Army Quartermaster Museum -
Fort Lee, Virginia
MORE than 32,000 officers, officer cadets, and key enlisted personnel
were trained at The Quartermaster School between July 1,1940, and December 3,
1945. In this four-and-a-half-year
period The Quartermaster School transformed the army storekeeper and lawyer into
a soldier, who knew how to protect himself and his supplies from air,
mechanized, and chemical attack. He
had learned to use the bayonet, to prepare explosives, and to hurl grenades.
He had been toughened by long marches, overnight bivouacs, and hours on
obstacle courses. He had crawled and crept and run through simulated
battlefields while machine guns spat above his head and land mines exploded
about him. He had taken refuge in
foxholes of his own digging and had learned to be still while tanks passed over
his biding place. He had become proficient moreover. in the many technical
fields of quartermaster service.
For thirty-five years The Quartermaster School-known until 1936 as The
Quartermaster Corps School has met national emergencies.
It had its beginning at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot on March,
1910, when a fourteen-week course was opened to
Train sergeants ďin the duties of storekeepers."
Its first programs of instruction embraced manufacture, inspection, and
property accounting-about all the knowledge that a quartermaster of thirty-five
years ago was thought to need. In
1915, though war of a new and terrible kind was being waged in Europe, the
authorized strength of the Regular Army was but 4,823 commissioned officers and
85,965 enlisted men. The Quartermaster Corps was allotted but 183 commissioned
officers and 403 enlisted men, and its actual strength of 6,000 men was not
counted in the strength of the Regular Army. During World War I, however, the
Quartermaster Corps formed some twenty-eight organizations for the performance
of the work with which it was charged and its authorized strength was 19,949
officers and men.
According to Major General
Henry G. Sharpe, Quartermaster General at the beginning of World War I, the
trained quartermaster sergeants who were Commissioned as Reserve officers were
"of great assistance in the critical period of expansion."
Fortunately, for several years before the United Statesí entrance into
the war, the little school at the
Philadelphia depot had been giving a five-month course for sergeants and a
four-month course for sergeants, first class.
On March 21, 1917, two weeks before the declaration of war, The
Quartermaster General authorized the setting up of a correspondence course at
The Quartermaster Corps School. By
July, 650 students were enrolled. The first class of quartermaster officers was
also trained in Philadelphia. Early in 1918, however, The Quartermaster School
was moved to Camp Joseph E. Johnston, in Florida, which had been opened for the
training of quartermaster officers and enlisted men. The creation of quartermaster companies brought to an end the
old haphazard system of supply. Yet the two weeks of military training
prescribed during World War I did little more than give men the manners and
appearance of soldiers. Indeed,
only a few organizations, such as motor truck and motor-cycle companies, were
The signing of the armistice briefly interrupted quartermaster training.
On December 1, 1919, however, The Quartermaster General directed that the
school be reestablished at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot.
It was opened on January 9, 1920, "for the training of the higher
grades of enlisted men."
In the fall of 1921 The Quartermaster Corps School was moved to the old
Schuylkill Arsenal, where quartermaster supplies had been stored since 1800.
An officers' division was then inaugurated, and the sessions for officers
and enlisted men of the Regular Army were lengthened to nine months. In the
spring of 1925 short courses for Reserve and National Guard officers were begun.
Between January 1920 and July 1940, 1,638 officers, warrant officers, and
enlisted men were enrolled at The Quartermaster School.
German victories in the late spring and early summer of 1940 brought
forth startling directives from the War Department. On the 15th of June The Adjutant General directed the
establishment of new courses at The Quartermaster School to meet the needs of
training. The first of a series of
special courses for officers and the first of a series of special courses for
enlisted men were begun in July 1940. The
officers' course covered the entire field of quartermaster functions.
The courses for enlisted men gave training in the duties of first
sergeants, sergeant majors, and company clerks; regiment, battalion, and company
sergeants; and railhead
transportation clerks. In August the Extension Department entered upon an
expanded program of manual and scenario writing for the purpose of implementing
training throughout the Quartermaster Corps.
In the summer of 1941 the enrollment exceeded the capacity of the
Schuylkill Arsenal. In July, 293 ROTC students were enrolled in an eight-week
course; 153 candidates entered the first quartermaster officer candidate class;
and two groups of Reserve officers were given refresher courses.
The school commandeered the armory of the 111th Infantry and converted it
into classrooms for ROTC students. Clearly, more space had to be provided for
the training of quartermaster officers, officer candidates, and key enlisted
personnel. The headquarters of The
Quartermaster School closed at Schuylkill Arsenal at midnight on the 5th of
October 1941, and opened at Camp Lee, Virginia, on the morning of the 6th.
The old Schuylkill Armory was again to be an army storehouse.
The area now occupied by Camp Lee figured in the first written history of
English colonization in America and has played an important role throughout all
succeeding years. On the Appomattox
River close by, John Smith and his band of adventurers were entertained in 1607
by the Indian queen Opussoquionuske. Before
the white manís arrival the land that belongs to Camp Lee was an Indian
fighting ground. Its subsequent history covers a 300-year period.
