Dedicated to the Men of the 853rd: May Their Legacy Live Forever

Sound Off!

  • Sgt Louis Markiewitz Audio File Posted This is a rare occurrence.  I have posted a 16-minute excerpt from my grandfather, Sgt. Louis R. Markiewitz, as he described the harrowing circumstances of the HMT Rohna attack ...
    Posted Apr 14, 2020, 8:42 PM by Jason Markiewitz
  • 2018 HMT Rohna Reunion a Success Not only was the 2018 Reunion in Memphis, TN a success, but it also had numerous unforeseen benefits that I want to share with you.  First, the reunion was held ...
    Posted Jun 24, 2018, 7:57 PM by Jason Markiewitz
  • Radio Interview on HMT Rohna Posted I had the honor of being interviewed on the Hudson River Radio network for a special Memorial Day focused program.  I was asked to do the interview in my capacity ...
    Posted May 23, 2018, 8:19 PM by Jason Markiewitz
  • New Records Found - More Members Identified One of the great things about research is that you never know what you will find in that box in "Grandpa's garage."  In my case, when my grandparents died ...
    Posted Mar 25, 2018, 1:16 AM by Jason Markiewitz
  • Updates and Requests for Information As you may have already seen, I have included an artist rendering of the unit crest in color on the left-sidebar of this site.  Can I prove that this ...
    Posted Mar 12, 2018, 5:37 PM by Jason Markiewitz
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 11. View more »

New Documents & Files

  • Louis Markiewitz Rohna Address.mp3   15518k - Apr 14, 2020, 8:37 PM by Jason Markiewitz (v1)
  • 853rd 75th Logo.png   545k - Apr 14, 2020, 8:33 PM by Jason Markiewitz (v1)
  • Rohna Survivors Arrive at New York on USS Greeley_1945.jpg   78k - Jun 24, 2018, 8:09 PM by Jason Markiewitz (v1)
  • Sgt Louis Markiewitz 853rd.jpg   1132k - Jun 24, 2018, 8:06 PM by Jason Markiewitz (v1)
  • Dyersburg Battalion Bldg Sign.JPG   119k - Jun 24, 2018, 8:03 PM by Jason Markiewitz (v1)
Showing 5 files from page RESEARCH LIBRARY.

The 853rd Aviation Engineer Battalion was
on 1 January 1943 at Dyersburg Army A
ir Field, Tennessee under the command of Major Alexander J.  Frolich.  Even before they entered combat overseas, the battalion faced significant obstacles here at home including being called upon to repair broken levees on the Mississippi River during the 1943 flood. 
As aviation engineers, their primary duty was to build runways for bombers of the XX (20th) Air Force throughout the Assam Region of India supporting missions flown over 'the Hump' into China.  However, before they were positioned in India, the 853rd was decimated as the troopship they were on in the Mediterranean Sea was struck by a guided bomb.  In the first few minutes of the attack more than 400 of the 793 men in the battalion were killed.  Those who survived the initial bombing were not necessarily 'lucky' as they were then sent in
to frigid oil-drenched waters praying for the rescue ships that very few of them would actually live to see.  In the end, they sustained losses of approximately 62%.  The battalion was replenished in North Africa and then moved to India where they would serve until redeployment in the latter months of 1945.
This website is designed to tell their stories, to provide closure to families who never knew what their relatives did during the war.  In partnership with the HMT Rohna Survivors Memorial Association, this site also serves to provide access to those searching for answers.