The 497th Engineer Heavy Shop Company had its start in a discussion between Ralph G. Dunn, Assistant Service Manager, Caterpillar Tractor Co., and Lt. Col. C. Rodney Smith of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 7, 1942.  The Army had a need for experienced men to work on equipment that would be used on a massive road project.  The result was formation of a unique Army unit composed almost entirely of employees of a single civilian company, the Caterpillar Tractor Co. of Peoria, Illinois.  Following the ceremonies and training documented on the following page, the 497th would be sent to the China-Burma-India Theater to work on the Ledo Road.