716th Tank Battalion

Discussion in 'US Units' started by 716_Grandson, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    I located some more old photos of my uncle and members of his unit. The attached photo of my uncle (kneeling, on right) and four buddies appears to have been taken at Camp Chaffee, AR in late 1943 or early 1944. I'm curious whether this represents the crew of his tank (the number of crew members is right) or simply five friends. All of the faces appear in other photos posted elsewhere in this thread.

    Perhaps a follower of this thread will recognize a relative here.

    Attached Files:

    4jonboy likes this.
  2. DaveFe

    DaveFe Member

    Thanks for this info. Have been away from this forum for a while but want to get back. My father Mario Ferro was in the Service Company and writes in letters to my uncle who was 15 then about being in the Lingayen invasion as well as New Guinea. He often talked about being on an LST in his diary, but did not mention the name. Now I see USS Belle Grove LSD-2 carried elements of the Service Company. Still don't know which LST but he did comment that he didn't understand how the "boys" could sleep below deck with the tanks as it was so hot down there.
    A map from The Liberation of the Philippines (Samuel Eliot Morison) shows the 3 White and 2 Blue Beaches were at the far left of the invasion forces at San Fabian - Vice Admiral Barbey carrying the 43rd Division TF 78.1 at the White Beaches1-2 facing Mabilao, White Beach 3 facing San Fabian, Blue Beaches 1-2 were a few thousand yards to the right (South) with 6th Infantry Division TF 78.5..
    Have to reread all this. Many of the books at the library have been discarded; not taken out enough.
    The appendix to the above book does list all of the naval forces and commanders. TF 78.5 shows LSD Belle Grove with Cdr. Morris Seavey USNR. The Tractor Unit shows 30 LSTs under Capt. O. R. Swigart plus many other vessels. I'll try to scan these pages.

    I see many more photos and even videos. Eager to look for my father.
  3. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    My guess is that the elements of the Service Company landed from the Belle Grove were some of the company's transport vehicles and other assorted equipment related to service functions. Remaining personnel could certainly been transported on an LST, and then joined up with their equipment on the beach.

    Elsewhere above I alluded to the fact that not everything always went according to plan. If you'd like to understand the enormity of the total landing operation, check out the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Digital Library website, search for and download the "Musketeer Mike I" planning document. I would attach it here, but I think it exceeds the allowable size limit for uploads for this site. Once you look at that in detail, you'll see that various elements of the 716th Tank Battalion were not always landed where the plan originally assigned them to land. Subsequently, and to their credit, those units improvised on the fly and made things work.
  4. Harlock

    Harlock Junior Member

    I've since heard from descendants of Leo's crew, giving me more detail on they day he died while taking Hill 355.
  5. emtguy89

    emtguy89 New Member

    In all the documents posted I have been unable to find a PFC Russell C. Jones, whose grave marker says he was with C/716th Tank Bn, and the online National Archives search says he enlisted 6-28-1944. There's one cropped photo here that looks suspiciously like me, the man on the left of the attached photo. Russell was my grandfather, who died in 1963 long before I was born. Sadly a lot of old links in this thread aren't working anymore.

    Attached Files:

  6. Brandon Kaufman

    Brandon Kaufman New Member

    Hello all,

    I am the grandson of William Sechrest who served in D Company of the 716 Tank Battalion. I've read through this entire thread and I am awestruck and thankful that it exists and that family members have actually connected on here. My grandpap passed away when I was 9 years old, but I've been fascinated with WWII ever since I found out that he served - running across a thread like this is really a dream come true, as it is filled with tons of information that I've wanted for years.

    He earned a Purple Heart while in the service, but unfortunately I haven't come across his name in any of the AAR's or anything that includes information on wounded in action. We were always told he got shot in the butt, a la Forrest Gump, I guess.

    If anyone has anymore resources that could lead me to more information on his time in the service that would be great. I'm also always on the lookout for further information on the actions of D Company as well.

    Take care,


    Attached Files:

    davidbfpo likes this.
  7. Brandon Kaufman

    Brandon Kaufman New Member

    I forgot to add...

    I've seen some people post individual reports that included things like proficiency with different weapons and things like that from their training exercises. How did you find this? Where could I find something similar for my grandfather?
  8. 716thresearcher

    716thresearcher Junior Member

    Hello Brandon,

    There are many links in this thread, some of which, unfortunately, are no longer functioning. You may want to begin with reading the 716th unit history. Page 12 of this thread has a link (which is functional; I just checked it) where you can download a copy. There are several versions of it in different stages of completeness and legibility. Also check out the US Army "green books" series The US Army in World War II. The War in the Pacific: Triumph in the Philippines, by Robert Ross Smith. It's the high-level strategic overview but many actions are described at a fairly granular level. It is a great information resource and will point you toward additional research resources, including primary source documents. Larger libraries should have it. If you are near a university and/or federal depository library, you should be able to find it. (I actually ordered my copy from a bookstore in the UK!).

    I have also communicated with others on this thread at times in the past, and they have been very helpful. Some are hopefully still following this thread. Good luck in your research.

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