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897th and 3562nd Ordnance Heavy Automotive Maintenance Companies, 1941-1945
Camp Young, Indio, Calfornia (1942)
Apparently written by BJ (Ben) Noster for the 897th Ordnance Association’s 15th reunion, September 16-18, 1993, in Henrietta, NY.
Camp Young is located approximately 25 miles east of Indio [California]. The camp, named for Lieutenant General S.B.M. Young, the first Army Chief of Staff, historically served as the headquarters for the entire theater of operations. It was from this site that General George S. Patton, Jr. trained the 3rd Armored Division, the first of a wave of incoming troops, in essential desert tactics and maneuvers. Camp Young remained the Administrative Headquarters and the focal point of the maneuvers area until the closure of the DTC [Desert Training Center] in 1944.
The 897th was stationed at Camp Young in 1942. These photos are from August.
Today , the area that was once Camp Young lies abandoned. The ownership of the land is divided between several private holders and the Federal Government in a checkerboard pattern. The remnants of the camp include roads and walkways, rock alignments and miscellaneous artifacts left by the men who lived there. Thick vegetation serves to hide many of these features from on-the-ground observers, though from the air, the infrastructure is more apparent.
The changes that have occurred since abandonment have altered large portions of the camp. A four lane freeway runs through the southwest corner of the camp. A power line and a gas line transect the area from east to west. Washes originating from the Eagle Mountains to the north flow through the camp, erasing many of the man-made features. In addition, grading and water diversion methods performed by the Metropolitan Water District have channeled runoff over the camp, leaving many of the original roads deeply rutted. Damage by motorized vehicles is most apparent in the disturbance of rock alignments. Past activities associated with [military artifact] collecting is evident by the presence of holes. [It is unclear why the rock alignments are significant.]
Fortunately, much of this destruction can be repaired. Closure of the camp to vehicle traffic, except of approved routes of travel, will decrease inadvertent damage caused by cross-country travel. Closure of the area to artifact collecting will discourage digging and other forms of disturbance. Agreements with the Metropolitan Water District may help to eliminate erosion problems. Land ownership patterns preclude legal public access into the camp at this time. Agreements will be developed to provide access in the future.
Interpretive measures including the placement of a monument and plaque and a kiosk at or near the campsite will provide an opportunity to distribute information. The kiosk will display a variety of information ranging from maps and photographs of the original camp to actual “orders of the day” and schedules of camp events. A visitor register will be located at the kiosk to generate sources of information or support and to monitor levels of use. The kiosk will be located along “B” Street near the entrance to the camp. The monument will be a replica of one placed at Camp Horn to memorialize several men who died while stationed there. [There are Internet references to camps named "Horn" in California as well as Arizona.]