This is the Home Page for the
97th Engineer Battalion (Construction)


This web site originally began because of personal service with this great battalion and company at Vassincourt, France. A growing perspective of the unit and its movements naturally called for an expansion of the files on this site to include all we know about the service of the unit at the above listed locations. As material becomes available it will rest in an appropriate time–line section of the web site and displayed on the Great Task Bar. Contributions to the site from former members and their families and others who desire to experience and support our growing knowledge base are appreciated. Donald M. Ricks, Webmaster.


Headquarters and Service Company served at Verdun (Maginot Caserne), France
The battalion headquarters eventually relocated to Etain, France.

Company A initially served at Toul, France, then moved to Vassincourt.

Company B initially served at Trois Fontaine Ordnance Depot, France, then moved to complete Toul Engineer Depot.

Company C initially served at Verdun (Maginot Caserne), France

Company D
(formerly Company A),
built the base at Vassincourt, France, about February 1956,
within the furtile northeast Province of Lorraine.

Units of the Battalion also served with distinction at Etain, Toul, Vassincourt, and Verdun, France. Unit history records show that the unit relocated to Pirmasens, Germany, and then to Fort Riley Kansas, where it was inactivated on 22 October 1971. As material becomes available, we will also display appropriate photographs and history to highlight units. If you have material to share, please contact the webmaster.
On 25 August 1952, the battalion underwent an administrative integration of Negro personnel into the battalion, which reached 19 percent of total manpower by the end of the year.
Source: 97th Engr Bn History, France, page 6.

In accordance with directives by the Department of the Army and Fort Belvoir Engineer Center,
dated 16 April 1957, October 1 was officially designated:

Organizational Day for the 97th Engineer Battalion

great shield of the Province of Lorraine

Theatre des Operations, map from pp. 16-17, Bataille de Vassincourt, by Maurice Pierre, Guerre 1914-1818, 6-12 Septembre 1914

The above drawing is of the Canal de la Marne, which flows generally along the Ornain River, west to east from Revigny–sur Ornain to BAR–le–Duc. I have a copy of the book attributed within the photo file (roll your mouse over the photo), which was given to me by Remy Nacarro, who wrote in the book:

Le dessin ci-dessus est du Canal de la Marne, qui coule généralement le long de la rivière Ornain, d'ouest en est à partir de Revigny-sur-Ornain à Bar-le-Duc. J'ai un exemplaire de l'ouvrage attribué dans le fichier de photo (Passez votre souris sur la photo), qui m'a été donné par Remy Nacarro., Qui a écrit dans le livre

Don, here is a book about a military campaign, 1914-1918. A friend of mine named Koziel gave the book to me. He was a Polish sergeant stationed at Trois Fontaine. Sergeant Koziel was for several years friends with Marian “Mario” Kowalski (1928–2003), who was stationed at Vassincourt Military Base.

For a larger version of the above map, click here
(Pour obtenir une version agrandie de la carte ci-dessus, cliquez ici)

Traduction française: Don, voici un livre sur une campagne militaire, de 1914 à 1918. Un ami à moi qui s'appelle Koziel donna le livre à moi. Il était un sergent polonais stationnés à Trois Fontaine. Sergent Koziel a été pendant plusieurs années d'amitié avec Marian "Mario" Kowalski (1928-2003), qui était en poste à Vassincourt base militaire.

Some photos taken from the book: Theatre des Operations, Bataille de Vassincourt,
by Maurice Pierre, Guerre 1914-1818, 6-12 Septembre 1914

former Vassincourt military compound, 2007 (aerial view)

Vassincourt Military Compound, former home of Company D,
a Military Police company,
units of 69th Signal Battalion,
and a Polish Labor Service unit.

The US Army Communciations Zone, Europe, and why we were there.

Entering Vassincourt, France, from the north,
June 2007

Vassincourt, France, 2007

Main Street, Vassincourt, France, looking west,
June 2007

Main Street, Vassincourt, France, June 2007

Vassincourt, France, area map:
from Google Earth

Vassincourt, France, area map from Google Earth

External Links:

Link to Trois Fontaines Army Ammunition Depot (T.F.A.A.D.) web site

Save the Ornain River

The web site which promotes the clean-up of the Ornain River is the brainchild of Mister Christian Hager, who supports a worthy cause, not only for the Ornain, but also for every river affected by human activity. The translated statement I made is as follows:
"MESSAGE OF MR. DONALD RICKS, creator of the site of the Company D, 97th Engineer Battalion de Vassincourt:

French: "Lorsque j'ai vécu à Vassincourt, au début des années 1960, j'ai été très impressionné par les beautés et les splendeurs de l'Ornain. J'apporte sans réserve mon soutien total à ceux qui luttent pour la préservation de l'eau et des rivières de la planète.L'Ornain est un joyau, elle a une valeur inestimable. Elle doit être protégée. Les générations futures l'exigent. Un américain qui a vécu dans votre région et qui a connu votre belle rivière."

English:—"When I lived in Vassincourt, the beginning of the year 1960, I was very impressed by the beauty and splendor of the Ornain. I bring without reserve my total support with those who fight for the safeguarding of the water and the rivers of our planet. Ornain is a jewel; it has a priceless value. It must be protected. The future generations require it. An American who lived in your area and who knew your beautiful river.—
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During the month of October each year an archive copy of this web site is prepared and sent to the following office: Force Structure and Unit History Branch, US Army Center of Military History, ATTN: AAMH-FPO, 102 Fourth Ave., Fort McNair, DC 20319-5060. Donald M. Ricks, Webmaster