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  • By Ray Merriam
    Feb 15, 2012
    Fuel to the Troops: A Memoir of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company, 1943-1945 by John G. Sullivan Merriam Press Military Monograph 88 Third Edition (February 2012) 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... More > 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.” Contents Introduction by Greg Slavonic, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) History of the 698th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company: Foreword 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 Review by Sally Holmes (daughter of Capt. Charles A. McCann, CO of the unit; by mail to the author): My dad would be so proud as I am proud of this book.You are a true gentleman and scholar and I thank you for writing this beautiful book! Review by Frances Johnson:Fuel to the Troops is a beautiful tribute to all the young men who left colleges, work, and their families to serve their country in the 1940s. This is an authentic and well researched account of the 698 EPDC as it crossed Europe to supply fuel to the fighting units to make it possible for the Allies to win the war. The V-1 and V-2 bombings of Antwerp were devastating to so many civilians as well as soldiers. This 175 days of bombing left much of the city in ruins as well as its people's lives changed forever. I am pleased and honored to be a part of John Sullivan's memories of World War II in this book. I remember him very fondly all these years later! Review by Kenneth E. Bates, PR2c, HEDRON 3, USNR (Parachute Rigger 2nd Class, Headquarters Squadron 3): I found the book, Fuel to the Troops, by John Sullivan, to be both entertaining and enlightening, and enjoyable reading. It is a good reminder that the majority of us who helped win World War II were not on the front lines, but making sure that there was fuel, food, ammunition, etc. for the men who were fighting, and that the tanks, trucks, jeeps, and airplanes were in good operating condition and battle-ready. Review by Vivian Allbritton (Homer Allbritton was a Medic with tthe 698th EPD Company and is mentioned in the book): Thank you for sending the wonderful book of Fuel to the Troops. I haven’t read much of the book as yet, but am on my way. This brings back many stories Homer told me about the V-1s and V-2s and the noise of the V-1s. He talked much about the casualties and many interesting things about the places and the men. He didn’t discuss his medals and promotions too much. He certainly didn’t brag about what he did. He must have been greatly impressed with saving lives and helping people that needed medical help. He told me he would like to go into a Nursing School for training and use his “GI Bill” to help pay his way. He used it to further his education in Nursing in our local Junior College. We now have a great University nearby. We took care of his Uncle and Aunt for 10 years in our small house, but we made it. They were foster parents for him. We took good care of them, but it was very difficult for me. He also joined the National Guard and put 33 years into the Veterans Administration as a Registered Nurse, and 33 into the Army ending as a Colonel. Anyway, we had an interesting and busy life. Homer was 76 when he passed, married fifty-five. We traveled to the camps a lot, and enjoyed the trips. After retirement we started painting (oils and watercolors), also raised four boys and a beautiful garden. Now I’m retired. I’m sending you a check for four more books, plus the first one. Thank you very much for wanting to write the very interesting, historical book on places and brave men most of us will recall and remember. Review by Norm Brown: I finished your book last night. It is a great book and a great ending. The endings are always sad because it is an ending. The end of a war, the end of many friendships (or the loss of same) and then going on with one's life to something new. We (you more so than I) can say we saw the coming of many things in our lives such as automobiles, electricity, phones, TV, etc. We have seen the politicians come and go, both the good and the bad. What we have now is unreal. They could not have dug deeper in a manure pile to come up with what we have in the Administration and Congress. The "don't give a shit" attitudes of many people will surely be our downfall. If we don't stand up and take a position we will will lose our freedom. We served and fought for our country for something better than what we have. I think your book fills a void in the history of World War II with information never before published. I surely did not know about the pipelines, etc. I am proud to have received your generously sent book with a great autograph and it will remain in the family and I will make sure I pass it on to my stepgrandson who has been in the Army and Iraq. He will appreciate your fine work. 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.< Less
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Product Details

Third Edition (February 2012)
Merriam Press
February 4, 2012
Hardcover (dust-jacket)
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.14 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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