transcontinental motor convoy

Reports vary, but around 80 vehicles made the trip and included, among others, Cadillac and Dodge passenger cars, Packard, White, GMC and Mack Trucks and Harley and Indian motorcycles. The Great War had just ended, and the development of military vehicles was one of the principal factors that contributed to winning that war. The 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco used the incomplete Lincoln Highway. One of these groups is the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, and they just went through Nebraska a couple of days ago. The expedition was manned by 24 officers and 258 enlisted men. We took a leisurely ten days to cross the continent, stopping at historical sites along the way, including Promontory Point, Utah, where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met in May 1869. We, too, got onto dirt roads, in Wyoming, and passed over alkali flats in Utah, and desert sands, in Nevada. Like the cavalry of old, Army scouts would ride in advance of the convoy to check out the conditions that lay just ahead, except they were mounted on Harley-Davidsons instead of horses. Essentially a PR ploy to dramatize the need for good roads, the "First Transcontinental Motor Train" delivered. “U.S. The starting date was July 7, 1919. The Transcontinental Motor Convoys were early 20th century vehicle convoys, including three US Army truck trains, that crossed the United States (one was coast-to-coast) to the west coast. Juni 1920) In terms of Stop at Harvey Firestone's home [65-857-6] 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. As noted in the official report on the convoy compiled by Captain William C. Greany of the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps, the convoy’s principal objectives were to “service-test the special-purpose vehicles developed for use in the First World War . .one story at a time. 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The 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco used the incomplete Lincoln Highway . In Grand Island, Ohio, for example, around 3,000 people came to the celebration, while in Rock River, Wyo., the Red Cross Canteen Service provided the entire convoy with lunch. As opposed to a sole adventurer crossing largely wild territory, the Army wanted to show that cross-country road travel was a real possibility. One of the Mack trucks, carrying a tractor, was the official tester. (On the recovery trailer) According to the official reports, this army motor convoy set a new world record for distance and, in doing so, garnered the publicity essential to achieving its purposes. Road marking and haulage specialist, Tim Doody Limited, has taken delivery of the company’s flagship vehicle, the first right hand drive Range T High to be ordered in the UK. 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy When the convoy arrived in San Francisco on September 6, 1919, the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps had established a world’s record in long-distance heavy motor transport. They climbed into 81 “specialized” military vehicles, including 34 heavy cargo trucks, delivery trucks, a caterpillar tractor (which would become vitally important), a blacksmith shop, kitchen trailers, motorcycles, and touring cars for staff and observers. Hopefully I’ll be visiting, Truckfest Peterborough, Crowfield Truck Rally, Gathering of the Griffin, Retro Truck Show at Gaydon, more than likely (and hopefully) Truckstar Festival at Assen as my foreign trip, although I have heard on the grapevine that there is quite a convoy of English motors heading to the International Trucker & Country Show held at Interlaken, CH. The convoy averaged about 58 miles a day going six miles per hour. Image from the 2012 Brisbane Convoy for Kids of a Ford LTL9000. Army Convoy Shows Tremendous Possibilities of Motor Trucks.” Los Angeles Sunday Times, 14 September 1919, p. 1. All articles, images, product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. The Ordnance Observer, 1st Lieutenant E. R. Jackson, described it this way in his report: “During the early weeks of the trip, discipline among the enlisted men of the Motor Transport Corps was conspicuous by its absence.”  Eisenhower agreed with this observation and blamed inexperience and poor officers for excessive speeding, poor handling of trucks and unseemly conduct. As Americans prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and we recently marked the sesquicentennial of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, this year offers up one more anniversary of extraordinary American ingenuity and grit, one that in many ways changed daily life even more profoundly than either of the other two events. What a great idea, and what an impressive array of historic vehicles! Three years after President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Road Aid Act in 1916, the Transcontinental Motor Convoy vividly demonstrated just how far America had to go in developing even a basic national highway system. [65-857-5] 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. The expedition consisted of eighty-one motorized Army vehicles that crossed the United States from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, a venture covering a distance of 3,251 miles in 62 days. As car travel changed the nature of American life in the 20th century, capped perhaps by Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, the men of the 1919 convoy stood as prophets of a new age. Of the 3,000 miles the convoy traveled, over 50 percent — or 1,778 — were over dirt roads, wheel paths, mountain trails, desert sands, and alkali flats. To commemorate this historic transcontinental convoy, some organizations are retracing the path taken in 1919. All told, nine of the 81 vehicles were damaged beyond repair along the way, while the convoy encountered 230 road accidents, defined