543rd EBSR
2010 reunion details below!

History of the 543rd EBSR from the National Archives as extracted from the original records of the 543rd EBSR and 3rd ESB. Additional materials contributed by Oliver R. Smith Co. C 543rd EBSR

The 543rd EBSR page of this site is dedicated to Oliver R. Smith who passed away April 20, 2003. He was as dedicated as one could be to preserving the history of the 543rd.

"3rd Engineer Special Brigade 2010 Reunion"

The 533rd EBSR,543rd EBSR, 593rd EBSR and any others of the 3rd ESB and Engineer Special Brigades and Army Amphibians are coming together for a combined reunion that will be held Thursday June 24th to Sunday June 27th, 2010 at the DOUBLE TREE - OAK BROOK, 1909 Spring Road, Chicago .

Rooms may be reserved at $85 PER night, PLUS taxes.
To reserve your rooms, call the hotel at 1 (800) 222-8733. You must tell them you are with the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade Reunion. Prices will be guaranteed until 3 weeks before the reunion. This price comes WITH breakfast
(buffet style?).

For those who plan to fly in, Taxi service can be arranged through the following services.

Blue Cab 1 (800) 779-3131
Price from O'Hare $28.00 each way
Price from Midway $32.00 each way

Brookfield Cab 1 (866) 519-2420
Price from O'Hare $28.00 each way
Price from Midway $30.00 each way

Reunion Events

Hospitality Room - The hospitality room is free. This is a room available for casual get togethers from late Wednesday through Saturday evening. Actual times open will be available Wednesday June 23. Two optional tours will be available. Group banquet Saturday evening. Shopping and sightseeing on your own.

Reunion Event Details and Schedule - Subject to change so please check back !!

Thursday June 24th - check in and social time in our private hospitality room. Dinner is on your own.
Friday - Optional Tour #1 -
Bus leaves the Hotel at 9:00 AM. Tahking the group into the city, we will tour from the bus. Downtown Chicago, including historic sites. Memorial Water Wall Veteran's Memorial at Soldier Field, the Magnificent Mile, New Millenium Park. Also the Water Tower that survived the Chicago Fire, then on to Navy Pier. A wonderful sight. Here we stop for an hour lunch on your own. After lunch we take the Architecture Tour on the Chicago River. Then back to the hotel by 3:30. The price is $60.00 per person. (Todays Price)Dinner is on your own.

Saturday - Optional Tour #2 -
Bus leaves the hotel at 10:00 AM and we head to CANTIGNY WAR MUSEUM, the country estate of Col. Robert McCormick. The Museum commemorates the distinguished service of men and women who served our Nation since its birth. The Tour cost is $40.00 per person and includes a professional guide. This tour will be held if 30 persons express intere st. The afternoon and evening is free for socializing or siteseeing. A banquet will be held Saturday evening at the hotel. It will be buffet style and cost $35.00 per person (including tax).
Maps of the area will be posted soon as will area restaurants. There is a restaurant in the hotel.


When you register for the reunion, you also need to notify Steve Pentek who will be collecting funds for the banquet and tours. His contact information is:

Steve Pentek
9940 W. 53rd St. #1B
Orland Park, IL 60462
(708) 226-1231

Your unit contacts are : 533rd 593rd EBSR and other Engineer Special Brigade Units
Steve Pentek
9940 W. 53rd St. #1B
Orland Park, IL 60462
(708) 226-1231


Eric Pederson
426 Harold Ct.
Freehold, NJ 07728
(732) 409-0925

543rd EBSR
John Cooper
11781 Julie Dr.
Baltimore, Ohio 43105
Work Phone - (614) 692-4218
Home Phone - (740) 862-6373
Email - john.cooper@

This reunion is open to all 3rd Engineer Special Brigade personnel or any other Army Amphibian who wishes to join us!!

In Memoriam

Roll Of Honor of Soldiers who died while serving with the 543rd EBSR

as found in in the 3rd ESB Monthly Reports unless otherwise stated. Not necesarily a complete listing.

