Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

March 2020

Artifact of the Month

713th Railway Operating Battalion Distinctive Unit Insignia

At the outbreak of World War II the Army needed experts who could handle certain missions without extensive additional training. Most of the early Army railroad units were therefore composed of men who worked for specific Railroad companies. The 713th Railway Operating Battalion was formed on March 12, 1942, and consisted entirely of men who worked for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Their job was to clear, repair, and build military railways as well as operate the trains.

The 713th, known as the “Santa Fe Battalion”, formed at Camp Clovis, New Mexico, and after initial military training was sent to Camp Dix, New Jersey, on January 21, 1943. The unit was first sent to North Africa where in seven months they transported 500,000 tons of cargo in 47,255 rail cars. The 713th went from North Africa to Italy and then on to Southern France. They ended the war in 1945 serving in Western Germany.