"History of the 
190th Port Company"
"History of the
Transportation Corps"
Award of Meritorious
Service Unit Plaque
"Anzio Annie"
An Heroic Story
Ernie Pyle's
"Let's Get Outta Here!"
"Stevedores of Port Battalion Carry on Prewar Jobs"
188th History
189th History
190th History
191st History

     The 488th Port Battalion was activated December 12, 1942 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pennsylvania.  It consisted of Headquarters Company and four companies – A, B, C, and D.  These were later changed to the 188th, 189th, 190th and 191st Port Companies.  Officer personnel came from various training facilities, and enlisted personnel were sought who had any experience in crane operating, stevedoring, longshore, tugs, barges, and any civilian occupation related to port operations. 

     After six months of intensive training at the “Gap,” mostly on a mock up ship affectionately called the “SS Neversail,” the battalion moved by troop train to the Boston port area for overseas assignment.  Nearly assigned to Churchill, Canada which was being considered as a shipping alternative to New York City due to the many ship sinkings by German U-boats, but this assignment never materialized.
During the summer of 1943, the 488th Port Battalion was sent to Boston, MA for hands on training in loading and offloading cargo ships.  The 488th was billeted in the Cahill building in southern Boston and bused to the docks at Boston Army Base, Commonwealth Pier, and Castle Island to work the ships there.

     From Boston, the 488th was sent to Fort Devens in Massachusetts to await an overseas assignment.  In the interim, the longshoremen in Boston went on strike.  The 488th was sent back to Boston to work the docks during the strike.  This time the 488th was billeted in Harvard Stadium, where they slept on cots in the walkways under the stadium seats.  (Where they got lots of fresh air and bugs!)  When the strike ended, the 488th returned to Fort Devens again to wait an overseas assignment.

     At 1900 hours on August 19th of 1943, the 488th Port Battalion was headed to New York aboard a troop train for the trip overseas.  At 0730 on August 20th the 488th Port Battalion was loaded on board a banana boat cruise ship, the USS Santa Rosa, converted to a troop carrier.  The Santa Rosa carried 5500 troops and the first contingent of 500 Women Army Corps (WAC’s) sailed out of New York harbor, without escort, avoiding waiting German submarines.

     The 488th arrived in Oran, Algeria, on the African continent, on September 2nd at 1630 hours. On September 28th They boarded the “Orontes” (an English ship) at Alturk, Africa at 1300 hours.  They arrived at Bizerte, Africa on October 2nd at 0700 hours.  Staying aboard the “Orontes,” they headed for Naples, Italy.  They arrived in Naples at 1130 hours on October 6th to find that the Germans had sunken a number of ships at the harbor entrance and at the docks. 

     In Naples, the 190th Port Company was assigned the main Pier One for cargo unloading.  Sudden bombings at night interrupted operations but the 190th Port Company was still able to set cargo discharging records.  Food, ammunition, gas, tanks, and even locomotives were unloaded.

     On January 21, 1944, the 190th Port Company left Naples for Anzio at 1300 hours.  They arrived north of the Tiber River on D-Day at 0900 hours on January 22nd.  On January 26th a German plane that had been shot down hit the ship the 190th was on at 1100 hours.  They 190th was forced to abandon ship and jump into the winter waters and swim for shore.  The ship sank. 

     On February 2, 1944, at 1430 hours, the 190th boarded the “William Mulholland” and prceeded to unload war materials. 

    On February 13, 1944, the 190th boarded the “Ely Yale” at 1000 hours.  At 1800 hours, the ship was hit by a bomb in the #4 hatch.  It was the only empty hatch on the ship.  (Hatch #3 contained rations. Hatches 1 and 2 contained gasoline in 5 gallon cans and 55 gallons drums.  Hatch #5 contained bombs and ammunition.)  Still, many soldiers were killed and wounded. 

     On February 24, the 190th boarded the “Rutledge” at 1630 hours.  The following day the 190th left Anzio aboard the “Rutledge” and arrived in Naples on the 26th at 0930 hours.

     On March 26th, the 190th boarded the “Morrison Waite” in Naples at 1000 hours and headed back to Anzio.  They arrived in Anzio at 1330 hours the next day and 2 days later returned to Naples aboard the “Morrison Waite.”  The 190th made 4 more trips back and forth, between Naples and Anzio aboard other Liberty Ships.

     On June 12, 1944, the 190th boarded the “Benton” and left Naples headed for Civitivecchia, Italy where they arrived the following day. 

     On July 29, the 190th left Civitivecchia by truck convoy headed for Piombino, Italy.  They left Piombino on September 16 aboard the “Benning.”  They arrived in Naples 2 days later where they boarded the “Pompeo Magno” (an Italian cruiser).  On the September 20th, the 190th arrived in Caglairi, Sardinia.  They were here until November 16, 1944. 

     On November 17th they left Caglairi aboard the “Vernon Pike” to take the 1-day trip to Naples.  On December 7, the 190th left Naples by train headed to Bari, Italy where they arrived the next day.  The 190th remained in Bari for almost 1 year. 

     The war ended in Europe on May 7, 1945, when Germans signed surrender terms at Reims.  Several months after the cease fire and surrender by the Germans, the 190th Port Company was given the task of receiving ammunition, which was to be loaded on ships and sent back to the United States.  The first ship to be loaded with bombs and ammunition was underway and more than half loaded when it suddenly exploded and destroyed most of the port of Bari.  Debris and ship parts were found several miles away from the port.  Fortunately, the ship exploded at noon time when most of the people were on lunch break.  The 190th lost 2 men, Sgt. Dubbs and Sgt. Jackovina.  However, many Italian civilians who were working on the ship and on the docks were killed.  After an investigation, it was never determined whether the explosion was sabotage or an accident.

     In November of 1945, with the war winding down, the 190th left Bari by truck convoy headed for Naples.  They boarded the aircraft carrier “USS Randolph.” where they celebrated Thanksgiving on there voyage home. 

     On December 1, 1945 the “USS Randolph” arrived in New York Harbor and on December 2 the troops boarded a troop train in NYC headed for Fort Devens in Massachusetts where they were discharged.

- Thanks to Ronald E. Snell
188th History
189th History
190th History
191st History
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