Captain Glen Reemsnyder Company F circa July/August 1944 Injured by a shifting truck while riding in an LCM at Sansapor, New Guinea. Shipped home and dies 6 months later of his injuries.

Pfc Jose del Valle Hq and Hqs Company Died of wounds received 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Pfc Milton J. Haas Company F Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Pfc Charles G. Grisgraber Company F Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/4 Harry P. Leuchak Company D Died of wounds received 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Pfc Howard D. Cather Hq Company 2nd Battalion (Shore Bn) Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Pfc Clifford Masker Company D Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/4 James W. Carter Hq Company 2d Battalion Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/4 Lawrence W. Kramer Hq Company 2d Battalion Killed in action 10 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/4 Rollo C. Heidrich Company C Killed in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/5 Edward C. Swaggert Company C Missing in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Sgt Wayne A. Sorge Company C Missing in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Pfc Henry B. Cummins Company C Missing in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

2d Lt Russell T. Holland Company C Missing in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

T/4 Wayne R. Wright 1462d EBM Company attached to 543rd EBSR Missing in action 15 March 1945 Zamboanga, Mindinao, Phillipines.

Company C 543rd Reunion, Morgantown, Pa. 1998 while serving with the 543rd EBSR

This photo shows a group of soldiers of the Hq and Hq Company. They were most likely part of the motor pool as the sign in the background indicates. Identified in this photo are: Kneeling left to right, Hickman ,Burns, Katsul, Paul, Hruska, Rogers, Packard, McKinney, Propp and Standing left to right, , Johnson, Holmes, Steffin, Mr. Smith, Addington, Howard Marsh (father of this photo's donor), Pichen, Delong

Please contact Rodney Marsh < rmarsh@scsengineers.com > if you have any information on the men in this photo.

Left photo - T/5 Larry "Irish" McMahon December 24,1945
Right photo - Mary Lou and Larry "Irish" McMahon at the 543rd reunion October 2003. Poetry written by Cpl Larry J. "Irish" McMahon while serving with the 543rd EBSR

The History

The Regiment landed in Milne Bay during December 1943 and January 1944. The critical shortage of LCMs in the Theatre caused a substantial part of the Regiment to be utilized in the assembly lines of the 5211th Steel Hull Battalion which was erecting LCMs shipped in sections from the U.S. When this crisis eased a few weeks later, the Boat Battalion operated an extensive convoy service bringing new craft and critical supplies to New Britain and the Huon Peninsula. In April the Regiment, now under command of Lt. Col. Hughes, shifted its base to Finschhafen and continued its emergency supply service to forward areas. With the enemy-held coast between Madang and Aitape stretching nearly 300 miles, an intermediate refueling base was set up by the 543d, first at Kronprinz Harbor and then at Bogia. This outpost, which was raided occasionally by the Japs, was essential to the operations of all brigades as the scene of the fighting moved ever westward along the New Guinea Coast.

Company A of the 543d made what was undoubtedly the record pre-assault cruise by small landing craft during the war. Leaving Milne Bay it moved steadily up the coast, stopping only long enough to refuel, for a distance of 1400 miles to Biak. There it rested briefly and made the 70-mile assault dash to Noemfoor Island July 2, 1944. An amusing side to this story is that Vice Admiral Barbey, commanding Seventh Amphibious Force, initially refused at Biak to let the boats make the 70-mile run to Noemfoor under their own power on the ground that such a long run was too much for open landing craft!

Meanwhile the rest of the Regiment had been attached to the 6th Infantry Division and on July 30,1944 landed at Sansopar near the western tip of New Guinea. Here its existence was very similar to that of the 533d at Aitape. Bad beach and surf conditions, life on a small offshore island for the Boat Battalion, and hard, dusty work for the Shore Battalion, were common to both places. Moreover, the Jap division cut off to the east at Manokwari, kept harassing the perimeter and on occasions involved Boat Battalion gunboats and other craft in sharp clashes.

