Black Soldiers on the ALCAN, the 93rd
On February 10, 1941 the segregated 93rd Engineer Battalion was activated with a small cadre of white officers at Camp Livingston in Louisiana. By May of 1942 this Battalion, now a General Service Regiment, was in Carcross, Yukon Territory under the command of Colonel Frank M. Johnson. They were the first of three black Engineering Regiments to arrive in the North Country for an epic adventure – building the Alaska Highway.
Yukon ALCAN Builders, the 340th
The 340th Engineering General Service Regiment was activated at Vancouver Barracks, Washington on March 5th, 1942 built around a cadre of officers and enlisted men from the 18th Combat Engineering Regiment. In late April 1942, Colonel Russell Lyons landed his brand new regiment at Skagway, Alaska. They were one of four white Engineering Regiments to construct the Alaska Highway.
Support Units on the ALCAN
Both military and civilian units supported the 93rd and 340th Engineers. They supplied food and clothing, heavy equipment and reconnaissance, transportation over bodies of water and radio communication. Coordinating the efforts of military and civilian specialists in supply, topography, pontoon bridging, and communications was complex. Throw in stevedores, doctors and nurses, bush pilots, and native guides and it is understandable that the most important support activity of all was provided by the government liquor store in Whitehorse.