John Deere at the AUSA Expo in Washington D.C.
On August 15, 1942, a special bulletin was issued by Deere & Company. "John Deere Employees, Dealers and their Employees," it began, have received an important call to the service of their country. The War Department has asked us and our dealers to form a U.S. Army Battalion, made up entirely of men enlisted from our organization, for service as a maintenance unit for keeping mechanized combat equipment constantly in order at an established base."
The John Deere Battalion, officially the 608th Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, did just that for the next 2 ½ years. Col. Joseph L. Aman, commanding officer of the 303rd Ordinance Regiment arrived in Moline in August 1942 to select officers and form the John Deere Battalion. 949 men applied, including 642 who enlisted. More than 2/3 came from John Deere dealerships.
The Battalion was activated at Camp Sutton, N.C., received training in Pomona and Arcadia, California, and was shipped overseas. They spent a year repairing tanks and artillery first at Warminster, England, and then at the recently occupied plant in Familereaux, Belgium. They returned to the United States and Canada aboard the Argentina on New Year’s Day, 1946.
Today, John Deere still provides services and equipment to the U.S. military. At the recent Association of the United States Army (AUSA) expo in Washington, D.C., Deere & Company showcased innovative technology such as armored construction equipment, XUV Gators, and Jet-fueled capable engines.
John Deere is proud of our history of service to our country — and we are honored to continue to support our U.S. military forces all over the world. This service is a valued part of our legacy as a great American brand and reflects everything we hold dear.