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Lieutenant Colonel Rene Gaudette

15th Quartermaster Company

Rene Albert Gaudette was born on March 26th, 1915 to Albert and Yvonne Gaudette in Marlborough, Massachusetts. He graduated from Marlborough High School in 1933 and attended Northeastern University in Boston for a year studying engineering before transferring to Boston University to pursue a degree in advertising. He did not graduate, instead opting to enlist in the US Army on January 10th, 1942 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He was made a First Sergeant on January 30th, 1943 and in February of that year was sent to Officer Candidate School. Gaudette graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on June 17th, 1943.

World War II

On September 23rd, 1944, Lieutenant Gaudette was assigned to the 4415th Quartermaster Service Company in Europe as a platoon leader. Gaudette served with the 4415th as a platoon leader, executive officer, and eventually the commanding officer. He was promoted to First Lieutenant while serving as the executive officer on June 1st, 1945 and rotated back to the United States to Camp Lee, VA with the 4415th. Gaudette was transferred to the 3136th Quartermaster Service Company on November 26th, 1945 to serve as the company’s commanding officer.

On January 1st, 1946, Lieutenant Gaudette was reassigned to the Quartermaster Training Center at Camp Lee as a training officer before being discharged from active duty the following month. He opted to remain in the US Army reserves following his service in World War II.

Click on a photo in this slideshow for a closer look or click on the arrows at the edges of the slideshow to look through the photos.

Korean War

On September 6th, 1950, Gaudette was called to active duty to support the war in Korea. Now a captain, he initially was assigned to command the 317th Quartermaster Reclamation & Maintenance Company at Camp Pickett, VA but was ordered to Korea in 1951. He arrived in Korea on July 9th, 1951, assigned as the commanding officer of the 15th Quartermaster Company, 1st Cavalry Division.

The 1st Cavalry Division had been in Korea for an entire year by the time Captain Gaudette arrived in country. A little over a week after his arrival, the division was rotated off the front line, engaging in rest and training, bringing replacements like Gaudette up to speed and allowing the veterans to take time to recharge. Training emphasized combat in rough, hilly terrain, preparing the men of the division for campaigns in the near future. The First Team returned to the front line on July 31st, establishing patrol bases beyond Line Kansas to probe Chinese defenses.

Gaudette’s primary concern was ensuring that supplies reached the front line and due to heavy rains in early August, was a nightmare. Rain water runoff caused streams to rise to depths of 10 to 20 feet, washing out a vital pontoon bridge spanning the Han River. Working with combat engineers from the 8th Engineer Company, a railroad bridge near the destroyed pontoon bridge was retrofitted to accommodate trucks and roads were created to restore the flow of supplies. Utilization of Korean porters augmented the around 220-man 15th QM Company, allowing the company to transport more supplies quicker.

The primary combat operation Captain Gaudette served in was Operation Commando/Polecharge, a 16-day long campaign to secure a series of hills to prevent the Chinese from mounting a large-scale offensive. This campaign required extensive logistical support, which fell on Gaudette’s shoulders.

The greatest issue of supply during the operation was a chronic shortage of artillery and mortar rounds. The G-4 report from 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment details that the battalion faced shortages of 81mm mortar rounds, 75mm recoilless rifle rounds, hand grenades, and trip flares. This battalion, and other units within the division, felt that additional supplies of ordinance was needed but also that the units of the 1st Cavalry Division expended much more ammunition than initially anticipated. Overall, all elements of the 1st Cavalry Division were adequately supplied, with water and hot rations always available for the infantry and not one unit exhausting all of their ammunition. Captain Gaudette was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service with the 15th QM Company. He led the company through the remainder of the 1st Cavalry Division’s days of combat in Korea and during the early days of their occupation duties on the island of Hokkaido. On January 14th, 1952, he stepped down from command of the 15th QM Company to be appointed the 1st Cavalry Division’s supply officer. In May 1952, he was rotated back to the United States for demobilization, ending an 11-month tour of duty and the end of his second war.

Gaudette remained in the US Army Reserves until the mid-1960s, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, having served for over 20 years in the military. In his civilian life, he worked as an engineering assistant working on radar equipment and as a real estate broker. He passed away on October 5th, 1999 at the age of 84. He is buried Saint Mary’s Cemetery in his Marlborough, Massachusetts.



  • "1st Cavalry Division History - Korean War, 1950 - 1951." 1st Cavalry Division History - Korean War, 1950 - 1951. Cavalry Outpost Publications, 1996

  • US Army Personnel Fire of LTC Rene Gaudette

Author's Note:

I wish to thank Robert Mackowiak, curator of , for helping me acquire the HBT coveralls of LTC Gaudette. 

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