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Fuel to the Troops: A Memoir of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company 1943-1945

by John G. Sullivan

Merriam Press World War II Memoir

eBook not available

Paperback - ISBN 978-1470028732 - $16.95

Hardcover not available

This story is about a place in time and a military unit which had a profound impact on military operations in the European Theater during World War II.

The movement of petroleum products was critical in keeping the war machine moving and operating thousands of miles from the U.S. mainland. Providing the necessary fuels for the vehicles involved in fighting their way into Germany in 1944-45 was accomplished by an organization within the U.S. Army established by Charles A. McCann, a petroleum engineering graduate of the University of Oklahoma. McCann was a patriot who felt he could contribute to the war effort in a very specific way. His exceptional management skills and leadership ability made for a highly motivated organization that overcame the most difficult challenges at that time and place.

While many have never known war, this story is a tribute to those men of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution (EPD) Company. The EPD Company is their story and is told through the eyes of one of their comrades—John Sullivan. He recounts these individual sacrifices and lived though the many challenges every day for two years. It provides a behind the scenes look at daily operations and those untold stories from America’s “Greatest Generation.”


Introduction by Greg Slavonic, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
History of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company
World War II Memoirs: Historical Framework
Induction and Reception Center
Basic Medical Training
Barkeley to Ft. Lewis
To Camp Claiborne
The Modern Army
History of the 698th Prior to September 1, 1943
Basic Engineer Pipeline Company TO&E
Early 698 History
All Work and No...
Roy E. “Lefty” Holder
Camp Claiborne to Camp Shanks, New York, to the United Kingdom
Ship to Shore and First Camp
Creature Comforts
Military Training Before the Invasion
Isle of Wight Social Life
Pre-Invasion Preparation and Portent
698th Motor Pool Goes to the Invasion
Staging Area to Marshaling Area to Boat
On to the Beach
Cherbourg: Forward with the Pipeline
Finished at Cherbourg
At Alencon
September Song, 1944
Chateau de Barneau
Military Pipeline System
The Wages of Sin…
Recovery From My Broken Arm
Going to Antwerp
Holiday Greetings to Antwerp
Introduction to Antwerp and its Facilities
Logistics and Planning; January 19, 1945: My Second Service Anniversary
Reality Check
Working with Civilians at Antwerp
Springtime in Germany
My Peace Experience
Other Chores in Germany
Returning to Antwerp from Germany
Soldiers Transactions
Mustering Out
A Last Wartime Trip to the Isle of Wight
Reflection on Accomplishments
Could an Earlier Antwerp Port Operation Have Ended the Second World War Sooner?
Post Script
Roster of 698 Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company

330 6x9-inch pages, 74 photos, 6 documents, 2 drawings, 1 map

Review by Christoph Kelly

For those interested in the technical side of World War II, this makes for a good read. Although more of a series of anecdotes, than a regular narrative, it nevertheless manages to inform the reader about a side of war that no one ever seems to think about: supply and engineering. The author's unit, the 698th Petroleum Distribution Company, was one of several specialized engineering units that were created during the war. They started from scratch, and throughout the book, you get a sense that they had to make it up as they went along. It was far from a safe billet, and the company suffered many losses, especially at Antwerp. If you're looking for an unusual tale of World War II, I recommend Fuel to the Troops.

Fuel to the Troops: A Memoir of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company 1943-1945

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