866th Engineer Aviation Battalion


Duty at Châteauroux, France

Updated:  08/25/10

Chateauroux Air Station - Homepage

 866th Engineer Aviation Battalion Book


The 866th Army Battalion was deployed to Châteauroux, France in 1954 to build roads and assist in the construction of the USAF base in Deols-Chateauroux, France (La Martinerie).   This page tells  the detailed history of how La Martinerie was expanded and  built on the grounds of a WWI facility.

Some members of the EAB who served at Chateauroux are listed below the battalion photos.


Click the thumbnail to read this item about the EAB at Châteauroux.

These are some of Jack Harnett's souvenirs of his tour of duty with the 866th EAB.  He sailed to France on this ship - The U.S.N.S. General Maurice Rose

Click the thumbnails for a large view of the photos and articles.  Use your back button to return to this page.

Jack Harnett sent this photo of the 866th 1954 EAB Team - not sure what sport - Jack  is the 1st g.i. standing on the  top row.  Please help me identify these other guys.  Send me an email about this photo.  Thanks, JP 

    Don Trainor sent the following newspaper article clips to Jim Stevens who then sent them to me [jp] to be posted.

    Jim's email information:  "These items are from 1955 when the EAB won the France Conference Championship (football).  We missed the USAFE finals. We were supposed to play against Babe Pirelli, who was a pro quarterback back then. We had to fly to northern England because of the fog, so were not able to land in London. The articles had our number wrong. We were the 866th not the 816."

[Newspaper Typo - should be 866th EAB]

The Chapel at the 866th EAB Area
Photo from Jim Stevens

Photos of the EAB trucks when they first arrived at La Martinerie - Thanks Bud Hankins for these photos.  [Miss you, Bud. RIP]


BAUERMIESTER, Howard - See Allan Johnson's email address below
866 EAB - U. S. Army
Twin Cities, MN

[jpnote:  Allan L. Johnson is Howard's buddy and knows where Howard is located..]


BENNETT, Eldon - unlocated - buddy of Jim Stevens - see photo below in Jim's entry

BRILL, Jack - unlocated - buddy of Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley

BRANTLEY, John Frank - previously located by buddy Jack Harnett


BUNTON, Major Raymond B.  See Chas Memoriam

Major Bunton's son, Raymond, Jr. signed the guestbook.  Click the thumbnail photo to view Major Bunton's letter as commanding officer on the 866th Engineer Aviation Batallion Book




CARLOW, Richard - located by Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley - see entries below


EVANS, Donald - located by Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley - see entries below

FREIER, Don - no email address - located by his buddy Jim Stevens - see photo below in Jim's entry

GIORDANO, Joe - no email, but see info below in this box.
866th EAB U. S. Army
Philadelphia, PA

[jpnote:  Joe is a buddy of Jake Hawley & Jack Harnett.  They reunioned after 44+ years in December 2004.  Joe is not online, but Jake or Jack can supply an address/information.]


GUTMAN, Thomas - located by Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley - See entries below


@ Chas:  1954 - 1955
Hq & Sv Co, 866th Engineering Aviation Battalion
Quincy, Florida

1954 Soldier of the Week &
Soldier of the Month
See Article Below















1-26-04 Comments:  I was assigned to USAFE, and a SCARWAF US Army unit -  the 866th Engineer Aviation Battalion.  Yes, there was mud and plenty of it. Plenty of rain also.  We quickly learned why the French were referred to as "Frogs."  Quonsets were up and the tents were down, the grass/clay/mud landing strip between the main base and Quonset City (Quontown) had transferred to Déols. I was assigned to the Headquarters section. Most of the Scrapbook info and photos were from the time and of the personnel with whom I served.  I arrived early March 1954 and left for the ZI on August 15, 1955. I had a very memorable tour of duty;  many, many fond memories of Châteauroux and enjoyed my return back to CHAS with my wife in July 1995.

Jack's Photo Album - Jack's Souvenir Album

[jpnote:  Jack (left) & Jake Hawley had a get-together in May 2004 at Jake's home in CT.  They put together a list of old buddies, got on the net and the phone and found a few.  (See 866th EAB page)  They shared many memories and laughs since they last saw each other in 1955 - 49 years ago!



 [jpnote:  Paul Jackson (former Chas G.I.) who lived in Chateauroux (now deceased), sent this article to Yves Bardet who sent it to me.









HAINES, Sgt. - unlocated - Buddy of Jim Stevens - see photo below in Jim's entry


HAWLEY, Jacob Perry "Jake" -  
866th EAB - U.S. Army
@ Chas:  1954 - 1955
CT & Isle of Nevis

4-4-04 Note from Jack Harnett:   Jake is the buddy of mine who served with me during my entire tour at Châteauroux ( left the States with me and returned to the States with me) now spends most of his time with his wife Judy on the island of Nevis. 

[jpnote:  Jack (left) & Jake had a get-together in May 2004 at Jake's home in CT.  They put together a list of old buddies, got on the net and the phone and found a few.  They shared many memories and laughs since they last saw each other in 1955 - 49 years ago!]






IVANKOVICS, George   - Grandson's email address
866th EAB - U.S. Army
@ Chas:  1954-1956

4-11-07  Note from Jim Stevens  - I was looking in Google last week and found George Ivankovics in Hudson Michigan. I sent his phone number to Jack Harnett. He doesn't have email but one of his grand children does - see email box link this entry.
He retired from Ford several years ago, He was in the design department.

