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Colonel Joseph P. Glandon,

United States Army Quartermaster Corps, Alaska Highway Project



An Explorer's Guide to the Alaska Highway ("Alcan")

    At this point, the information about Joseph P. Glandon that follows is simply an accumulation of information from other sources (some quite obscure) rather than a proper biography, which I think he deserves.




United States Army in World War II: The Transportation Corps - Operations Overseas by Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larsoll

    To command all U.S. Army activities in western Canada and the extension of those activities into Alaska, including the White Pass and Yukon Railroad and the Alaska Highway, the Northwest Service Command (NWSC) was established in September 1942. Col. (later Brig. Gen.) James A. O'Connor assumed command and set up his headquarters at Whitehorse.

    In January 1943 Northwest Service Command established a separate Alaska Highway headquarters at Whitehorse to take over the operation and maintenance of vehicles on the highway, other than organizational equipment and that used by the chief of the Engineer Division and his contractors. Other assigned functions included the policing and patrolling of the highway and the distribution of petroleum products other than aviation gasoline. Col. Joseph P. Glandon, QMC, assumed command in February, moving his headquarters to Dawson Creek, where the largest volume of supplies had accumulated. Under Alaska Highway headquarters there shortly developed three divisions, one each based on the Dawson Creek, Whitehorse, and Fairbanks railheads. Each division headquarters was responsible for activities over about one third of the highway, with Colonel Glandon exercising over-all command and co-ordinating movements between divisions.

    In February 1944 NWSC headquarters and the office of the Northwest Engineer Division were consolidated, and General O'Connor was replaced by Brig. Gen. Ludson D. Worsham. Worsham, in turn, was succeeded in May 1944 by Col. (later Brig. Gen.) Frederick S. Strong, Jr., who continued in command until NWSC's inactivation.

The Alaska Highway section of this publication (pages 31-68) can be read here (pdf, 6.6MB). The entire 709-page document can be downloaded at the U.S. Army Center of Military History site (pdf, 20.9MB).




Truck Tracks, 1944

Colonel J. P. Glandon, United States Army Corps of Engineers

    Colonel Glandon was born November 28, 1889, in Mexico, Missouri. His service dates from World War I and has all been in the Quartermaster Corps. He was commissioned in the Regular Army in October, 1920. His service includes duty at the Chicago Quartermaster Depot; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Snelling, Minnesota; Office of the Quartermaster General; Hawaiian Quartermaster Depot; Fort Stevens, Oregon, and the Boston Port of Embarkation. He established and organized the Portland Sub-Port of Embarkation, Portland, Oregon, just prior to Pearl Harbor.

    He is a graduate of the Quartermaster School, Philadelphia, Pa., 1928, and of the Army Industrial College, Washington, D.C., 1929. He Attended Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, Missouri; William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri, and Missouri University.

    Prior to entering the service, Colonel Glandon was in the grain business and a member of the Omaha Grain Exchange. Foreign Service includes three years in France during and after World War I, two years in Hawaii and in the Northwest Service Command since September, 1942, where he served as its first Quartermaster, until his assignment to the Alaska Highway, February 16, 1943.




Alaska Highway commemorative envelope used by Col. J. P. Glandon in 1943

    From the ExploreNorth collection are 3 envelopes which were mailed in October and November 1943 by Col. Glandon, from APO 724, which was the headquarters of the Northwest Service Command on the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, BC. They can be seen on this page.

    The original envelopes are now on display in The Cut Off Restaurant on the Alaska Highway just south of Whitehorse.




Mexico Evening Ledger, Mexico, Missouri - Friday, June 15, 1951

    Recently reading an interview in the Ledger with a returned_U. S. soldier from Korea. we noted that he called his competent officers "good Joes." This immediately brought to mind the late Col. Joseph Glandon, U. S. Army, retired, of Mexico. He was a "good Joe," if there ever was one. The designation came not only from his friends, but the men, officers and enlisted, who served under him.

    In 1943 when we were touring the famous Alaskan highway as an accredited correspondent with him, we saw these qualities in action which made him popular as well as successful.

    One night near 11 o'clock, we were driving over the loose gravel of the Highway at the top safety speed of 35 miles an hour, when we saw an army truck halted and the driver and his helper working on it.

    Col. Glandon had his car stopped, and alighted to investigate and ask if we could help in any way.

    Each 100 mile section of road was patrolled day and night at hourly intervals by two MPs in jeeps for the purpose of policing as well as taking care of such incidents as this. This patrol had not arrived. It might come soon. However, as it wasn't there, he felt he should help if he could until the regular forces appeared.

    While he and his driver assisted the two GIs with their car trouble we watched (through the car window) seven or eight wolves, about 100 yards distant, surrounding a tree and trying to reach some other animal in the lower limbs.

    Later this wolf incident settled a question as to whether or not wolves wagged their tails like dogs. They do. We saw them wagging that night as they milled around the tree. So the Colonel and I qualified as naturalists.

    All of the military companies along the highways had pets very soon after becoming stationed there. These consisted of foxes, rabbits, some small bears that loafed around the kitchen garbage cans and a few birds.

    The American youth was running true to form in his love of animals and pets.

    One day a small bear barged into a company kitchen and raided the frying pan filled with food. The cook slapped him on the tail with another skillet and the bear slapped back badly lacerating the cook's arm.

    Immediately an order was issued notifying all companies to release all pets. This was a heavy blow to the GIs whose interest and affection was centered in their pets. Col. Glandon, realizing that this would not help the morale of the men on such isolated duty, "fronted" for the men and their pets and succeeded in having the order reversed.

    In his inspection he was especially interested in the welfare of the men and their morale. There were few USO shows on the Highway. They had movies in barracks, athletic teams in the companies stationed every 100 miles and other activities to make their idle time as pleasant as could be so far from home and in a wilderness.

    He asked the writer if there was anything else we could suggest in the public relations line that might assist in improving the morale on the Highway.

    We suggested a newspaper which would be edited by the enlisted personnel, under his direction, and would give the top news of the Highway and especially carry the athletic news and create more interest in the game competition.

    This paper was established. It was called "Truck Tracks," because of the hundreds of trucks that pushed over the gravel and through the dust, 24 hours a day, carrying war material. The principal reason for the road.

    The paper was continued until the road was inactivated. Col. Glandon said the results were most satisfactory in helping to solve his problem, and kindly credited us with the idea in the interesting and extensively illustrated final issue - a collector's item today.

    His interest in his men and their welfare was just as deep and efficient as that which he applied to his work so successfully. That, no doubt, is one reason his planning on the Highway, a potential lifeline for our troops, was so successful. All of the activity's wheels were geared correctly and meshed perfectly. This was done with human understanding, competent judgment and military precision, a triumvirate that is hard to beat as well as often difficult to find. This is one of the big factors, we have always felt, that makes the American Army such a predominant institution.

    Col. Glandon's philosophy was that his Colonel's "chicken" should command just as much respect from him as it should from those under its wings.

All that glitters may not be gold, but in the Army there's some "brass" that in human and military values, assays higher than the 18-carat variety.



"US Army Uniforms of World War II" by Shelby L. Stanton (1991)

Colonel J. P. Glandon, United States Army Corps of Engineers