From the Stars and Stripes archives

Olive grove office fills 187th Infantry supply needs

Sfc. Robert Chinn works at his desk beneath an ancient olive tree near Beirut in August, 1958.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 23, 1958

BEIRUT — There's an office in an olive grove up in the Lebanon hills. In charge Is Sfc Robert Chinn, whose job it is to distribute a mass of supplies handled by the supply and transportation platoon, 1st Abn Battle Gp, 187th Inf.

The job of the platoon is massive, for it has to supply 11 units, seven of which were flown here from Augsburg, Germany, and the others belonging to the Provisional Abn Brig.

"We supply these units with everything ..." Chinn said. "Our big classes are food, ammunition, gasoline, replacements for vehicles, and general types of supplies. We have 23 trucks which bring and deliver supplies every day."

The supply and transportation platoon is another of those outfits which operate around the clock. It is a seven-day, operation, although in a stationary garrison like those in Germany it is normally a six-day function. A normal day begins at 4:30 am.

Chinn rigged up his desk in the trunk of an ancient olive tree. From his position he can see the tons of supplies massed in the area which have to be moved each day.

Assisting him In the operation are Sfc Albert Clarck, ammo chief, Sgt Raymond Marinelli, truck master, and Sp5 Ted Turpin, who handles property records.

While the platoon delivers supplies to group units by truck, the latter have their own problems in getting food, water and other necessary items to the men in the front lines.

Co B of the 187th, for instance, is holed up in the mountain area a good distance from Beirut. It has to be supplied with food and water each day by helicopter.

The sight of the choppers landing supplies fascinates the natives who live in the hills. They watch admiringly as the cargo is unloaded in a matter of minutes and carried by men to their outposts.

Sfc. Robert Chinn supervises the loading and unloading of rations.

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