The content in this site is derived from a commemorative booklet prepared in 1945 by my father, Will Hoppe (Brooklyn, NY) and Bob McKean (Mount Vernon, NY), with photos by Nick Kischitz (Newport, NH).

See complete scans of the booklet here.

26 thoughts on “About

  1. Tala (Munther) Davidson

    I am Talis Munther’s (medic) daughter and only child, and so happy to see information (especially in the form of your dad’s wonderful booklet) on the 286th Engineer Combat Battalion. Because my dad died at a young age in 1968, I know very little about his time in the military. I believe I may have photos taken during my dad’s time in the battalion – if I can find them I will scan them and send along. If there are any members of the battalion that remember my dad, I would love to hear from them.
    PS. We may be related: my mom’s maiden name was Hoppe. e-mail me and we can figure it out. Thank you again.

    1. Rand Post author

      Hi Tala,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I’d be happy to post any photos you may come across of your dad’s time in the battalion.

      – Rand

  2. Jim Williams

    My father , Charles Williams was the captain of company C—he passed away in April 1987—never did want to talk about the war that much until he near the end of his life—He did mention Colmar and that is was rough—This is fascinating and fills in some gaps–thank you for putting this on the web and most importantly for your service–
    Jim Williams

  3. Georgia footman

    I googled “Gus Kollias” who was my grandfather immigrated to US from Greece and died in Montana in 1955. I came across this website that has a photo of “Gus “the Greek” Kollias. I dont know how to tell if that is him in the photo. Does this mean that he was in the military? What is the rank of the uniform in the photo? I have been looking for information on my grandfather for over 40 years. Whatever additional information you could provide on this photo, I would be very much grateful.

  4. Tom Mueller

    To Georgia footman: I also responded to one other message that you left, in another area of this very fine site. The Gus Kollias who was in the 286th Combat Engineers died in Chicago in late 1990s. He ran a restaurant there for a few decades. He thus would not be your relative.

    1. Renee Tynes

      Thank you for your book Building Bridges to Victory. Robert “Tex” Tynes reads it every day. He will be 100 April 7, 2020. I am looking for your last letter to dad as I would like to buy 15 more of this book.

  5. Eileen

    Wow….I was looking into family links and found this site. My uncle Peter Dutka apparently was part of this company and I was thrilled to find his photo.
    Pete was from Olyphant, PA (near Scranton) and was the second oldest son in a family of eight. My father was his younger brother. Pete married, moved to a suburb of Cleveland and worked for the Postal System for his entire career. He and his wife raised two daughters. Pete was a kind, good-hearted man and never spoke of his military experience.
    Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute.

  6. John Attanasio

    My father is Joe (The Nose) Attanasio from the Motor Section. I wanted to write and let you know that he turned 92 in March and is living with my brother in South Buffalo, NY. He is in pretty good health and in the past few years he talks about his old army unit and the great guys he served with in France, Belgium and Germany. I made him a shadow box with his army patches, ribbons, picture, etc. and he just loved it. Thank you for putting this site together because it helped to fill in much of the information on my Dad’s service.
    John Attanasio
    USMC Combat Veteran (Vietnam)

    1. Crystal Anestos

      To John Attanasio,
      Can you ask your Dad if he remembers any of this battalion going into Eagles Nest? I’m trying to verify that my dad was there. It is ok to reveal my email. If so, Mr Attanasio I would like to hear from you! Very important!
      Thank you,
      Crystal Anestos
      Daughter of Paul Anestos who was in HQ and was also known as The Rebel or Pavlos, his name in Greek

    2. Jon Blankenship

      My uncle Charles Pruitt (CP) Blankenship served in the 286. He never spoke about his time in the service. Now that he has passed we are trying to gather any information about his unit and service during the war. I have not been able to gather much. If anybody can give us any insight it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

      1. rand Post author

        Hi Jon,

        I see there’s a Theodore M Blankenship with the address Box 12 Rural Retreat, Virginia on page three of my dad’s “Address Roster”. Could that be him?

        1. Jon Blankenship

          Thanks for the reply. Its not him I also saw the roster. He is from Fort Mill South Carolina. Still need help finding info. Thanks

  7. Rick Joseph

    My grandfather was with the 286th an he was at Eagles Nest. He gave me a bunch of pics of Hitlers bombed home and hotel. He is also in the picture of Hitler doesn’t live here anymore.

  8. Susan Dellaperute Wagner

    I’m Sal Dellaperute’s daughter. My Dad passed away in 1977, and he didn’t tell us very much about his time in the service. If anyone would like to share information about him, I’d love to hear it. I googled his name, and this site came up, so thank you! It’s great to discover this part of my Dad’s life.

