This page contains personal stories and experiences submitted by members of the Persian Gulf Command Veterans Organization. I hope you will enjoy these interesting, educational and personal recounts of the Veterans who served in the Persian Gulf Command of World War II.
NOTE: Due to the tremendous amount of pictures, stories, news clippings, etc. supplied by members of the PGCVO, it becomes almost impossible to put everything I've received on this website. All materials are being archived; much is used in the newsletters also. Please read the PGCVO newsletters for stories and pictures from our members.
Charles F. Ruthrauff
Green Valley, AZ
68th Ordinance Bn.
"While stationed in Hamadan, Iran, I was appointed as a finance agent. This required paying all military personnel as well as civilians. Since it was not possible to identify the Persian laborers, Teheran sent an interpreter, a Persian MD, a Dr. Seradj. He was a great help. We went into town and he taught me how to barter with the locals, which included the purchase of a Persian rug. The rug is now in our Arizona home. A few years ago I took it to an Oriental rug shop in Tucson for some repair. I told the owner that it was from Hamadan. He asked how I knew that and I replied that I had bought it in Hamadan. I also mentioned I had worked with Dr. Seradj and he told me that was a family name. His parents, who own a world wide rug business, call him once a week. He brought up the name of Seradj and it turned out that was his mother's brother. He told me Dr. Seradj had developed cancer and had gone to New York for treatment but he had died a few years previous."
Mr. Ruthrauff also recommends a book, "Persian Mosiac" by David Devine.
Lt-Rt: Front-Charles S. Nelson, Guy Gailey
Back-Oscar Bunton, Ralph Kmetzsch, Louis (John) Muir
Charles S. Nelson
"To Be An Americanand other poems" can be purchased by sending an email PGCVOWWII@aol.com
...."My tour of duty in Iran was from December 1942 to January 1945 at which time I departed for the USA via rotation. My greatest claim to glory there was standing guard at the Tehran Conference and had the privilege of shaking hands with President Roosevelt. I will close with the following:
"Life is a story in volumes three, the past, the present, the yet to be.
The first we've written and laid away.
The second we're reading day by day.
The third and last of the volumes three...
is locked from our sight, and God keepth the key."
Jay G. Gerlach
Mess Sgt. of Co. B
700 and 30th Railroad Battalion
Not to be confused with the Persian Gulf War, there are some of us still living who served in the Persian Gulf Command.
We were formed into a railroad company at Fort Wayne, IN, where we did our basic training. After completion we left December 3, 1943 from California on the Isle De France, a 55-day journey with a stop in Pearl Harbor for fuel. Next stop was Wellington, New Zealand, where we were allowed off the ship for a short time. New Zealanders were happy to see us. Next stop was Bombay, India where we changed ship. Then on up through the Persian Gulf to Khorramshahr, our point of department, and from there to the Caspian Sea, where our company and the rest of the railroad battalion were deployed. Our railroad battalion had engineers, firemen, brakemen, maintenance men and block operators. The railroad was a single line track with sidings every twenty miles. All day and night we would shuffle supplies up to the Caspian Sea, where the Russian's would pick them up. They did not allow us in their country. We took everything from power equipment, canned food, sugar and so forth. Russian soldiers who were recuperating from the war guarded the trains up and down. The Persian Gulf Command was a thankless job. The Russians never did say things when Churchill, Stalin, and FDR met in Teheran.
Ft. Myers, FL
I was the Supply Officer of the 871st Ordnance H.A.M. (Heavy Automotive Maintenance) Co. stationed at Andimeshk, Iran, during WWII. Our mission was to operate a shop for the major repair or rebuilding of severely damaged or disabled motor vehicles of all types. We were part of the only U.S. Ordnance Depot in the Middle East at that time.
In addition to my company duties, I was asked to assume custody and accountability of repaired vehicles by organizing the operating a Vehicle Replacement Park as Motor Vehicle Distribution Officer. In so doing, I shipped vehicles mostly over the road throughout Iran and to some neighboring countries.
