The United States Army Transportation Corps was established July 31, 1942 by Executive Order 9082. The Transportation Corps is a combat service support branch of the U.S. Army, and is headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia. The Transportation Corps is responsible for the movement of personnel and materiel by truck, rail, air, and sea. Its motto is "Spearhead of Logistics," and it is currently the third smallest branch of the army.
As far back as the Revolutionary War, General George Washington appointed the first wagon master, who can be considered the first Chief of Transportation. Prior to the War of 1812
, military transportation had taken a back seat in the national military strategy. It was apparent after the war that some form of organized transportation support was needed to guarantee the new nation’s ability to successfully engage and defeat an enemy. In response to this need, General Thomas S. Jesup
was appointed as Quartermaster General
in 1818. Later Jesup initiated programs that not only improved the transportation capability of the U.S. military, but also encouraged the United States expansion to the west. These programs included the building of the Great Military Road
of 1836 which linked the far flung ports of the west with the industrial bases of the east and the use of the steamship
for amphibious landings
During the American Civil War
, transportation proved to be an integral part of military logistics through the organization of railroads
as a viable and efficient means of military transportation
. By 1864, five of the nine divisions in the Quartermaster
Department dealt exclusively with transportation. A substantial number of battles were won because of the field commander's ability to swiftly and effectively move troops and supplies.
During the Spanish-American War
, the task of mobilizing and deploying a largely volunteer force to Cuba
and the Philippines
magnified the need for a separate transportation service within the Quartermaster Department. Army transporters worked with both the civilian railroads and the maritime industry to pull together a successful intermodal operation.
World War I
The American Expeditionary Force
that deployed to France
during World War I
, emphasized the need for a single transportation manager. William W. Atterbury
, a former railroad executive, was appointed as the Director-General of Transportation and a separate Transportation Corps was established in 1918. Having satisfied the immediate need and requirements of the day, this forerunner of the modern Transportation Corps was abolished after the war.
World War II
With the attack on Pearl Harbor
, the United States began the largest mobilization in its history. In March 1942, the transportation functions were consolidated into the Transportation Division of the newly created Services of Supply
. That same year, on July 31
, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
established the Transportation Corps. By the end of the war the Transportation Corps had moved more than 30 million soldiers within the continental United States; and 7 million soldiers plus 126 million tons of supplies overseas.
When the Soviet Union
cordoned off the city of Berlin
in 1948, the Transportation Corps played a vital role in sustaining the city. Two years later, on June 28
, President Harry S. Truman
established the Transportation Corps as a permanent branch of the Army.
During the Korean War
, the Transportation Corps kept the United Nations
Forces supplied through three winters. By the time the armistice
was signed, the Transportation Corps had moved more than 3 million soldiers and 7 million tons of cargo.
The Vietnam War
saw the most diversified assortment of transportation units ever assembled. For over a decade the Transportation Corps provided continuous support for American and allied forces through an unimproved tropical environment using watercraft, amphibians, motor trucks and Transportation Corps aircraft.
On July 31, 1986, the Transportation Corps was inducted into the U.S. Army Regimental System.
In 1990 the Transportation Corps faced one of its greatest challenges with the onset of the Gulf War
. During Operation Desert Shield
and Operation Desert Storm
, the Transportation Corps working out of ports on three continents demonstrating its ability to deploy and sustain massive forces.
Post Cold War
Operations in Somalia
, and Iraq
have also seen the deployment of large numbers of transportation units.