This Week In Quartermaster History

15-21 April

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       Quote of the Week:

"A man of character in peace is a man of courage in war."

General John A. Wickham, Jr.
Former Chief of Staff of the Army

At exactly 5:13 a.m. on 18 April 1906 a terrible earthquake struck San Francisco leaving much of the city in ruins. Fires burned virtually out of control for another four days adding to the misery. Killing more residents, destroying ever larger sections of the community, hospitals, other public services and the means of communication – leaving the city battered and in desperate need of assistance. "It was," as one observer said, "bedlam, pandemonium, and hell rolled into one."

By the time it was over, the Great Quake and Conflagration had claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people, seriously injured thousands more, flattened hundreds of commercial and public buildings, destroyed property valued at more than 500 million dollars, and left a half million residents homeless.

That same evening officials requested from the Quartermaster Corps tents, rations, and other vital supplies. Within hours the first 200,000 rations arrived. More followed from neighboring states in the days ahead. Also hundreds of tents, blankets, and mountains of other items. Feeding centers and supply "depots" were set up to distribute the goods to the most needy.

At yet another critical moment in our nation's history the Quartermaster Corps moved quickly, demonstrating its effectiveness – indeed the commitment with which its members also serve – in situations other than war.

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Compiled by
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum

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