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Bronze Award

14 October 1998

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From the former members of the 697th Engineer Company, our prayers go out to all the victims, the survivors and all the rescue personnel involved. May God be with you always.

The 697th Engineer Company (Pipeline) was assigned to the 44th Engineer Group and served proudly from 29 August 1965 thru 1 December. In 1968 the authorized strength was 178.

It was the only pipeline company to serve in Thailand. Due to its diverse mission and the vast amount of support needed by both the US Army and Air Force, both teams and platoon size elements were dispatched when and where needed.

Not only did the 697th support all elements in Thailand, but from mid 1966 to March of 1967, 2nd platoon was deployed TDY to Viet Nam to support units there.

Also, in early 1968, all but six of the men in base camp and 2nd platoon deployed to South Korea to lay a pipeline there.

As stated above, the mission of the 697th covered all pipeline aspects. It included but was not limited to laying underground water, sewage and drainage pipes, installing plumbing in newly constructed facilities, erecting 10,000 gallon fuel and/or water storage tanks(and smaller water towers) and associated pumping stations. They also installed large culverts, built and remodeled buildings, and bridge repair.

According to some former members, laying the water lines was a very demanding (and dirty) mission due to the low quality pipe(pressure treated concrete) being used and the wet soil within most areas. They were constantly digging pipe back up to repair leaks or replace whole sections of pipe.

Another serious problem encountered with this type of pipe, was that if the pipe were in the ground without any water in them, and it rained heavily, the pipe would float to the top of the ground, pull apart, fill with water, and then sink back into the mud.

Being only a company sized unit and dispersed in so many directions, the personnel of the 697th sometimes lived in tents and worked out of trailers. "C" & "K" rations were not unknown. When attached to a larger unit they always got the pleasure of living in hootches.

As another former member (Tom Petty) states " I was so proud of the 697th because we were sent to so many places and were so independent…on some jobs we didn't even have an officer, we just went out and did it on our own!". On one job at Udorn the Platoon leader for 2nd platoon rotated out and Headquarters said to "just finish the job, we'll have someone when you get back".

In the following pages you will read about the different platoons, the way they lived, their mission and their thoughts. Under the SCRAPBOOK section you will find some great photos donated by former members.

A special thanks goes to Mr. (SP4) Tom Petty who has spent many long hours scanning his huge collection of photos for this site.

Any comments, additions, corrections, etc. would be greatly appreciated. We are especially looking for info on the 3rd Plt and pictures and mission when the 2nd Plt was deployed to Viet Nam and South Korea.

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Updated: 5 March 2001