A Salute To Our Service, Fire
& Police Personnel - August 2014
THOMAS CARROLL THARPE, PFC, U.S. Army
For his efforts in this great war he was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart
17th. Armored Engineer Batallion
2nd. Armored Division, "Hell on Wheels"
The 17th Armored Engineer Batallion was founded on 1 October 1933 as part of the U.S. Army. It was first designated as the 17th Engineer Batallion (Heavy Ponton), Motorized. It was renamed on 10 July 1940 to the 17th Engineer Batallion (Armored). The 17th Armored Engineer Batallion was part of the 2nd Armored Division "Hell on Wheels", during World War II. They were active in the North African and Western Europe Campaigns. The unit became active and started training 15 July 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 17th was renamed once again on 8 January 1942 as the 17th Armored Engineer Batallion. The Batallion motto is We Pave The Way. Tasks of the 17th included construction and demolition tasks under combat conditions, like constructing and breaching trenches, tank traps and other fortifications, bunker construction, as well as bridge and road construction. They also laid or cleared land mines. The 17th facilitated the movement and support of friendly forces while slowing the enemy's forces.
As part of the North African Campaign, and Operation Torch the 17th took part in landings in French North Africa's Algeria and Morocco regions. The major tasks in the North African landings were mine clearing and removal. The 17th landings were in the early morning hours of 8 November 1942.
As part of the Sicily Campaign, the 17th Armored Engineer Batallion with the 2nd Armor Division landed in south-central Sicily, on July 11, 1943. Before the landing, the 17th used M4 Sherman tanks with Scorpion Mine flail exploders to clear the way. The operation captured Butera and participated in the Battle of Mazzarino, then moved on to Palermo. After Sicily the 17th moved to England to train and prepare for D-Day.