In our present age of inspections, when every unit undergoes a series, one branch of the Seventeenth Field Artillery claims the title of being the most thoroughly inspected unit of the Army of Occupation.
This unit is now labeled the "Corps Motor School." Since its origin as the school of instruction for motor drivers of the Seventeenth Field Artillery, this school has stood many critical inspections by many high officials. Major generals and brigadier generals came on in flocks. French and English staff officers arrived in large numbers, and found time to look over the greasy, oil-stained motor parts which are interesting objects of study. One of the most distinguished visitors was Mr. Davis, ambassador to England.
When, during the latter part of January, the first motors and tractors began to arrive at the village of Bendorf, the town in which the regiment was then stationed—it soon became necessary to teach the men how to drive the "gas horses," feed them and keep them in prime condition. It was then that the first motor school was started, and many a former lead, swing or wheel driver exchanged his grooming kit for an oil can and a wrench; and his bridle for the wheel of the new gas wagon.
This course, which lasted but a few weeks, was closely followed by a second, and when the entire organization was moved to its present location, the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the school established itself in the former stables of the German artillery regiment at the east end of the fortress.
Capt. H. J. Stebbins and Lieut. Milspaugh got busy and greatly improved the organization of the school. New buildings were added and occupied. Drawings and tracings made, gasoline engines taken apart and mounted on exhibition stands, new motor parts were procured, and every known type of spark plug introduced into the lectures.
At the present time the school consists of about a dozen buildings and has a quarter-mile track for the tryouts of the students and the machines. Accidents happen, of course, but no one has ever been seriously hurt.
The school has a garage of 95 Quad two-ton trucks, 70 Indian motorcycles, 16 Liberty trucks, four light Ford delivery trucks, four Harley-Davidson motor cycles with side cars, and four without, and a large number of tractors for the batteries.
At the end of a course is an examination, which is practical as well as written. A thirty-foot square, with sides of wooden planks, is laid out. The student drives his truck into the square and attempts to turn around again and drive out again without touching the boards. The test of the tractor men is somewhat similar.