Jump to content

Very uncommon 1279th Combat Engineer patches


mortaydc60

Recommended Posts

This unit the 1279th combat engineers were part of the 158th Bushmasters and were an African American unit.These do not come up very often and two just sold on Ebay for very handsome sums actually  near airborne levels. The one with the tab is a much more difficult one to find.

s-l1600-26.jpg

s-l1600-25.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was watching the one with the tab, it really shot up at the end. It is a beautiful patch so I am guess I am not too surprised by the ending price. 

donation2019.gif

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I found the 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion was not a black unit in WWII, it, the 1279th Engineer Combat  Battalion was formed from the 131st Engineer Combat Regiment. The 131st Eng Regt  itself was early wartime formed unit, formed from diverse National Guard units in March 1942 at Cp Shelby Mississippi, these were the Headquarters and Service Company of the regiment, which was curiously formed from the Headquarter Battery of the 150th Field Artillery Regiment Indiana National Guard, formally of the 38th Division, the 1st Battalion formed from the 2nd Battalion 113th Engineer Combat Regiment Indiana National Guard, formerly of the 38th Division, with the 2nd Battalion formed from the 2nd Battalion 107th Engineer Combat Regiment Michigan National Guard, formerly of the 32nd Division, none of these units are to use the Army term then "Colored".

 

131st Engineer Combat Regiment does go overseas as a unit in November 1942,The Pacific, its sent to New Caledonia, it goes to Guadalcanal in August 1943 to stage, and then its on to  New Georgia at the very tail end of that operation, probably sees no action, it later goes to Bouganville December 1943 and there it sees action we should think and  gives the 131st Eng Cmbt Regt its only Campaign Credit, Northern Solomons. 

 

131st Engineer Combat Regiment  itself is broken up, on Bougnaville May 1944, It is the 2nd Battalion 131st Engineer Combat Regiment that goes on to form the 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion when the 131st Engineer Combat Regiment is broken up, and from there the newly formed 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion stays in the Solomons and is in New Britain, here we imagine is where it first is assigned to the 158th RCT as that Infantry units 2nd Battalion, but it seems to have remained on New Britain as it takes no part in the New Guinea Campaign and  is there till it goes in on the Luzon operation, 9 January 1945, it might of made an amphibious landing., and here it would be assigned to the 158th RCT full time right.

 

The 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion is inactivated in Japan 17 January 1946.

 

The confusion of it being a called a Black unit the whole time stems from the only real online info on it, which is when it was reactivated in the Michigan National Guard sometime in 1950, and is at this time exclusivity Black,the Michigan Sites we see this is in error,  it does not differentiate between the WWII unit and the post war one, the WWII one which in theory while being formed from an element of the former Michigan Nation Guard, the 107th Engineer Combat Regiment, was really not a part of the pre war Michigan NG.  It was just allocated to the Michigan NG post war and took the linage and campagn credits of the WWII one, which was no problem as it was standard policy.

 

Here's a good albeit brief summary of the 1279th Combat Engineer Battalion in the Korean War period, its federalized and sent to Germany.

 

https://www.vialibri.net/years/books/13762934/1952-photo-album-korean-war-era-african

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting information but it is completely contradicted by the the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs of Michigan.gov website. States that it was a Black unit and actually had Black officers commanding. Lets atleast agree that it is a rather rare item and highly desireable and let the historians fight it out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just go to Ebay and check out highest priced sold items ($612) and see all of listing. Anyway here is the back.

s-l1600-25.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, mortaydc60 said:

Interesting information but it is completely contradicted by the the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs of Michigan.gov website. States that it was a Black unit and actually had Black officers commanding. Lets at least agree that it is a rather rare item and highly desirable and let the historians fight it out. 

Without a doubt a great patch, but as we love to study units from all time periods, we need to  clarify sometimes , if just for the men who were in this unit and might of worn this patch.

 

Yes that's the one site, that was I was referring too DMVA. They are comparing the WWII unit with the one reactivated post war, which was black, and I don't know why, it's simple or should be simple for them when they compiled this.

 

So we'll make this for the historical record, the WWII 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion was formed from the 2nd Battalion 131st Engineer Combat Regiment, which in turn was formed from the 2nd Battalion 107th Engineer Combat Regiment of the 32nd Division, Michigan National Guard. units that were not black, Stanton's Order of Battle WWII does not list the 1279th as "Colored" if it was it would of been been.

 

 

A blog from the Korean War Project that talks about the WWII 1279th, as we see a least three Italian and one Russian or Polish name is mentioned.

Still trying to find information about my Japanese flag captured by 1279th.
Looking for history concerning its capture. Names on the flag: Cirillo,
Choinski, Finckbone, Bianchini, Horen, Lucchese, Francum, Foley, Cox?

 

And here's one man in the battalion, Bruce Huffman, Huffman interestingly was from the Indiana NG, 38th Division, of the  division's 113th Eng Cmbt Regt we should think, as mentioned it was the 2nd Battalion 113th Eng Cmbt Regt that forms the new 131st Eng Cmbt Regt's 1st Battalion. so he probably was a transfer to the 2nd Battalion of the 131st, that's the one formed by the Michgan unit and would form the 1279th. Huffman is MIA and presumed dead eventually in the invasion of Luzon, on what we believe was either USS LCI(G)-365, USS LCI(M)-974,USS LST-1028, the first two were sunk, the last one damaged, we haven't ascertained which one the unit or some of the unit was aboard. He is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing in Manila.

 

 

56761.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another Vet of the unit.

 

Harold N. Wilson

 

wilson-pix.jpg.6c000e6036438d3d4ce7556268cf4f86.jpg

"I went to OCS (Officer Candidate School) at Fort Belvoir after graduation. After various training assignments, I was within a half day of being shipped to North Africa. Instead, I was shipped out to the South Pacific as a replacement officer.

Our ship sailed from San Francisco to Noumea, New Caledonia for a month of training, building an obstacle course, etc. we shipped out to Bouganville Island via Guadalcanal. There I joined the 1279th Engineer Combat Battalion as Reconnaissance officer."

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to do more checking to see if there was a pre WWII unit by this number, which might of added to the confusion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Checked the U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 to see about that 1937 date we're seeing in that Michigan site, but he highest numbered battalion formed in the post WWI period is 973, a reserve unit from Oregon.

 

973rd Engineer Battalion (Heavy Ponton)(GHQR)     Organized Reserve Oregon
HQ-Not initiated1928-30; Portland, OR, 1930-33
Constituted in the Organized Reserve 5 September 1928, assigned to the General Headquarters Reserve, and allotted
to the Ninth Corps Area. Initiated 28 January 1930 with headquarters at Portland, OR. Demobilized 1 October 1933.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.