I should point out that the 1205th was mobilized only once, and that was for the first Gulf War. The unit went to Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point and worked some very long hours, but there were plenty of "antics" that long-time members will recall. Compared to what other units endured, they got off pretty well. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, some members of the unit were sent on temporary duty to stateside locations to support load-outs, but there was no mobilization of the unit. This was probably due in part to more munitions being shipped in containers rather than boxcars, resulting in much less handling necessary at the MOTSU port, thereby reducing the need for reservist augmentation. Additionally, the invasion was planned long in advance, allowing for significant pre-positioning of munitions.
In early 2003 one or two rail crews were sent to Fort Carson, CO, to support post's load-out. Three people were sent (a fourth could not be found on short notice) to the port of Corpus Christi, TX, supposedly to do yardmaster duties in support of a New Orleans-based transportation terminal unit (TTU), with two 12-hour shifts and 24-hour coverage. The Corpus Christi Terminal Railroad had its own yardmaster and didn't need any others, and the three sent had no training or experience as yardmasters. What was actually needed was a daily car count, broken down by type and point of origin, on an Excel spreadsheet to be used in a daily teleconference by the TTU. The one reservist with computer skills provided this data each morning while the other two went to an extended breakfast. Total time expended each day on the spreadsheet was 60 minutes, sometimes 90. The other two would eventually return to pick up the third and then go goof off for the rest of the day. Those two would also spend half the night, each night, at the local strip bars, where lap dances were available for only $1 (much less than in New York City, they said). According to a local man, the city has more strip joints, per capita, than any other city in Texas, and those two reservists got to know many of them well. Amazingly enough, the one in charge of the trio put in for, and obtained, medals for all three from the TTU commander. The one who actually did the spreadsheet work fed his medal documentation into a shredder rather than shamefully have it entered into his record.
Are you sure you want to thank us for our service?
Back to railroads… Unlike their predecessors, today's Class I railroads are in no position to sponsor reserve railway units as they once did. Manning is greatly reduced and much too tight, and railroads really have nothing to gain by sponsoring units again. Post-WW II events also had a hand in this as well, such as when Harry Truman pissed off both rail management and employees in 1946. Below you'll find a link to the story, and the applicable portion is just below the link.
Harry Truman’s conception of presidential power as in principle unlimited was as manifest in his domestic as in his foreign policy. Some key episodes illustrate this.
In May 1946, Truman decided that the proper response to the strike of railroad workers was to draft the strikers into the Army. Even his attorney general, Tom Clark, doubted that the Draft Act permitted "the induction of occupational groups" or that the move was at all constitutional. But, as Truman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David McCullough wrote, in his typical stupefied admiration: "Truman was not interested in philosophy. The strike must stop. ‘We’ll draft them and think about the law later,’ he reportedly remarked." McCullough neglects to note that bold "action" in defiance of law is considered a characteristic of fascist regimes.
On May 25, Truman addressed Congress, requesting the authority "to draft into the Armed Forces of the United States all workers who are on strike against their government." His proposal was greeted with tumultuous applause, and the House quickly approved the bill by 306 to 13. In the Senate, though, the bill was stopped in its tracks by Senator Taft. He was joined by left-liberals like Claude Pepper of Florida. Eventually, the Senate rejected the bill by 70 to 13.