The Second Armored Division was formed at Fort Benning, Georgia, on July 15, 1940. Training of the new division was the responsibility of Col. George S. Patton, Jr. Patton was now a brigadier general and the most colorful of all the division's leaders. While on maneuvers Col. Patton reportedly said the division would be "Hell on Wheels" when it met the enemy. The name stuck and became part of the division patch.
The Second Armored Division was one of the first two American Armored Divisions formed. When written in full the name of the Engineers unit also contains the word Combat. Many of their normal duties, like laying bridges, road-maintenance, laying and lifting of minefields, were performed under enemy fire. That is why training for combat was a part of their education.
During World War II, Army Engineers first placed floating bridges and later fixed bridges across the rivers of Italy, France, and Germany, supporting hotly contested crossings of the Rapido, Roer, and Rhine rivers. Crossing the Rhine day or night on a pontoon bridge is not as easy as it may sound. Joe was a driver in the 2nd Armored Battalion. He had to keep his eyes focused on the vehicle in front of him and maintain his proper interval. “Your wheels are in the bridge tracks and you just pray nothing goes wrong to dump you over the side and into the river” he would say.
Joe served in Casablanca, French Morocco, the invasion of Sicily, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. His Date of Separation from the Army, with an Honorable Discharge, was on Oct 17, 1945.
Essayons, sound out the battle cry.
Essayons, we’ll win or we’ll die.
Essayons. There’s nothing we won’t try.
We’re the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Pin the Castle on my collar.
I’ve done my training for the team.
You can call me an engineer soldier.
The warrior spirit has been my dream.
We are builders, we are fighters.
We are destroyers just as well.
There’ve been doubters who met with the sappers
and then we blew them all to hell.
Our brothers fighting on the battle field
look to us to point the way.
We get there first and then we take the risks
to build the roads and airstrips
and bridge the mighty river streams.
We don’t care who gets the glory
we’re sure of one thing this we know
somewhere out there an engineer soldier
designed the plan for the whole darn show.
Essayons, whether in war or peace
we will bear our red and our white.
Essayons. We serve America
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Sing to the tune of "Battle Hymn Of the Republic"
Chorus: (sung after each verse)
We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the Engineers.
We can, we can, we can, we can demolish 40 beers.
Drink up, drink up, drink up, drink up and come along with us.
Cause we don’t give a damn about any old man who don’t give a damn about us!
My father was a miner in the upper Malamute.
My mother was a hostess in a house of ill repute.
They kicked me out of house and home, in my tender years
so I told ‘em all to go to hell and joined the Engineers!
Godiva was a lady who through Coventry did ride.
Showing all the villagers her lovely lily hide.
The most observant fellow was an Engineer of course,
he’s the only one that noticed that Godiva rode a horse!
"I've come a long long way" she said, "and go as long and far
with the man who'll help me off my horse and to a bar”.
The men who helped her off her horse and stood her to a beer,
were a bleary eyed surveyor and a drunken Engineer!
A tanker and an Engineer were drinkin’ from a can,
the tanker to the Engineer "Out drink me if you can!".
The tanker took one drink and then he started turning green,
but the Engineer kept drinking it was only gasoline!
The Air Force and the Navy came to town to have some fun,
down into the taverns where the fiery liquors run.
But all they found was broken glass, the Engineers had come.
they traded junk filled demo bags for gallon kegs of rum!
Now Venus was a statue made entirely of stone.
Not a fig leaf on her, she was naked to the bone.
And seeing that her arms were gone, two Engineers discoursed,
"Of course the damn things broken, and it should be reinforced"
Caesar went to Egypt at the age of 53,
Cleopatra's blood was warm, her heart was young and it was free.
But every night when Julie left the house at 3 o'clock,
there was a Roman Engineer awaiting just around the block!
Sir Francis Drake and all his men set out for Misery Bay.
They heard the Spanish Rum Fleet was a headin' out that way.
But the Engineers had beat them by a night and half a day,
and though as drunk as hooligans you could still hear them say,
"We lay down all their rolling roads, we cut down all their trees
and if the orders ever come, we'd forge the raging seas."
Whenever they want to sleep a while, we put them up a town,
and we build the blasted bridges so the Infantry won’t drown!
We put them over rivers and across the mountains streams,
do everything but tuck them in, and wish them pleasant dreams.
When the goings really tough, and bombs do burst their ears,
the whole divisions quick to say, "GOD SEND THE ENGINEERS!"
We build and blow your bridges and fix your roads up too.
There aren't too many things in life an Engineer can’t do.
You never seem to need us till your minds are full of fear,
then the first thing that you call for are the Combat Engineers.
We build and guard your barriers, we build your bunkers too.
And each and every way prove what Engineers can do.
For in the thick of every fight, the cry has been for years,
"Come clear the path, save our ass, you Combat Engineers!!!"