It was the scene of conflict during the civil war that was known as
Bacon's Rebellion; it was raided by the British during the American Revolution;
it was a battleground during the Civil War; and it was the home of one of the
largest contonments during World War I.
The 507 acres upon which the school was built served the needs of the
rapidly expanding training' program. Landscaping, begun for the utilitarian
purpose of preventing erosion, resulted in The Quartermaster School's becoming
one of the most beautiful of army installations. By the summer of 1942 there
were buildings and demonstration and training areas adequate for the 5,000
students attending the school, for a staff and faculty numbering 362 officers,
for 1,373 school troops, and for 195 civilian employees. The Quartermaster
Association procured for the schoolís use a tract of land known as Lake Jordan
and consisting of an 84-acre lake, ninety-nine acres of wooded land, and ten
acres of cleared land. Here amphibious and other supplementary field training
are conducted, and here personnel of the school and their families go on
outings. Less than sixty miles from
Camp Lee is the A. P. Hill Military Reservation, where excellent facilities and
a variety of terrain are available for the completion of training under actual
With limited military training being given during the days in
Philadelphia, The Quartermaster School progressed to a program that gave
students such rigid military training as had formerly been considered necessary
only for infantrymen. Physical conditioning of officer candidates was implicit
from the beginning of the officer candidate training program. In the summer of
1942 a field training area was set up at the School and a four-week period of
field exercises was instituted. When
the officer candidate course was lengthened to seventeen weeks on July 5, 1943,
the program of instruction provided approximately eleven weeks of academic
training and six weeks of field maneuvers and military training.
The following December the program was further strengthened. As a result,
young men who are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Quartermaster Corps
possess the highest qualities of military leadership.
Between July 1940 and January 1946 the Officer Candidate School enrolled
29,660 students and graduated 24,561.
Emphasis upon the quality of candidates and the individual attention each
student received contributed to the excellence of the work done in The
Quartermaster Officer Candidate School. Students
who had officer qualifications but who needed additional military training were
taken out of their officer candidate classes and placed in a military'
development platoon. If a man overcame his deficiency within a two-week period,
he was enrolled in the next officer candidate class. Most of the men who
returned ranked high in their classes.
Records contain information bearing upon the personality, potential
leadership, attitude, alertness, and other general characteristics of the
candidates. Because of this
information, help can be given students, and the faculty board can determine
what disposition to make of borderline candidates. The story of a manís four months at the Officer Candidate
School is kept on a permanent form known as the consolidated military leadership
and performance record.
Though almost half the student personnel were enrolled in the Officer
Candidate School, twenty-four other series of courses were conducted at The
Quartermaster School. Of the five major courses that began in 1942 or early in
1943, only the ASP Depot Course had been discontinued on February 1, 1946.
Between July 1940 and January 1946, 12,622 student officers were enrolled and
11,286 were graduated; 9,289 key enlisted men and women were enrolled and 7,549
were graduated; and a depot selection course trained 366 civilians, of whom 316
The courses gave basic and advanced training in practically every field
of ASP supply. They were attended
by officers from many foreign countries; Great Britain, Canada, the Philippines,
China, and Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, and other Latin American countries.
Special courses were given members of the Women's Army Corps, and Wacs were
en-rolled in other classes.
Instructors at The Quartermaster School have been carefully chosen and
carefully trained. Under the
leadership of educators, the Instructors' Training and Guidance Section has
given all prospective instructors two weeks of classroom work and has
subsequently supervised their performance.
The course covered such subjects as the student learning pattern,
approved army methods, proper use of visual aids, testing and measuring devices,
platform mannerisms, voice control, lesson planning, the art of questioning, and
the motivation phase in teaching. Each student was required to do practice
teaching and was subjected to the criticism of the class and the instructor.
The search for competent instructors began in 1940 and has known no
ending. As officers returned from oversea assignments and as men with oversea
experience enrolled in OCS classes, they were carefully screened in order that
potential instructors might be discovered.
In the difficult task of teaching vast numbers of men in the shortest
possible time, the Quartermaster Corps, as well as the School, has been served
by the agency that began in 1938 as the Extension Department of The
Quartermaster School and became the Quartermaster Technical Service.
Set up to write instructional material for the School, this department
expanded its program to include the production of training literature and
training aids for many agencies within and without the Quartermaster Corps. It
can be likened to a large publishing house with a staff of writers, artists,
photographers, and printers. The Quartermaster Technical Training Service is now
rewriting publications in order that lessons learned during World War II may be
Since the defeat of Japan all old courses have been revised to meet the
needs of peacetime training, and the Food Service Instructors' Course and the
special course in Repatriation Activities have been established.
More recently the Physical Training and Athletic Directors School,
formerly located at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, has been
established at The Quartermaster School. Officer and enlisted students from the
Army Service Forces and Army Ground Forces attend a four-week course in athletic
leadership, fundamentals of physical training, and methods of organizing and
directing physical training programs. Nine previous classes have been trained in
this course. Class No. 10, the
first to be conducted at The Quartermaster School, started February 6 and
comprises 130 officers and 65 enlisted men.
since 27 May 2001