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The 514th QM Truck Regiment
With so many vehicles at the show, you are sure to see something you have never seen before. Groups such as the 514th Q.M. Truck Regiment always bring a great selection if vehicles and tanks. They were also known as the “The Red Ball Express”.
The men of the “514th Quartermaster Truck Regiment” were an all black regiment who learnt to drive trucks the ‘Army way’ at Fort Meade, Maryland. James Rookard (pictured below) who was then a trainee driver said “You could learn to drive the trucks in two or three days if you followed the instructors,”. The hardest part was learning to drive in convoy with no more than blackout lights, following on behind the truck in front of you. One of the drivers was killed at Fort Meade when his truck left the road and went down an embankment. Whilst at Fort Meade drivers were trained in the maintenance of their trucks and were given an understanding in carburetion, ignition and how to change tires plus most minor breakdown problems. The troops also went through the standard sixteen week basic infantry training that was given to all WWII soldiers. Training consisted of marksmanship, bayonet drills, night marches, and infiltration courses.
The 514th QM TC consisted of twelve Companies (Many trucking companies kept the QM designation even as they were being transferred to the Transportation Corps.) Each Company consisted of 150 men and 5 white officers and each Company had 3 platoons of 16 trucks each.
The 2015 War and Peace show display was a great success, we fielded the biggest ever array of displays from the Vietnam era.
This is what makes RT so different, we try to cover as many areas as possible rather than sticking to one unit / Area.
We had members traveling from across the country and from Germany to fill our new and larger area.
This year we were able to connect up our display with the NO SLACK, Vietnam Living History Group.
These guys put on a fantastic encampment display which gives the public a great understanding of base camp life.
Our display started off with the fantastic USMC MP guard tower and barrier at the entrance with our very own authentic guard dogs. Amber and Kaiser which kept a eye on our Peace Protester Peter and his Anti War Movement display, next to him was our brilliant portrayal of “The Enemy” a VC hut with hidden weapons and munitions dump giving the public a different side to the War.
Next to them was our Indo China display featuring French Traffic police with a Jeep doing roadside checks. This shows that Rolling Thunder brings to the public the complete Vietnam Experience from the 1st Indochina war to last days of South Vietnam, including display on the US anti war movement and the CIA.
Along the back row we had a motorpool area with a large selection of vehicles, M35 / M54 Trucks, M151 Mutts and M715 Kaisers, M37 Dodge and our 155mm Howitzer.
Next to that was our CIA display / impression which is new for 2015. Next to that was RTs bar area with USO Stage, this area is for RT members to enjoy a bit of R&R. The Bar was Named “Jacks” in memory of a USMC Veteran.
From then on we had the Charlie 2/7 display with kitted out Platoon tent and opposite the tent was their fighting emplacement with twin 81mm mortars and .50cal HMG.
From there onwards we had a great little display by Charles and Yang of what a Special forces A team would have in a mountain village, Medcap and recruitment.
Then finally we had our Australian portrayal showing a range of vehicles including Sally Army Landrover issuing tea to the troops as well as weapons stores, operation room and base camp buildings including a display of dentist equipment which all received a lot of interest. Our display then connected up to the No Slack guys which kept the display flowing nicely and meant the public could enter the displays using 3 entrances.
As you can see we fielded a very wide variety of displays and meant we received a lot of interest from the public and veterans
alike including Melly Mel who spent a lot of time on our display sharing his experience and stories from serving in Vietnam.
To finish this up we were awarded the “Best Large Living History Display 2015”, what a great finish!
Just want to say thanks again to all our members for all their hard work at the show and wining the award shows it was all worth it.
Look forward to seeing you all in 2016 for another great year
There are many other collections and vehicles that are not listed here, below is an image gallery of some of these vehicles.
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