Dinner with the Captain - Front row left to right, Capt Powers, George Ivankovics, Jim Stevens. Back row: Don Freier, Eldon Bennett, and Sgt Haines.


JOHNSON, Allan L. 
866th EAB - U.S. Army
Twin Cities, MN

[jp found:  5-27-04 - Allan is friends with another G.I., Howard Baurmiester, who also lives in Twin Cities.  I called Allan and asked for Howard's number, but he wouldn't give it to me.]

LUNDSTROM, Douglas E. 
866th EAB - U.S. Army
@ Chas: 1954-55
St. Louis, MO

Friend of Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley

1-12-07 from Jack Harnett It is with sad regrets that I must inform you of the death of Douglas Lundstrom, who passed this past Sept. '06. Doug boarded the USN Maurice Rose and traveled to Châteauroux with Jake, Joe and myself and returned to the USA by air in late Aug of 1955 with Jake and I and some of the other 866 Vets. Doug's bride, Carol (Carolyn), called me last eve and informed me of Doug's death. Doug leaves his wife, three sons and their respective families. Carol indicated that neither she nor Doug were computer literate and therefore did not use the e-mail, but she did enjoy talking on the telephone. Some of you may remember back in 2004 when Jake Hawley met and spent the better of a week trying to locate those of the 866th EAB., we were unable to locate Doug, however the angel of the 866th, Jenelle Peterson, was later able to find Doug and passed his address along to Jake and me.  I

 @ Chas:  1954-1955

Friend of Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley

5-26-04  This is my and Willie's 50th year of marriage. I flew home from Chad for our wedding December 18, 1954 on a 30-day leave. Since that time our family has grown considerably. We have 3 children, 3 in-law children and 14 PERFECT grandchildren, 5 girls and 9 boys. All are in college, high school and middle school. After 30 years of working in management of a transportation leasing/sales company I retired to Muskogee, OK, where we live in an old farm house on 10 acres. We have traveled to all 48 states in our RV and have flown to Alaska and Hawaii. I have participated in the Senior Olympics for several years, placed 2nd for the State of Oklahoma in the shot put. Avid duplicate bridge player and Square dancer. Look forward to a reunion with everyone in a central location of the good old USA. My wife, Willie, and I hope to see you soon.

Searching for:  Vartolla from Philidelphia, PA and anyone who remembers those good old days.

PHILLIPS, William N. - unlocated

Friend of Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley

POWERS, Captain - unlocated - See photo in Jim Steven's entry below

STEVENS, James (Jim) S. SP3 
H&Q Co - 866th EAB
 @ Chas:  1954-1956

3-15-05  Hello: I am James Stevens from H&S company stationed at Châteauroux from Sept 1954 until Feb 1956. I also came to Europe on the HMS Rose, so I was on the same ship as Jack Harnett. I don't remember him, but I do remember Joe Giardano. I was called P2 and was in the supply  part of H&S company. Had some great times there. Our first company commander was Captain Powers, he and his wife took us to dinner in Châteauroux one evening. I also played touch football for the 866th, and we won the France Athletic Conference in 1955. Some of my teammates are listed in H&S company pages. I have pictures and can scan them into an e mail. two of my friends were Donald Freier, and George Ivankovics, who are in the picture.   For now I will sign off and wait to hear from you. The web page is really great.  Thanks Jim Stevens 866 EAB SP3

4-18-05 I have talked to Freier; he has lived in Billings for many years.


Dinner with the Captain - Front row left to right, Capt Powers, George Ivankovics, me-Jim Stevens. Back row: Don Freier, Eldon Bennett, and Sgt Haines. Below:EAB buddies on leave in Paris.







  Ahhhh Barracks!  No more tents!

Volleyball @ lunch





THOMPSON, CWO Kenneth - passed away.  Jack Harnett gave this info about Ken.

See Chas Memoriam


located by Jack Harnett & Jake Hawley - see entries above


WEBB, Darrell  - Passed away November 2006 - See Chas Memoriam

First Platoon - H/S Co

Bennett, Eldon M.; Alston, Francis O.; Marsh, Clarence; Felts, Joseph W., Jr.; Gehrke, Ronald D.; Schmitz, John P., Jr.; McPhee, Charles;, Boyko, Edward

Green, Vester, Jr.; Briggs, Willard A., Jr.; Mahaffey, Jack H.; Hester, Charles E.; McGuire, Eugene J., Pfc; Reynolds, G.; Brown, Edwin M.; Van, Sylvester

Wayne K. Alexander; John J. Brill; Joseph E. Dempsey, Jr.; James A. Donaldson; Donald C. Evans; Joseph C. Giordando; Richard A. Goins; Peter L. Goodchild; Bozie Greene, Jr.; Hack A. Harnett; John G. Harris; Jacob P. Hawley; Earnest D. Jones; Edward A. Lovell, Jr.; Francis G. Mazor; Leonard H. Miller; Charles E. Moss; Manuel H. Pierson; Walter N. Richards; Russel W. Shegina; Donald W. Trainor; Santo V. Vartola; Roy B. Stratford; Darrell G. Webb; William D. Fry

These are the Châteauroux Departure Orders for some of the men of the 866th.  Click the thumbnails to read, then use your back button to return to this page.


The names on the orders are listed below so they will appear on the Net and will direct Searchers to this page:

William N. Phillips
Robert J. Aldous
Willard W. Herzberg
Pius J. Kindle
Henry J. Kasten
Willie L. Lewis
Robert Harris
Talmage Morning - jp left message
Fleming Edwards, Jr.- no answer