as “instances of road failure and vehicles sinking in quicksand or mud, running off the road or over embankments, overturning, or other mishaps due entirely to the unfavorable and at times appalling traffic conditions.” Given the primitive conditions even on the well-maintained roads, it is not surprising that the expedition damaged or destroyed 88 wooden highway bridges and culverts, all of which were repaired or rebuilt by convoy personnel. Arriving in Sacramento, on September 3, the company was feted at a gala dinner and acclaimed as new “Forty-Niners,” harking back to those who had “endured hardship, privation, discouragement, and even death, to reach this new land.” Their host, the head of the Willys Overland Company, later famous as the designer of the ubiquitous military Jeep, honored the convoy members for having “blazed new trails — the trails of Commerce, Highways, Mechanical Attainment, and the Protection of the Flag,” this last being a reminder of the geopolitical implications of the expedition. “Government Motor Truck Train Now Winding Its Way Across Nevada.” Reno Evening Gazette, 31 August 1919, p. 8. Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower (13th … Given how isolated the West Coast still felt from the rest of the country, and how difficult it was to reach it from the east other than by the railroad or a long sea voyage, the idea for the convoy was in some ways a natural evolution in the movement to link the country closer together. Speed – Made in Los Angeles (Offenhauser), Mystery Light – Ford and the B-24 Liberator, Early Marketing With the Master of Endurance. One of these groups is the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, and they just went through Nebraska a couple of days ago. Throughout the desert, the expedition suffered extremely high temperatures, including a maximum of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The convoy, led by Army Colonel Charles W. McClure, rumbled northwest, up what is now North Frederick Road toward Frederick, Md., 46 miles away. Classic Ford Trucks. They made the 3,251-mile trip in 62 days, arriving at the Presidio in San Francisco on September 6th. In 1920, the Transcontinental Motor Convoy came through Douglasville and Villa Rica during a 116-day trip on Bankhead Highway from Virginia to San Diego. When the convoy passed through Kearney, Nebraska, the local paper noted the similarities between the pioneers in the convoy and the ones that had followed the Oregon Trail to the west in similar fashion not too many decades before. Today, such an effort is not even something to consider extraordinary. With the Panama Canal likely in the future, controlling access to that canal (if not the Canal itself) was considered vital to national interests, because whoever controlled the Canal effectively controlled maritime travel between the two coasts. “Billion Urged For National Road System.” Oakland Tribune, 7 September 1919, p. 4. The fascinating history of American cars . This "Convoy" rig was built in Detroit by TTE. Enduring constant breakdowns, broken bridges, nonexistent roads, knee-high mud, sand dunes, storms, and heat, the 300 men of the convoy successfully crossed the country in exactly two months, reaching San Francisco on September 6. “Army Motor Convoy Trip.” The Denison Review, 2 July 1919, p. 1. According to the official report, 3,250,000 Americans had the opportunity personally to see the convoy and “to understand the vast importance and urgent necessity of motor transport and good roads in the cause of national defense,” as the report noted. The stated goals included the service testing of army vehicles, demonstrating the practicability of long-distance motor transport, encouraging the government expenditure necessary to a highway system, and recruiting for the MTC. Officially named the Transcontinental Motor Convoy of 1919, the caravan was composed of eighty-one army vehicles and numerous nonmilitary autos and trucks. Eisenhower and the Transcontinental Motor Convoy Can you imagine driving across the United States only a little faster than you can walk? 1915 transcontinental film convoy. Again, reports vary, but the convoy of heavy machinery damaged or destroyed something like 100 bridges and culverts. From a military perspective, both convoys proved that while it was possible to ferry Army troops and materiel across the nation, the West Coast of the United States was essentially on its own in the case of an enemy attack, except for what Navy and Army forces were based in California. The khaki canvas stretched over the steel supports of the army trucks was reminiscent of the white canvas of the covered wagons. — El Dorado Hills (original LH section) — Galt — Stockton, CA. 100 years ago in the summer of 1919 an Army expedition of 81 vehicles set out to cross the United States from Washington, DC to San Francisco, California. The Dodges and Cadillacs performed admirably, MVPA Convoy Announcement: ‍ The Military Vehicle Preservation Association has POSTPONED the August 2020 Northwest Parks Convoy, NWP’20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a ceremony just outside the South Lawn of the White House, attended by Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the chief of staff, and assorted congressional members, the convoy started on its way just after noon. Powered by WordPress using DisruptPress Theme. [70-520-1] 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. The MVPA 2019 Transcontinental Motor Convoy will celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the original 1919 convoy route by driving from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, California, arriving over a month later. 