  9. James Kaminski

    My father Joseph Kaminski was in the Co. A, 286th Engineers, Combat, Battalion. Pops never talk much about his time in the war but they did have reunions. I have letter from a reunion in Chicago Ill Sept. 13, 1991 and it list 54 members of the 286th. There is;
    Gus L. Kollias
    Alex Maximovich
    William J. Mueller
    Nick Dohrn
    Walter Kruenagle
    Winston Pete Petersoen
    O.W. (Wally) Wallin
    Col. William Sinko
    Chet Kerchensky
    Robert Sanders
    John Eschback
    John Pirrung
    W.D. Stillinger
    Thurman Blizzard
    Edgar Albert
    Bill Finkle
    Walter Gorman
    Vincent (Skipper) Munday
    Raymond L. Gelinne
    Fred Olsen
    Elmer Tarras
    Leonard Schectman
    Steve Szabo
    Richard N. Borack
    Michael Sabatine
    WM. Bruss
    Frank Sporna
    Phillip D`Anganto
    Joseph Kaminski
    Charles Long
    Bob Dickey
    Alfre Plante
    Herold Missal
    John Copland
    John J. Grassi
    Sam Main
    Loyd H. Mazingo
    Edward Easterling
    Frank W. Hardy
    Richard Davies
    Jessie McCallister
    John Granda
    Harold Agler
    Earl Franz
    Hort Roberts
    Vernon Hart
    Francis Murry
    Ted Simon
    Lloyd Mozingo
    James McGrath
    1st Lt. John Gironda
    Alford Plante
    This is the last one my attended.
    I all so have a letter in the company fomat of ” Travels of CO. A, 286th Engr. Combat BN. APO 655 Poastmaster New York, N.Y.

    Sept. 4, 1944 – Left Camp Carson, Colo.
    Sept. 6, 1944 – Arrived FT. LeonardWood Mo.
    Oct. 11, 1944 – Left Ft. LeonardWood, Mo.
    Oct. 13, 1944 – Arrived Camp Kilmer, N.Y.
    Oct. 21, 1944 – Arrived at Brooklyn Navy yard.
    Oct 22, 1944 – Left for over seas aboard the Italian ship Saturnia.
    Nov. 2, 1944 – Arrived at Southampton, England and departed for Northern England.
    Nov. 3, 1944 – Arrived at Delemans park camp, near Chester England.
    Nov. 23, 1944 – Thanksgiving in Manchester England.
    Dec. 25, 1944 – Left for Bailey bridge training.
    Dec. 26, 1944 – Alerted for shipment to France and returned to Delemare park camp.
    Dec, 28, 1944 – Left Delemare park camp.
    Dec. 29, 1944 – Arrived at Southampton England.
    Dec. 30, 1944 – Boared a Polish ship ( Sobieski ) for France.
    Dec. 31, 1944 – Arrived Le Harve, France. A town really torn up. A 15 mile hike to Bivouac in a field.
    Jan. 1, 1945 – Cold and Hungry, waiting for Q.M. transportation.
    Jan. 5, 1945 – Arrived Forge Les Eaux, there was a cow pasture, barn and a Hotel.
    Jan.9, 1945 – Traveled by 40 and 8 (hiways signs) to Luneville France. An 8 mile hike to Blainville France
    slept in the gym.
    Jan. 11, 1945 – Arrived at Ft. Delong champs, an old French fort.
    Jan. 27, 1945 – Solonge France, first occupied homes.
    Jan. 30, 1945 – St Croix Aug Mines — Tobacco factory.
    Feb. 2, 1945 – Kaiserburg, cotton mill. First time near the front. ( some shooting )
    Feb. 8, 1945 – Colmar, our first battle star.
    Feb. 19, 1945 – St Avold, first bath in quite some time.
    Feb. 21, 1945 – Sarrable, many outfits and a lot of mud.
    Feb. 22, 1945 – Sarrguemines, first steps into Germany.
    Mar. 18, 1945 – Kliensblittersdofin, occupied a German mansion.
    Mar. 24, 1945 – Bitche – bivouac.
    Mar. 25, 1945 – Hassloch, searched German homes for arms.
    Mar.29, 1945 – Viernhiem – across the Rhine.
    Mar. 31, 1945 – Furth – just slept ther for a night.
    Apr. 1, 1945 – Miltenberg, Easter sunday. Obtained Russian “K.P,s”
    Apr. 11, 1945 – Wurzburg, a German city really torn up.
    Apr. 12, 1945 – Michelfield – Bivouac- an air raid alert.
    Apr. 16, 1945 – Zell, assualt boat training. ( Bed check Charlie came around every night.
    Apr. 19, 1945 – Kuperferzel – bivouac.
    Apr. 22, 1945 – Hessental.
    Apr. 24, 1945 – Bettringen.
    Apr. 26, 1945 – Gunzburg – Ferrying on the Danube.
    Apr. 28, 1945 – Fishbauch – plenty of Slave Laborers.
    Apr. 29, 1945 – Lansberg – P. W. cages and lots of Dead Slave laborers.
    May 1, 1945 – Weilheim – Trucks all broke down and wrecked.
    May 3, 1945 – Bad Tolz – all day to build a bridge.
    May 5, 1945 – Kufstien, Austria.
    May 8, 1945 – WAR ENDS, 21 gun salute ( parade of the supermen ) Beer party, everyone happy, C.B.I. or
    Thats the way it is written.

    James Kaminski


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