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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
August 7, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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August 7, 1997

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Death Vafiey JEFF MOORE--Mine operator-- "Yes. My kids are too, for some reason, rm not sure why." Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, August 7, 1997 15 Gazette on the street... Are you anxious for school to start? Pahrump Pahrump Pah00mp NANCY CHAUItAN -- Licensed Practical Nurse - "No. There are a few more things I want to do before summer is over." CHRISTINE MARSH Waitress -- "Yes. The kids are bored and I need a vacation." RYAN WARD, Age 9-- Student - "Yes. So I can see my friends. I -- "A little bit. I want to get back amanxioustomeetmynewteacher to basketball and baseball, andI and wear my new school clothes." love math." Compiled by Gazette staff photographers 482-301 6 No to Abuse 751 -111 8 --ono 3ah 24 Hr. Crisis Line Pahrum Nevada then and now Lincoln Highway military convoy by Phillip 1. Earl Nevada Historical Society n July 7, 1919, the largest convoy of military men and equipment ever to cross the United States set out from Washington D.C. for San Francisco via the Lincoln Memorial Highway. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. McClure of the Motor Transport Corps, the " junket was organized for the purpose of surveying the state of the nation's roads, promoting federal-state cooperation in highway construction projects, demonstrating the practicality of transcontinental freight operations and recruiting men to replace those being discharged as they returned from World War I service in Europe. Consisting of 72 vehicles, a mobile machine shop, kitchen trailers, two ambulances, 12 staff cars, several motorcycles, a 3,000,000 candle-powered searchlight and 280 officers and enlisted men, the convoy reached San Fran- cisco on September 6, a scant four days behind schedule. Among the officers assigned to the convoy as an observer was Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower, a member of the Tank Corps stationed at Ft. Meade, Maryland. "I wanted to go along partly for a lark and partly to learn," he reflected many years later. "To those who have known only concrete and macadam highways of genre grades and engineered curves, such a trip might have seemed humdrum. But it had never been attempted before and in those days we were not sure that it could be accomplished at all." Eisenhower was not impressed with McClure's leadership. "It took a week or ten days to achieve any kind of march discipline," he wrote. "Roads varied from average to nonexistent. Even in the earliest days of the trip where the roads were usually paved, sometimes with concrete, we were well supplied with trouble." Captain A. E. Ritchey, Company E, Fifth Engineers, supervised the rebuild- ing of 65 bridges during the two months the convoy was on the road and his men also ballasted narrow roads, filled washouts and potholes and towed trucks which had sunk in the sand up to their hubs. The trucks also experienced mechanical problems - blown bead gaskets, burned bearings, clogged fuel pumps and carburetors and all manner of other woes. Eisenhower came to believe that the drivels were incompetent. "Some of them," he recalled, "had never handed anything more advanced than a Model T. Most colored the air whh expressions in starting and stopping that indicated a long association with teams of horses rather than internal combustion engines." Officials of the Lincoln Highway Association joined the convoy along the way, as did representatives of a dozen automobile manufacturers and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company Band, sent out from Akron, Ohio to entertain the men in camp each evening and play concert engagements in communities all across the country. Lincoln Highway officials preceeded the men and machines, making arrangements for camping and other accommoda- tions. One youth drove on ahead of everyone, claiming to be the official scout. He was wined, dined, entertained and put up in the finest hotels by civic officials who were eagerly planning a rousing welcome for the men. l On August 21, H.C. Osterman, Field Secretary for the Lincoln Highway Association, and Captain Ritchey arrived in Ely, Nevada. As Osterman lP consulted with town officials, Ritchey went on ahead to inspect the road to Eureka and examine the condition of the bridges. County road crews had already completed their own inspections and had placed stacks of timbers at bridge sites for use in strengthening the structures. Captain J.W. Murphy, a recruiter, and the Goodyear Band showed up on Saturday, August 23. The bandsmen played for a large crowd on the courthouse grounds that evening and Murphy talked to a number of young men of the opportunities available to them in the Motor Transport Corps. Just before 2 p.m. the next day, the first elements of the convoy began to arrive. Proceeding to Citizens' Park, they circled the trucks and began setting up tents. Mrs. Joan Weber of Ely's Red Cross chapter had meanwhile made arrangements for the men to shower and clean up in private homes and they were guests at a supper in the park later in the afternoon. That evening, the band once again played for the citizens of Ely at the courthouse park and the soldiers and young ladies of the community later repaired to a local dance hall where the floor was entirely given over to them. Reveille was at 4:45 the next morning and the trucks were on the road by 6:30 a.m., too early for most of those residents who had planned on coming down to see them off. Osterman had meanwhile gone on ahead to Eureka where he and F.L. Arbogast of the War Camp Community Service met with ntatives of the local Red Cross chapter. The Goodyear Band arrived early in the afternoon and put on a concert in front of the Europa Hotel that evening. Holly Sosyman, leader of the band, took requests from those who came out and he and his bandsmen played for a social dance at the Eureka Theatre later in the evening. Colonel McClure had planned on leading the convoy into Eureka late that afternoon, but steep grades, alkali flats and problems with two bridges ' delayed the men and they made camp at Pinto Station, seven miles south of town. Rolling into Eureka next morning, the men paused for ice cream and cake served by the ladies of the Red Cross before driving on to a flat north of town where they set up camp for the night. The Goodyear Band had left for Austin earlier in the day, so there was no dance, but Colonel McClure gave the men three-hour passes into town. In an interview with a reporter from the Eureka Sentinel, he expressed his thanks to the citizens of the community. "We were a dirty looking lot of soldiers; but we were on the last end of a decidedly hard journey," he said. "We like the western people. They have shown towards us a spirit of welcome and friendliness which we will never forget. The entire personnel of the convoy will look back on Eureka as a community of friends." (Next week: Part two, on to Austin, Fallon, Carson City and San Francisco) Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower at the time of the Lincoln Highway Motor Transport Corps expedition across the United States in the summer of 1919. (Dwight D. Eisenhower library and museum, Abilene, Kansas) photo by Nevada Historical Society