Regarding C/716ROB, I have a copy of the unit history too. The incident it described is certainly nothing any unit would want to dredge up and review in detail. In all fairness, though, they could have done much worse. For example, they could have been involved in the crimes described in this book:
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Then there's this from page 273 of The Filthy Thirteen
by Richard Killblane and Jack McNiece, the memoirs of a pathfinder in the 506PIR of the 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The book reads: "...immediately after Holland, General Maxwell Taylor had been ordered to report to General Marshall in Washington, D.C., on account of the crimes by some of the men in his division. Evidently there were reports of the men looting property and blowing safes. The men had accumulated fine furniture in their fighting positions... Momentum was building for the airborne divisions to finally get rid of their troublemakers.
Afterwards the 17th, 82d, and 101st Airborne Divisions unloaded their worst cases for transfer out of the theater. They were loaded on a train. Stories came out of how they would sell overcoats and shoes for high prices to civilians at the train stops, and then another paratrooper with an MP brassard would come up and confiscate the government property from the unsuspecting civilian. He would then return it to the original owner and they would repeat the process. This scam made them a fortune. The unruly paratroopers eventually took over the train and stopped in a town where they raped a number of local women."
As for the project proposals, there are so many to discuss that it's not possible to do so in a single sitting, and I have a big day ahead of me, so I'll have to do it in pieces. Let's start with this from page 14:
Military installations that are within 50 radial miles of each other will be connected by a Military rail line between installations for an increase of rail transportation efficiency, while keeping needed personnel and equipment low. Route planning and land acquisition for the main line should be completed during Phase 1. Maximum length for Military Rail Corridors should be kept to 200 miles.
joint base installation railroads
· Ft Bliss Rail Corridor. Ft Bliss, Biggs Army Air Field, McGregor range, White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman Air Force Base
· Camp Lejeune Corridor. Camp Lejeune and MCAS Cherry Point
· Ft Eustis Corridor. Ft Pickett/ Ft Lee/Ft Eustis, Yorktown naval weapons station and supply yard, Langley Air Force Base, Norfolk naval yard and Naval Air Station Oceana
· Joint Base Lewis McChord. Ft. Lewis, McChord AFB, Naval Base Kitsap, and Bangor
I've been to all of these locations so I'm familiar with them.
Taking Fort Eustis and Langley AFB as examples, I'm wondering what traffic exists between these bases that would require the construction of a military railroad to provide a direct connection. The latter had rail access at one time, but it was torn up a very long time ago because it was no longer needed. Connecting them by rail via a new line would require the acquisition and demolition of countless homes and business between the two of them, which would be both enormously expensive and unpopular in the local area, and the justification for it remains to be seen. Even if the requirement were real and the cost savings could be proven, it would be asked why the military couldn't simply rebuild the old base track off of CSX into Langley and use the existing CSX tracks between the two bases to ship freight instead of tearing out so many existing structures for what would clearly be seen as a redundant rail line. You could also expect significant push-back from local governments since the various homes, businesses and real estate taken for the construction of such a line would no longer be generating tax dollars for the local economy.
NWS Yorktown tore up its rails (after a complete overhaul) about 15 years ago, as did NAS Oceana (without an overhaul -- those tracks had been derelict for quite some time). By "supply yard" I assume you mean nearby Cheatham Annex, which shipped out its last GE 80-ton in October 2000 and then tore up the tracks since there was no longer any need for them.
In addition to the TIdewater area bases mentioned above, Naval Base Norfolk (separate from NSY Norfolk in the Portsmouth area) once had two GE 80-ton locomotives operating over a base railway system which closed in the early 1990s. The tracks were subsequently torn up and today it's hard to find any trace of the base railway.
In addition to acquiring new rights-of-way that would demolish huge numbers of homes and businesses, connecting bases on the north side of the water (Eustis, Langley, Yorktown, and Cheatham Annex) with those on the south (NSY Norfolk and NAS Oceana) would require the construction of a very large bridge, or at the very least, setting up a rail ferry operation.
In Washington State, I know of no reason to connect JB Lewis-McChord by rail with the two separate naval base operations of Naval Base Kitsap on the far side of the water. Each conducts its own missions without much the need to ship large quantities of freight between them by rail.
It would be very hard to sell this to DA, Congress or the taxpayers tasked with paying for it all, as the requirements for such lines appear to be little to none and the costs simply astronomical.
The ROB Revival Project paper claims that money will be saved by transferring freight currently shipped by truck to rail. Presumably this would provide the justification for base-to-base rail lines, new locomotives, new facilities, new units, etc. Asserting there will be savings is not enough. You'll need to provide valid numbers, far more than those currently included in the paper, to show this is actually true in these specific cases.
Commercial railroads have actually shown a lack of interest in such freight for military bases. Left out of the paper is the Defense Logistics Agency and its bases, all of which closed their rail operations in the 1990s. They had had rail networks within them that were lightly used and were only retained in case of "the big one" (world war with the USSR, although that may have proven to be very short and unpleasant for all life on earth if it had ever taken place). Then along came the Gulf War and, although DLA wanted to ship cargo by rail, its connecting commercial carriers were very uncooperative, so shipments moved by truck. Given how "useful" the national rail network was to DLA in time of war, and given the end of the USSR, the justification for DLA rail operations was clearly at an end. All of the DLA base railways were torn up, the locomotives were sold off, and the rail cars either scrapped or sold.
Page 7 reads: "The first step in phase I is to reactivate 7 to 12 Railway Operating Battalions," although the units described are much closer to companies than battalions. In any case, given the large reductions the Army is undergoing now, activating new company-strength rail "battalions" is simply a no-go at the DA level.
Security of rail shipments is mentioned. Here's a story related to me years ago by an employee of the Cape Fear Railways, the company operatimg the post railway at Fort Bragg. A military freight train that required security left the post with MPs aboard a caboose at the rear of the train. As the train was paused in Fayetteville, the MPs ran over to a liquor story and brought back some "supplies" to keep them in the proper mood during the trip. Later, as the train was rolling down a track parallel to a road, a state trooper observed one of the MPs, wearing only shorts, "surfing" atop the caboose. He radioed ahead to the yard in Hamlet and CSX railway police off-loaded the drunken MPs. CSX had had enough and, since it was their railroad and they made the rules, that was the end of escorted shipments from that location.
Something else for next time: It's the nature of government organizations to want to grow and consume both more taxpayer dollars as well as the budgets of competing organizations. I'll get into this more later.