At the beginning of WWII the Army Engineers tried to fill
the need for
capability to make large scale landings, Although the Marines were the
designated group there was no way they could handle the large numbers of troops.
So the army founded the Engineer Amphibian Command at Camp Edwards Mass.
They had two brigades already formed and were training a third when the Navy
got miffed and insisted on being in charge of the landings. Since one
Brigade was already in the Pacific they continued to the end of the war and
made many landings. The regiments of the other brigade were not assembled
but some units were already in England including the 2nd Battalion of the
36th . The 36th from the beginning was a Combat Regiment and at one time
included one battalion of the 540th Engineers. The original planning was to
have a Boat Regiment and a Shore Regiment plus all the supporting
troops, QM, Signal, MP etc. Most of the troops continued in their organization
but no longer as designated Amphibian troops. The 36th adopted the
seahorse because it was their original mission and, as it turned out,
were used as a sort of Amphibians throughout the war, Our 2nd Bn
sailed from England to land in Algiers and the lst and 3rd Bn
landed near Casablanca. In Africa the 3 Battalions were united for the first time
and the 36th made subsequent landings in Sicily at Licata, in Salerno where H
Co of the 36th landed in an end run with the Rangers, earning a Presidential
Unit Citation . The next landing was at Anzio where we were mostly used as
Infantry for four months and the final landing was in Southern France.
So we did make the combat landings even though the Navy wanted to be
in charge. Incidentally they screwed up the first three landings and it
wasn't until Anzio that they got their act together. When the Seabees showed
up they were useless. Good luck with your reunion and tell the guys we
wish them well.