The 819th arrived in the E.T.O. in July 1942 to build Andrews Field, the first American-built heavy-bomber drome in England. Elements of the unit landed in France H + 3 hours on D-Day. Battalion won Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for construction under fire of first ALG in Normandy. Constructed 10 ALGs and 14 S and E strips, and rehabilitated three enemy airdromes on the continent.
Aviation Engineers in Mobile Warfare
The 819th EAB was one of two units in the IX Engineer Command to be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (the other was the 834th EAB). The following is the text of the citation:
The 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy from 6 to 14 June 1944. The advance elements of the 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion landed on H plus 3 hours on D-day with the mission of completing an emergency landing strip by nightfall and an advanced landing ground by 14 June. Although the area was still partially occupied by the enemy and at one time the engineering equipment was working within 200 yards of active enemy artillery emplacements, the initial assignment of constructing the emergency landing strip was completed in record time. Working without rest or replacements of personnel or equipment, the members of the 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion advanced and immediately commenced the construction of a refueling and rearming strip further inland. During the following 7 days the difficult task was accomplished in a highly successful manner through the outstanding efforts of the personnel concerned. Solely as a result of the strenuous efforts of the members of the 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion the first advance landing ground in an important sector of the Normandy battle zone was operational on the date originally scheduled, thereby greatly facilitating aerial operations in northern France during a most critical phase of combat. The achievements of the 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion reflect great credit on the entire organization and the armed forces of the United States.General Orders, No. 10. 22 February 1945