It Has To Be Yellow

by kfrego

When arriving at the Bath County Project in 1978 there was something that caught your eye as soon as you hit the job. All of the bulldozers on the project were made by Terex, a General Motors subsidiary. Terex was well known for their TS-32 twin engine self loading scrapers on heavy and civil projects. No other scraper available matched them for durability and power. General Motors provided a lot of equipment to the military and government agencies. Their bulldozers were not common on large construction projects. All of the Terex equipment was painted a bright green color. You could identify them from a long distance. It was pretty obvious the bulldozers had been purchased by somebody from a government or institutional purchasing background. No self respecting construction equipment superintendent or purchasing agent would ever buy green Terex bulldozers.

Caterpillar was the bulldozer of choice for big contractors. Their distinct yellow color was recognized everywhere. This was before the influx of foreign competitors into the US heavy equipment market. Imports were generally looked at with disdain by contractors and their employees. It wasn’t a global market like today. It had to be yellow and it had to be CAT yellow to be the best bulldozer. After two years the Terex bulldozers were replaced by Caterpillar bulldozers. If my memory is correct there were twenty three new Cat bulldozers purchased.

Several months later Caterpillar invited many of the excavation related supervisory staff on the project to a weekend fishing trip. CAT chartered two twin engine Piper Navajo planes to pick us up at mid day on Friday in Roanoke, VA. We flew from Roanoke to Manteo, NC which is in the center of the Outer Banks/Cape Hatteras seashore areas. We spent the evening doing sightseeing and dinner. The next morning we were at Oregon Inlet for breakfast at four. Our five o’clock departure for marlin fishing was delayed by fog. We started tossing quarters on a sidewalk near the docks. Soon we had a dozen players and a lively game going. The quarter closest to the crack split the pot fifty fifty between their pocket and the tip jar for the deck hands at the end of the day. It wasn’t long and somebody broke out a cooler. The party was on. We all made the best of the two hour delay. The fishing didn’t get us into any marlin, but we got enough smaller hits to make the day interesting. We all took pictures of a 450 pound marlin on the docks. On Sunday afternoon our charter flights returned us to Roanoke.

Regardless of make or model in the “Green” world of today……..all bulldozers are still yellow, but they aren’t all Caterpillars.