On one occasion I had driven several vehicles into Russia to a U.S. airbase which was part of an allied "Shuttle Bombing" of Germany program between bases in Russia and England. Also on occasions I had vehicles shipped overland to an R&R camp near Tel Aviv, and to an American airbase outside of Cairo. Several times vehicles were sent via rail or road through Khorramshahr, onto ships bound for Aramco, Ras Tannurah, Abu Dhabi, The Bahrein Islands and other places off eastern Arabia where U.S. forces guarded the oil fields. Early on, I myself led a convoy of vehicles from Andimeshk over 300 miles of desert to Habbaniyah, Iraq, to turn over several diesel cargo trucks to the British forces there.
news of the allied invasion of France on D-Day came to me as I was leaving the British Officers Club in Jerusalem where I had had lunch.
When the Big Three (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) held their Summit Conference in Teheran, I supplied vehicles and drivers to transport staff aides of the Big Three around Teheran.
All in all, it was an experience I could write a book about. And I will never forget the extreme heat in which we had to work. It is a tribute to the American GI's for their adaptability to unusual conditions that enabled us to perform our mission and still survive.
Niece of Ray B. Wilson, PGC veteran
My uncle was Tech Sgt. Ray B. Wilson. He was first a truck driver in WWI. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, he went right down to the recruiting office to sign up. He was turned down as too old. He tried again later and was told, "You can't fight 'em all, buddy". He came home in tears. His country was at war and he was too old to help. Then, the army got desperate for truck drivers. The call was put out, and he went down again. This time, they took him.
It is such a shame that more people haven't heard of all the hell you men went through to deliver the tons of supplies up to the Russian border. It wasn't a question of just driving a convoy from say, New Orleans up to St. Louis. In distance, yes, but that is where the comparison stops. Men and women in the service, that are now in Iraq understand somewhat, the hell of heat and sand. But it is still not the same as what you went through. (And you didn't have a ton of reporters to record your every moment on the evening news). No big hoop-de-do for the Cold Stream Guards. You went through your hell pretty much all by yourselves.
You had nothing but the "finest equipment" right? Beat-up old Krupp train engines and even old coal-burners with no headlights, bells or cowcatchers, the latter of which were designed for the flat country of France. That was fun, trying to go up mountains 7,000 feet high. Couplings were often coming off, causing part of the cargo to roll back down the mountain. Where were the air brakes when you needed them?
Temperatures up to 180 degrees throughout the many tunnels. The trucks didn't fare much better. Dust storms chewed your truck parts away, and the holes in the road were so deep that the gas tanks got jounced off. Every day you drivers crashed your heads against the cab roofs and rubbed the skin off the small of your backs, and swallowed a bushel of dust and sand every day. You either boiled in the heat or nearly froze to death in the high mountains. (My uncle used to say teasingly, "when the temperature got down to 90 degrees we'd have to put on another blanket"). As if this misery wasn't enough, there were the bandits shooting at you.
Ray told of when they finally got their truck convoys up to the Russian border, the Russian soldiers leaped out of their trucks and ran to them, giving them big bear hugs and bottles of vodka.
It was in Iran, working under these horrendous conditions, that my uncle suffered a heart attack. He managed to continue in the war. He joined Patton's 3rd army in Europe. Terrain knowledge from WWI saved his convoy once.
I just wanted you to know I have heard of your outfit and I know of what you went through (as best as one can know anything without going through it themselves). I appreciate what you did. You were unsung heroes. I am very proud of all of you. August 20, 2003, my uncle would have been 103.
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THIS LAPEL PIN AND IT'S MEANING?
Email received from Stephan from Germany writes....
Great website you have. I'm a US militaria collector from Germany. I found this insignia on the lapel of an old IKE with the PGC patch on the shoulder.
Maybe you can provide more information about the pin.
