For Veterans Day


Journey’s End: A History of the 657 Engineer Topographic Battalion, March 1944 – November 1945 is a booklet we found while sorting through our parents’ estate before selling the family home. It’s not designed in the way you would expect a WWII booklet to be. It’s so jubilant, carefree, colorful, and chock-full of comic-book-like caricatures. Perhaps it’s meant to be a scrapbook of sorts for the members of this battalion. The forward does state, “May this book recall the best of memories.” Using a florid style to generally describe the duties of each of the groups within the 657th, it purposely avoids serious descriptions of what actually happened.

My father, as a member of this battalion, was assigned to the First Photomapping Platoon. You can find his picture on page 18 which is just three pages past the middle spread titled “Bulletin Board”. Look for 1st Lt. Edwin S. Bell, the handsome fellow prominently displayed solo on that page. His promotion had occurred on October 26, 1945, just prior to this booklet’s publication.