Still attached to the 6th Division, the Regiment, less the Boat Battalion but with most of Companies A and B, embarked in navy transports and landed in Lingayen Gulf on Blue Beach immediately south of the 533d. Because this beach had almost impossible surf conditions, it was abandoned within a few day's and the 543d moved to White Beach and operated there under control of the 533d. Its boat elements shared the crowded Bued River with the 533d Boat Battalion.

Early in February, the 543d Shore Battalion and Regimental Headquarters Company moved by LST to Mindoro where they were joined by C Company and attached to the 41st Infantry Division. On March 10 they landed at Zamboanga, Mindanao, suffering numerous casualties from the intense shellfire laid down on the beach. In the next few weeks a series of shore-to-shore operations down the Sulu Archipelago stretched C Company to the limit.
Jolo, Basilan and Tawi Tawi were the most important, the latter being only 30 miles from Borneo. As the main fighting on Mindanao shifted eastward and the 533d became spread around the island, Company D and two platoons of C Company moved to Parang to reinforce the 533d.

Meanwhile most of A and B Companies had remained at San Fabian, Luzon, attached to the 533d until the latter moved out and thereafter attached to the 534th. In April they shifted their base northward to San Fernando and in July, in conjunction with elements of the 544th EB&SR, they made an unescorted end run around the northwest tip of Luzon to Aparri where they awaited the descent of the 11th Airborne Division.

In June, Colonel James Walsh was named to command the Regiment and he and General Ogden selected Major Lawton of the 533d to command the Boat Battalion. The scattered Regiment was gradually concentrated at Leyte during the summer of 1945 and attached to the 81st Infantry Division for the attack on Kyushu. After the surrender the Regiment remained with the 81st, landing in late September at Aomori on northern Honshu where it remained until November when it moved to Yokohama for return to the U.S. and inactivation.

Chronology of the 543rd EB&SR


Highlights taken from “Engineers of the South Pacific 1941-45, Volume IV” “Amphibian Engineer Operations” published by the Office of the Chief Engineer, US Army Corps, 1959.

8 April 1943, 3rd EAB arrive at Ft. Ord, CA with 378 officers and 7005 enlisted men (after training in Massachusetts). Stayed 5 months at Ft. Ord before bulk of 3rd EAB shipped to SWPA in November, 1943.

10 December 1943, 543rd stationed at Milne Bay (first SWPA assignment) at LCM assembly plant.

18 June 1944 and after, some companies of 543rd participate at Wakde (Yellow Beach), followed by road construction at Toem and Tor River, New Guinea, then on to Maffin Bay where they off-loaded 7200 tons of supplies.

24 July 1943, 543rd left Maffin Bay to participate at Sansapoor (Co. B and D). Transport from Hollandia, landed at Sansapoor about 28 July. 543rd (about 2085 troops, less Co. C) remained at Sansapoor about four months. DUKWs “came into their own” under circumstances at Sansapoor.

9 January 1945, 543rd landed at Blue Beach I and II at Lingayen Gulf. Moved to Mindoro about 14 Feb to prepare for Zamboanga on Mindanao.

9-10 March 1945, 543rd participated in hostile landing at Zamboanga (nine members of 543rd killed during first two days of landing). Operation ended 20 June and 543rd moved to Leyte to prepare for operations against Japan.

16 March 1945, Co. C of 543rd assisted in landings on Basilan Island (from Zamboanga).

31 March 1945, Co. D and E participate in landing at Sanga Sanga in the Tawitawi island group (from Zamboanga).

9 April 1945, Co. C and F assist with landing at Jolo Island.

18 September 1945, 543rd moves from Leyte to Aomori, Honshu, Japan (arrive 25 Sept). Attached to Sixth Army as part of occupation forces.

Early 1946, 3rd ESB deactivated bit by bit and returned to US.

Prepared by: John Cooper, 11781 Julie Dr. Baltimore, Ohio 43105, (740) 862-6373

Return to 533rd Chronology Return to 3rd Brigade This page created as separate page 03/29/03 and last updated 12/29/09.