If anyone has any knowledge of this pin, please send your email to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and/or you can email Stephan at
March 9, 2003
To all members of the Persian Gulf Command Veterans Organization:
This letter is in regards to the publications that you may have enjoyed while serving in Iran during the World War II.
You may have had questions as to how and where the papers and magazines were printed and since I served as the circulation manager of all 5 publications I can enlighten you.
All of the publications, the New York Times, Yank The Army weekly, News Week, Time magazine and our own paper the "Army Dispatch" were made up and printed in Tehran. I would say that some of the mats were shipped to us but most of the type and articles were put together by our own G.I.'s.
We had like a top sargent who was in complete charge of this whole group and he was also the editor. We had artists, for special projects also a comic artist for the comics, and a sports writer, etc. Some of the men were connected to the Colliers magazine back home and when we were in need of a Lino Type machine, it was shipped to us, knocked down, and if you don't know anything about it, it was a very complicated piece of machinery and believe me they figured it all out and put it together and made it work.
Our own newspaper, the "Army Dispatch" had received a special recognition for an army paper of which made all of us proud. As the circulation manager it was my duty to send the papers and magazines to the various Px's and the outlying areas where they apparently didn't have a Px and also to send to the homes of the G.I.'s. Sometimes I acted as a correspondent if I thought it was worthy of news.
Well, so there you have it and I hope all of you enjoyed this article.
Richard E. Holtmeyer
Palm Harbor, FL
Here are a couple of stories from.....
Alton A. DuBois, Jr., Queensbury, NY
Story #1 - On my tour of duty as a station agent on the Iranian railroad, I had a job a reader of train contents at the Ahwaz station. I had a desk near the front of the room near an open window. The yardmaster had a desk at the back of the room. Not too far from him was an MP with his Tommy gun. He kept playing with his machine gun by removing the clip and pulling the trigger. Several times the yardmaster told him to quit doing that. The MP ignored him, and suddenly there were Tommy gun bullets flying all around. The yardmaster was yelling and I was out the window. Most of the bullets hit the ceiling and a couple ricocheted off the floor. I disappeared to the next building. I never found out what happened later.
Story #2 - Ahwaz was the center office of the southern division of the railroad and extended from Khorramsharh to Andimeskh. It had a large railroad yard and many things were happening, because people from different countries had worked there. One night, an explosion happened in a box car. It blew the car apart and broke windows all over the area. The cause was from a group of Indian soldiers who had built a fire on the floor of the box car to keep warm. They didn't know that the car had a load of explosives in it.
Story3 - One night in the Andimeskh yard, a gondola junk car went by and an old British Norton motorcycle fell off. It laid in the yard for about a day. I asked the British security officer if I could pick it up. He responded cautiously, "if it's not there, I don't want to know about it." I took it to the roundhouse and my friends, the machinists and I, converted it to smaller wheels. the gas tank was missing so we made a new one and placed it in back of the seat. The motor and the clutch were all ok. After it was built, several mechanics tried to ride it, but with careless handling it rode like a wild bronco. I rode it for about six months before I was transferred back to Ahwaz. The captain said that I had to get permission from the adjutant to use it on post. The answer was to return it to its proper sources with its proper papers. ""This was built from junk", and it had no papers. When we left the command, I left it to a man who was staying behind. I never knew what happened to it later..
Alton DuBois on his motorcycle
Paintings by Sid Murphy Levin, FL (727 MP Bn.)
Old Glory waved above Camp Amirabad, Headquarters of the Persian Gulf Command. From here, near Tehran, was directed the transport of Lend-Lease materiel to embattled Russia. Despite desert heat and mountain blizzard, nearly 4,500,000 tons of supplies sped over rutted roads and crossed rails.
Charles Nelson was a poet and author of a book of poems entitled "To Be An American and other poems". During WWII, he was he was called the "poet laureate" of his outfit. Among his many writings, Mr. Nelson composed a poem about Luther Rogers, his company's first casualty. On the way home after the war, Mr. Nelson wrote "Aboard the Monterey"......