Pfc. Calvin Shiner

Company B, 1328th Engineer Construction Battalion

Calvin Shiner was born on February 17, 1923 in St. Corpus Christi, Texas and was drafted into the Army on February 1, 1943. He was trained as a combination welder, but as a member of the Quartermaster’s Battalion, served with Company B, 1328th Engineering Construction Battalion, an all-black service unit. The battalion trained as a construction unit in the swamps surrounding Camp Claiborne in Louisiana.

Calvin embarked for Europe in August, 1943 landing first in England in September and then in Italy. The unit participated in Operation Dragoon landings in southern France and moved forward into Germany. Calvin recounted digging holes for the engineers to plant charges on a bridge in case the unit had to retreat. During the last months of the war, he assisted in the construction and repairing of hospitals, railroads, bridges, and roads. After the Germans surrendered on VE Day, they were ordered to deploy to the Pacific. In June 1945, the unit was moved to Marseille, France, and shortly after, VJ Day canceled their orders.

Calvin was discharged October 21, 1945.