1955 Ford COE with 55 Fords. One-ninth of the population of the United States was living within a zone ten miles wide along the Lincoln Highway, and it was estimated that local publicity in the states crossed brought the convoy to the attention of 33,000,000 people or nearly one-third of the population. Visit DT Vintage LLC for rare and hard-to-find classic car parts: 1958 CHEVY BISCAYNE GLOVE BOX DOOR WITH EMBLEM, 1946-1948 PLYMOUTH SPECIAL DELUXE DASH EMBLEM TRIM MOLDING #1065789, 1937 CHEVROLET TRUCK HOOD SIDE WITH EMBLEM, All I Want For Christmas . As Greany’s official report noted, “the expedition was assumed to be marching through enemy country and therefore had to self-sustaining throughout.” Hence the kitchen and blacksmith and machine shops attached to the convoy. The War Department estimated that 33 million Americans, one-third of the population of 106 million, were exposed in some way to the convoy. The objectives were: In the summer of 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy. Sources: “Army Motor Convoy Trip.” The 1915 transcontinental film convoy was a 4-month motor convoy beginning August 25 and ending at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The stated goals included the service testing of army vehicles, demonstrating the practicability of long-distance motor transport, encouraging the government expenditure necessary to a highway system, … Just outside the fence on the South Lawn of the White House is a squat granite monument, usually surrounded by tourists snapping shots through fence and awash in discarded soda cans and plastic water bottles. They reached San Francisco in little over a month. Perhaps above all, the convoy fixed in Dwight Eisenhower’s mind the necessity of a grand cross-country interstate highway system, which he championed as president nearly a half-century later. The film was directed by Henry Ostermann, Consul at Large for the Lincoln Highway Association, who travelled … A consensus was also reached regarding the performance of personnel. The performance of these three trucks is Note: Those interested in the First Transcontinental Motor Convoy can find an archive of online materials at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library website, including official reports, Ike’s report, the daily log, and wonderful photographs, all of which were used for this article. Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower - Transcontinental Motor Convoy, 1919. While the U.S. colonies in Asia, particularly the Philippines, were far more threatened by Japanese military expansion, the fear that Japan could one day attack the U.S. homeland drove the Army’s thinking about military modernization. … Weeks later, the men, bivouacking out in the open, shivered in the 30-degree temperature of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. “U.S. Hence, the need for a reliable national highway system. (On the recovery trailer) The 1920 US Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy drove from Washington DC to San Diego CA from June-October 1920 along the Bankhead Highway. Yet, by bringing the dream of cross-country automobile travel closer to a reality, the Motor Convoy helped change the course of American history just as much as more illustrious predecessors. An Army convoy set out to show it could be done. Convoy Half Way On Coast to Coast Trip.” The Washington Times, 2 August 1919, p. 9. Realizing the importance of a federal highway system, the Secretary of War authorized the Motor Transport Corps (MTC) of the United States Army to conduct this First Transcontinental Motor Convoy. More than 50 historic military vehicles will be on display Aug. 20 at Cantigny Park as part of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy, sponsored by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association. Sixty-two days after leaving the White House, the convoy reached Oakland, Calif., and was ferried across to its terminus in Lincoln Park, San Francisco, on September 6, six days behind schedule. Join Facebook to connect with Chris Bunch and others you may know. Perhaps most incredibly, just 50 years after the convoy struggled through the mud of Nebraska and the sands of Nevada, Americans stood on the surface of the moon. Unusual because Convoy built most of their equipment in their subsidiary "Westland Mfg Co". Can you imagine driving across the United States only a little faster than you can walk? Though ignored by nearly everyone who passes it, the monument marks the Zero Milestone for one of the most audacious expeditions in American history. 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy In the summer of 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in the first Army transcontinental motor convoy. Despite such obstacles, the convoy doggedly made its way across America, though by Day 5 it had already slipped its schedule. Over 54 percent or 1,778 of the miles traveled consisted of unpaved mountain trails, desert sands, alkali flats and dirt roads that quickly turned to mud when it rained. It included machine and blacksmith shops, water tanks, gas tanks and kitchen trailers. . All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. As the commanding officer in charge of the convoy, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles McClure, put it, “Motor truck transportation saved France, but France had roads.” Realizing the importance of a federal highway system, the Secretary of War authorized the Motor Transport Corps (MTC) of the United States Army to conduct this First Transcontinental Motor Convoy. the convoy, including Eisenhower himself. View larger. Eisenhower during a brief stop in Boone, Iowa during the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. The Townsend Highway Bill, legislation which established a Federal Highway Commission and appropriated funds for the construction of highways, was under consideration in Congress, and the fanfare surrounding the convoy helped convince the members of Congress to pass it. Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. The 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco used the incomplete Lincoln Highway. Absent the transcontinental railroad, US ships had to go around Cape Horn to get supplies from San Francisco to the East Coast and vice versa. had been damaged or destroyed by agents of an Asiatic enemy.”. The Transcontinental Motor Convoy consisted of 24 expeditionary officers, 15 War Department staff observation officers, and 258 enlisted men. Aftermath: The 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy September 23, 2016 / Blair Tarr / 0 Comments. As the convoy progressed toward the west, the roads worsened. In 1919, a military convoy of 81 vehicles set out to travel the Lincoln Highway--a line drawn on the map--from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. Fallon, NV — Silver Springs — Nevada State Railroad Museum (Carson City) — Lake Tahoe — Johnson Pass — Placerville, CA. According to an interview with McClure, this testing lead to the collapse of 16 bridges in a single day, and all destroyed bridges had to be rebuilt before moving on. All rights reserved. Big Ford Trucks. To commemorate this historic transcontinental convoy, some organizations are retracing the path taken in 1919. July 1919 [62-287] 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. When trapped in salt flats near Salt Lake or the Fallow Sink region in Nevada, all hands regardless of rank strove to save the expedition. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Kearney is home to Ft. Kearny, and some of those watching the 1919 spectacle had almost certainly witnessed the wagon trains that were still rolling through in the 1860s. Modern motorists will be … In August 1919 thousands of people in Nebraska and Wyoming greeted U.S. army soldiers with curiosity, patriotic cheer, and generous amounts of food and drink as they drove a convoy of early heavy trucks across the Great Plains. Semi Trucks. The worst day of the expedition was undoubtedly August 21, outside of Orr’s Ranch, Utah, where salt and sand ensnared the entire convoy. Given such receptions, the convoy did not quite act as a “self-sustaining” unit in enemy territory, as the War Department had originally envisioned. The first Transcontinental Motor Convoy set out from Washington on July 7, 1919, with 24 officers, 256 enlisted men and 17 observers. The Transcontinental Motor Convoys were early 20th century vehicle convoys, including three US Army truck trains, that crossed the United States (one was coast-to-coast) to the west coast. Those thousands who saw the convoy, and the untold millions who read about it in newspapers ranging from the Trenton Evening Times to the Duluth News Tribune and the Oregonian, helped create a deeper sense of nationhood across far-flung communities linked only by limited rail lines. . Cool Trucks Big Trucks. The convoy passed through roughly 350 communities across eleven states. “U.S. Parade-like scenes like this were common in every city that the Motor Transport Corps Convoy passed through. Transcontinental Motor Convoy In 1919 General Eisenhower led a convoy across the country. That's what Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower did in the summer of 1919, when he volunteered for the U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, California. What a great idea, and what an impressive array of historic vehicles! The convoy’s mission was to follow the newly designated Lincoln Highway (roughly today’s U.S. 30) to California to see if such a … . NY Governor gives Christmas pardons, commutations to illegal aliens, murderers, Ric Grenell claims Swalwell is in a ‘heap of trouble’ with Chinese spy allegations, Rudy Giuliani: “Starting After Christmas This Is Really Going to Blow Up”, Major explosion rocks downtown Nashville in apparent ‘intentional act’, Watching the kids’ reaction to Santa’s gifts was the best present, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library website, Google Now Facing Third Antitrust Lawsuit, Jesse Watters calls out Cuomo’s ‘delusional arrogance’ after touting hard work, Colorado study finds no link between gyms and coronavirus outbreaks, Biden’s Cabinet is going to be the U.S. branch office of the Chinese Communist Party. Over fifty military vehicles are expected to make the 3,200-mile journey, with an additional fifty vehicles making a portion of the trip. In 1919 General Dwight Eisenhower led a convoy of military trucks across the country to San Francisco. Like the wagon train, the convoy was also self-sustaining. Ike also devoted a short chapter to his experience on the convoy, “Through Darkest America with Truck and Tank,” in his volume of memoirs, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends. Smaller than its predecessor, with only 50 vehicles, the second convoy encountered similar, if not worse, road conditions and took 111 days to reach the West Coast, averaging only 30 miles a day. Garford truck, for example, was roundly criticized. Like thousands of others, my family drove across country last summer, and back again in the winter. part, but when weighed near end of trip, its gross weight was still 1,500 It might be surprising to consider that the War Department was interested in figuring out ways to defend the West Coast of the United States during the 1920s, but the U.S. Navy had already been planning for war with Japan, and the powerful Japanese Imperial army and navy had proved their mettle by launching both naval and large-scale amphibious and land war campaigns against the Chinese, in 1894–95, and the Russians, in 1904–05. A tractor, was the official tester 300, made up of enlisted,. 17 August 1919, a young Lieutenant Colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower participated the. The 1920 US Army Transcontinental Motor train '' delivered Pacific empire at the turn of the covered wagons steel of. As a test, the convoy doggedly made its Way across Nevada. ” Reno Evening Gazette 31! 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