In the WWII era was there an organizational relationship between an "Engineer General Service Regiment" (EGSR) and a "Service Unit" ? I have items from both the 1303rd Engineering General Service Regiment and the 1303rd Service Unit. Are these items part of the same "1303rd" organization? The 1303rd EGSR was a temporary bridge building unit that served under General Patton's Third Army in the push from Normandy to Germany in 1944/45. I don't have any information about the 1303rd Service Unit except that it was based in Camp Lee, Virginia in 1943.
What was the difference between a WWII Engineer General Service Regiment and a Service Unit?
I can find no record of any 1303rd at Camp Lee. The 1303rd Engineering General Service Regiment was out of Camp Ellis in Illinois, and is well documented in books and online. Camp Lee appears to have been mainly a Quartermaster Officers Training school at the time. Can you provide images of your 'item'? (Is it the Christmas program from ebay?)– justCalJan 19, 2017 at 14:51
From my military experience: "engineering" is rather specific and is usually a technical unit with a specialization. "Services" is other kinds of support like food, kitchens, sanitation, etc. And it is common place at least in the Air Force to have multiple units with the same number. IE, 99th Comm Squadron, 99th Engineering Squadron, 99th Services Squadron, usually because they are all under one Wing.– SmithJan 19, 2017 at 15:04
Reading back over your question, my first suspicion is that the 1303rd existed as a Services unit state-side and was then re-missioned to Engineering and deployed.– SmithJan 19, 2017 at 18:18
user2448131: Yes the one item is the Christmas Program from Ebay. The other items are photos, ribbons, etc. from my father's service in the 1303rd EGSR.– FiddyOhmJan 20, 2017 at 20:15
I added a link to the Christmas program in your question to so others can see more info on the Camp Lee unit.– justCalJan 21, 2017 at 16:43
It is likely that both units you are referring to were part of the same EGSR Regiment.
The preface of the book Patton’s Fighting Bridge Builders: Company B, 1303rd Engineer General Service Regiment, by Joseph C. Fitzharris states that Company B was just part of the Regiment, and there were six other 'line' companies within the regiment. So there were other units out there that could have been at Camp Lee. Company B, however, was training at Camp Ellis in Illinois, as described in a web page concerning Earl Hall, the Officer in charge of the unit.
The cadre was formed in July of 1943, and grew to nearly full size at 1,700 men by March of 1944. The men trained by building bridges across the famous Spoon River in Illinois.
So whatever unit was present in Camp Lee, it wasn't Company B, but it might still have been another Company within the same Regiment. The Wikipedia article on Engineer Combat Battalions, which I believe is the current terminology, also mentions multiple companies,
Also known as "combat engineer battalions" (CEB), they were typically divided into four companies: A, B, C, and Headquarters and Service (H&S)
So besides the 'line' Companies, it may also have been typical to have a regiment Headquarters Company (Known as Headquarters and Headquarters in Army battalions.
I Have not been able to find which of these other companies may have been stationed at Camp Lee, but it could very well have been a member of the same regiment as Company B.
user2448131, thank you for your answer. In the book cited by Fitzharris on page 181 is an organizational chart of the 1303 EGSR. There were 6 companies (A thru F) divided into two battalions. There is no mention of a "Service Unit" in the chart. Else where in the book an "administrative" unit is mentioned which I think was situated stateside. I guess my question comes down to numbering. Is it possible two separate organizations within the US Army could have the same #? How are these numbers chosen? Is the 1303rd EGSR literally the 1,303rd such regiment? "Camp Lee" is not in the books index.– FiddyOhmJan 21, 2017 at 12:28
I found a book on Camp Lee, and searchng its contents, the number 1303 did not appear at all. I also searched it for the name of the Commanding officer listed in the Christmas program, Lepper, and got no hits. The item looks authentic, I have a similar one of my fathers from the 82nd Airborne in 1949, but I have had no luck verifying any of the info from the one on Ebay. As I stated above, however, the 1303rd EGSR was definitely not at Camp Lee at that time, they were at Camp Ellis. (I also looked for the Emblem on the cover of the program and had no luck).– justCalJan 21, 2017 at 16:44
1user2448131: You have been exceedingly helpful with your answer and comments. Examining the points you raise about the Xmas program I see Major Lepper's title is "Major, Infantry, Commanding". Does the "infantry" element hold a clue as to the purpose of this Service Unit? The emblem on the front cover: I am not well versed in military terminology & symbols, so the 3-pointed inner part of the emblem looks to me like the unique cross-section of an architect's scale (ruler). These were also used by mechanical and civil engineers of that era. Or, is this tri-point a standard heraldry device?– FiddyOhmJan 22, 2017 at 11:41
The 1303rd EGSR trained at Camp Ellis. The regiment had a headquarters company and 2 battalions, each with a headquarters company and three (3) line companies (A,B,C for 1st BN,D,E,F for 2nd BN). The BN HHS Cos. had drafting and technical support but Regiment had more specialists and so on. After training, they moved to England and then to France, Luxembourg, and Germany, serving as combat engineers, then took the USS Gen. John Pope to the Philippines to go in with 1st MARDIV in November 1945. They were never at Camp Lee.
2Linking your sources would improve this answer immensely. Dec 8, 2022 at 3:21