Red Ball Express Motor Pool Museum opens

Sunset over the Museum. In the foreground a ?Training Hull? for an M60 Tank

Sunset over the Museum. In the foreground a “Training Hull”¬†for an M60 Tank

The Estrella Warbirds Museum has opened its newest addition, the RED BALL EXPRESS MOTOR POOL, with a ribbon-cutting event on September 17, 2015. Almost 150 guests had accepted the Museum’s invitation, including the Mayor of Paso Robles and the City Manager with 2 Councilmen as well as friends as far away as San Francisco and San Diego. Also present were members of the Museum administration and staff as well as a group of volunteers and docents, several benefactors and others.

After introductory remarks by Jerry Takier, President, Mike Levine, Public Information Officer, explained the mission of the museum and plans for its future growth.

Herman cutting the RED RIBBON to the Red Ball Express Display

Herman cutting the RED RIBBON to the Red Ball Express Display

Then the ribbon-cutting took place, beginning with an addition to the Woodland Auto Collection and then the opening of the RED BALL EXPRESS building, also known as the Pfauter Building. Mr. Woodland and Herman Pfauter spoke briefly about our involvement with the Museum. Pfauter explained the term Red Ball Express which was given to a gigantic logistic undertaking of the US Army in WWII from late August to early November 1944 in Western France.

More than 20,000 US soldiers, approximately 75% of them African-Americans, drove around 6,000 GMC 2 1/2 ton 6X6 cargo trucks around the clock from the ports and beaches of Normandy eastward to the fast advancing front toward Germany.

Another view of the Display

Another view of the Display

During its rather brief existence it transported more than 400,000 tons of supplies – mostly gasoline, ammunitions, rations, etc. on designated one-way roads off-limits to all other military and civilian traffic.

Also used for heavier cargo were the famous 10-ton tractor-trailer rigs by Autocar, Federal, International and Marmon-Herrington.

General Patton considered the 2 1/2 ton GMC trucks his “Most Valuable Weapon” – General Eisenhower was convinced that without organizations such as the Red Ball Express WW II in Europe would have lasted longer than it actually did.

Another view of the Display

Another view of the Display

Herman at the Wheel of his 1945 Ward LaFrance Heavy Wrecker

Herman at the Wheel of his 1945 Ward LaFrance Heavy Wrecker

The Red Ball Express Motor Pool Building presently showcases several US military vehicles – all WWII-vintage and representing the vehicles that were actually used on the Red Ball Express. Others will follow in due time.

If you visit California, plan a stop at the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles in Central California, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Estrella Warbirds Museum, Inc.
4251 Dry Creek Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446
HOURS: Thur., Fri., Sat., Sun. & legal Monday Holidays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m
805 227-0440; http://www.ewarbirds.org/

 

 

 

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