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Return to Gowen Field - preparing to ship out

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Gowen Field Barracks

The warm and dry barracks buildings at Gowen field
photo from battalion official history


When the 801st Engineers returned to Gowen Field on 23 October 1943 after three months of tent life, the rough barracks must have seemed very welcome. But the increase in the tempo of military training gave a warning that this comfortable state would be temporary.

There was still time for projects, parades and recreation. A motor pool area and a parade ground were just the two largest engineering activities. The 801st participated in an Armistice Day parade in Boise and earned the distinction of being the best outfit on parade, a feat it would repeat several times in its career. There was keen intra-battalion competition between basketball and football teams.

Throughout November each company held a party, paid for with company funds, at a hall or hotel in Boise. Star attractions were large amounts of beer, music, and a buffet supper. Also notable was a unit of WACs (Women's Army Corps) that had recently arrived at Gowen Field and were fortunate to be invited to each event.

But on 18 December, 1943, the fun came to an end. The battalion was notified that they were to be moved to a Port of Embarkation.

Next: shipping out >

Invitation to a party

Party Invitation

After more than 60 years the invitation to the Headquarters & Service Company party at the Owyhee Hotel in Boise still survives. Includes the names of every man in the company and their guests, the officers of the 801st. see more >>