, the battalion has served this nation faithfully and continues to make history.
Submitted by MAJ Steve McLaughlin