Army regulations authorize the wear of a scarf manufactured in the first-named color of a Soldier’s branch with both the Service and utility uniforms when prescribed by the local commander during special ceremonies. The Transportation Corps branch scarf is Brick Red (cable 65021) and, per regulations, is crafted in a bib style.
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Although the Transportation Corps marks July 31, 1942 as its official anniversary date of its establishment, the seeds of its creation had been sown during the relatively brief time the United States was involved in World War I.

Before the U.S. entered World War I, design and procurement of motorized transportation for general Army use fell under the purview of the Transportation Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, with the notable exceptions of the Signal Corps, Engineer Corps, Ordnance Department, and Medical Department: These branches were responsible for the acquisition of specialized vehicles based upon their needs. On January 26, 1918, a Motors Division was established within the Quartermaster Corps consisting of five branches: Procurement, Maintenance, Machine-Shop, Central Office Service, and Production and Engineering. The Motors Division was redesignated the Motor Transport Division on April 6, 1918.

A little over two weeks later, a Standardization and Motor Vehicle Board was created by the War Department and charged with minimizing the types of vehicles used by all the services while maximizing interchangeability of parts. At the same time, the Motor Transport Service was established within the Quartermaster Corps to consolidate motor transportation efforts. On August 15, the Motor Transport Service was replaced by the Motor Transport Corps; its mission was to “control and direct the procurement, design, maintenance and operation of motor transport used in the Army,” as well as “assume control of the assignment, organization, and technical training of Motor Transport Corps personnel.” At the same time, the Standardization and Motor Vehicle Board was redesignated the Motor Transport Board; its approval was required for the design of all motorized vehicles.

But motorized vehicles were obviously just one means of transportation for U.S. troops in both the U.S. and Europe—they had, after all, arrived on the continent via transport ships. On March 11, 1919, the War Department consolidated its Embarkation Service (i.e., waterborne and seagoing vesels) and Inland Traffic Services (railways) to establish the Transportation Service, placing all War Department transportation activities under a single operating agency.

Though somewhat decentralized, the Motor Transport Corps and Transportation Service had the potential to form the basis for a true Transportation Corps, but the desire to reduce military spending during peacetime led Congress to merge both organizations into the Quartermaster Corps on June 4, 1920. But the organizational lessons learned during World War I were of great value when the Army established the Transportation Corps as a basic branch some twenty-two years later.

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