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Subdeacon Joe

1919 Army Convoy

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In 1919 the U.S. Army decided to send a convoy of trucks, motorcycles, tractors, and men on a transcontinental trip from Washington DC to San Francisco. The road they would follow was the recently completed Lincoln Highway. Some of the convoy's journey was filmed, and we look at the section from western Nevada to San Francisco, California. The text comes from a diary and film record made during the trip.

 

 

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Haven't watched the videos yet, but wasn't a young Dwight Eisenhower one of the officers on this trip...?

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55 minutes ago, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

Haven't watched the videos yet, but wasn't a young Dwight Eisenhower one of the officers on this trip...?

 

Yep.

https://aashtojournal.org/2019/07/12/celebrating-highway-history-the-u-s-armys-1919-cross-country-convoy/

 

One hundred years ago this month, a U.S. Army convoy consisting of 81 vehicles, 24 officers, and 258 enlisted men set out on a 3,251-mile transcontinental journey, primarily as a way to test the ability of the military to move great distances over roads under wartime conditions.

The convoy took 62 days to complete the trip from Washington, D.C., to Oakland, CA, with nine vehicles and 21 men unable to finish the journey due to breakdowns and injuries, respectively. Few of the roads were paved at the time, forcing the convoy to creep along at an average speed of just over 5 miles per hour.

As a result of the poor conditions, then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower – who joined the convoy at the last minute “almost on a lark” in his words – reported that “extended trips by trucks through the middle western part of the United States are impracticable until roads are improved.”

His experience with convoy also informed his decision years later as president to create the national highway system that bears his name.

The 46,000-mile interstate system – which had been on Bureau of Public Roads drawing boards since the late 1930s and approved, in theory, by Congress in the 1940s – lacked funding for construction.

As president, Eisenhower helped push that funding through Congress so a road trip that once took him and his companions over two months to finish can be completed in two or three days.

 

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I read his book "At Ease, Stories I Tell to Friends" about fifty years ago.  Your post sparked that memory.  :)

 

 

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I think Ike’s decision to construct a highway system was mostly based on the tremendous highway system Hitler built in Germany.

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I read somewhere that the interstate would be required to have straight stretches of at least a mile every so often, so the road could be used as an emergency landing strip.

 

And that overpasses had to be high enough that a tank sitting on a tank carrier could drive underneath it.

 

I thought of that one while watching them take some boards off that bridge bottom, to give the truck clearance.

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IIRC, one of the supposed reasons for the interstate highway system was to "allow evacuation of the major cities in the event of a prospective attack by the Soviet Union!" :o  Even back in the 1950's, anyone who believed that would be possible had never had to contend with rush hour traffic jams!  As a matter of fact, check out the traffic jams occasioned by evacuations due to oncoming hurricanes!  Whatever the professed reasons presented to Congress to finance the construction, it got them to appropriate the money.  Having taken an automobile trip with my folks as a kid in the early '50's from Chicago to Biloxi, Mississippi, where there were many places we had to drive over two-lane roads, I can well appreciate when the interstates were built. Now all we have to do is maintain them!

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The Eisenhower interstate highway system has to have 1 mile straight for every 5 miles of road to be used as alternate landing areas for military aircraft. I read that on an old toll ticket from the NY State thruway.

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If you live between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains you can thank the ICBM program for your rural blacktop roads. 

They were built to interconnect the missile silos and launch facilities with SAC bases. 

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