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The French Connection | by joemcmillan118
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The French Connection

For part of my military service in 1965 and 1966, I was assigned to a small U.S. military post in France. The post was located just north of the village of Ingrandes in the state (department) of Vienne, just north of the city of Chatellerault. For my railroad friends, the post was located on the SNCF main line between Paris and Bordeaux. I actually did not spend much time on the post as I was usually on temporary assignments to military engineering projects around the country. One day, when I was at "home," I managed to catch Baldwin RS-4-TC #4010, which was assigned to our installation. Here is the 4010 on the connecting track to the SNCF on February 15, 1966.

 

In June of 1966, French president Charles de Gaulle announced that France was withdrawing from NATO, and that all U.S. troops were to be out of the country by April 1, 1967. I was caught up in all that and I moved with my unit, 83rd Construction Engineer Battalion, to a former German military post in Heilbronn, Germany, where I spent the rest of my service time. I do not know if the 4010 was sent to Germany or not, but an internet search revealed that the unit was transferred to the air force and ended up at the Kentucky Railroad Museum at New Haven, Kentucky. I don't know if it is still there or not, but if so, I need to pay it a visit sometime.

 

France later rejoined NATO. The military post at Ingrandes is still there, but it appears to be an industrial park these days. The 83rd Engineers rotated to Fort Riley, Kansas, just after I left the unit. I do not know what became of it after that.

 

Photo by Joe McMillan.

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Taken on February 15, 1966