Product DescriptionExcerpt from the website of Frank "mahknut" Picchione, Company Clerk/44th HHC & 697th.
Historical Background on the
44th Engineer Group (Construction)
in Thailand from 1962-71
Friendship Highway - "The Road" - Under Construction
Photo Credit to "Super Surveyor" Roy Ney (see above work...)
Visit our Photo Gallery - click here!
* Looking for donations for a good photo depicting the work performed in Thailand, in the jungles, by members of the
44th Engineer Group (credits, of course, to donor.) Photo should be no larger than 640x300 and 45K or less in size.
The U.S. Army is made up of many military units, divisions and corps from the combat arms to the logistics. The Engineers are a breed apart representing both combat service and major construction projects in support of combat. Working under what may be termed "less than favorable conditions," or little choice as to location for a project, but "get the darn job done!" In the jungles of Thailand, the U.S. Army was hard at work supporting major support activities for both the Vietnam War and the Secret War in Laos.
The 44th Engineer Group was assigned the task to build roads and a support (logistics) network based in the plateau region of central Thailand known as "Korat." The Group had only a couple of battalions, 538th & 809th and some other support companies for such task as laying pipe in ditches of the camps, bases and roads (697th.) I was the Company Clerk for Headquarters, at first, but then requested a transfer to the 697th (Pipeline.) It was with the men of the 697th that I learned just what hard, sacrificing work these young men performed with pride. Like my company officers, we were probably 4-5 years older than most of these young troops; my C.O. (Commanding Officer,) educated and commander was only a couple of years older than me and I looked upon our company members with a paternal feeling.
This section of my web site is to celebrate their hard work and pay tribute to those "faceless" grunts of the ditches and roads, far away in the jungles of Thailand ...
To tell this story, provide you with historical background, I am soliciting the support of those same "grunts", those same people that provided the support and earned the right to wear the Vietnam Service Medal, awarded for service to the war effort in Vietnam (direct support of same.)
Members of the 44th wore the "U.S. Army Support, Thailand" Command Army Patch, you see to the left. Effective 1 October 1992, AR 670-1, Ch. 27, Para. 17, b (3) authorized service members stationed in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia to wear the distinctive unit patch on the right sleeve of their military uniform (combat patch arm/sleeve.) Unfortunately, this was a stigma to plague veterans of such service throughout their military career until late 1992 when it was finally acknowledged and many that served their country with pride had retired. "We could wear the ribbons, but were actually segregated from the "norm" of having the privilege of saying "I served in S.E.A" with the recognition of the unit patch on our "vacant" arm along with the standard current unit of assignment patch on the other arm ...
My (personal) mission (here) is to "make it right" for all of us that served our country with pride. We may not have been shot at or mortared, but we did not choose are "method of engagement" - the Army sent us and we did what we had to the best of our abilities ! Many of us have (forever) ties to Thailand through marriage to their culture, customs and preference of wedding. You will find many sections and "sois" (Thai for "roads") on my web site and before I continue the story of the 44th, let me make reference to another army unit responsible for logistics, the 9th Logistics Command which provided the supplies transported along the roads we built and stored in the buildings we erected ...
PURCHASE PATCH BELOW.