Chapter XI
The Training Stations

When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the enlisted strength of the United States Navy was about 110,000 men; six years later (2 September 1945) personnel numbered 3,009,380. Because of the fleet building program under way in1939, personnel strength had been increased slowly but steadily for several years, and it was intended that by the end of the 1940 fiscal year, then ten months away, it would stand at 116,000. Congress had sanctioned a rise to that figure when it provided the funds for Navy pay in the 1940 Naval Appropriation Act.

It is not to be supposed that the number of men thus provided was considered adequate to maintain the fleet in readiness for war. Had all fleet units been manned at full complement -- the number of men required to meet the demands of battle -- many more would have been needed. During the previous year, only submarines had been maintained at 100-percent complement; the larger ships had been manned to about 85 percent, as a rule, and the average allowance, or number of men actually assigned, of the fleet as a whole was 85.3 percent of war complement.

On September 5, 1939, a few days after German forces marched into Poland, the President proclaimed the neutrality of the United States. This action brought into effect the provisions of the neutrality law and required the establishment of a patrol of the Atlantic Coast to prevent maritime activities in violation of this neutral status. To satisfy the need for naval vessels for this work, while avoiding reduction of strength in the Pacific, it was necessary to recommission 68 overage destroyers and auxiliary vessels then laid up and out of commission at Philadelphia and at San Diego.

Three days after the neutrality proclamation, on September 1939, the President proclaimed the existence of a limited national emergency and authorized the Navy to increase its personnel strength to 145,000 men, so that the units newly commissioned to engage in neutrality patrol could be manned. It was planned that the augmented figure would be attained by May 1, 1940, requiring a recruiting program that would bring new men into the Navy at the rate of 4,200 per month.

At that time, the training of recruits for the Navy was carried on at four widely separated establishments, all of which had been in existence since World War I, or before -- the naval training stations at Newport, R.I., Great Lakes, Ill., Norfolk, Va., and San Diego, Calif. During the twelve months ending June 30, 1939, those four stations had given basic naval training to 13,678 recruits.

The naval training station at Newport, R.I., the oldest of the four stations, was established in 1883, marking the Navy's first departure from reliance upon the traditional training ship. During its early history, the station occupied Coasters Harbor Island in Narragansett Bay, but that site became saturated with training activities during the first World War, and development of an annex on Coddington Point, on the mainland, was undertaken. During the next twenty years, nearly all the temporary facilities that had been put up in 1917 were removed and the Coddington Point site was cleared. Facilities remaining at Coasters Harbor Island were adequate to provide for 2,000 men.

The second oldest training station, at Great Lakes, Ill., was commissioned in 1911. It occupied a tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan, north of Chicago. It, too, had been greatly expanded by the erection of temporary buildings during the first World War, and at the height of that expansion was able to accommodate 50,000 men. After the war, the temporary structures were


Functional Design Expressed in the Columns and Roof Trusses of a Reception Center, Great Lakes, Ill.
Functional Design Expressed in the Columns and Roof Trusses of a Reception Center, Great Lakes, Ill.

removed and the station's accommodations contracted to provide for 3,500 men. Most of the station's remaining facilities were permanent structures, located at what is now known as the main station, east of Sheridan Road.

The training station at Norfolk, Va., was the largest of the four stations. Developed initially in 1917 as part of the large program of naval base facility construction in the Hampton Roads area, it consisted, at first, of temporary or semi-permanent buildings. However, in line with the development of the area as the major naval base on the Atlantic Coast, during the years following the war, the temporary facilities were gradually replaced by permanent structures. By 1939, the Norfolk training station had facilities adequate to care for 10,000 men.

The fourth naval training station, at San Diego, Calif., also was established during World War I. In 1917, it took the form of a tent camp in the city's Balboa Park, but immediately after the war, a permanent training station was established north of the city, on a tract of land overlooking the bay. The new station was commissioned in 1923. By 1939, the station had facilities enough to provide accommodations for 5,000 recruits.

The 1939 increase in the Navy's recruit-training program, occasioned by the need to expand personnel within eight months to 145,000, brought immediately pressing problems at the training stations. The recruit-training period was reduced from three months to two. Old buildings that had been out of use for years had to be rehabilitated for occupancy. Moreover, hospital and dispensary facilities at all four stations were unprepared to take on the new load and had to be expanded.

The program of expanding the existing stations ushered in by this situation was the opening move in what was to become a gigantic program of building naval training facilities to make possible an


expansion in naval personnel that reached 3,000,000 men by July 1944.

The enlargement of the Navy's enlisted strength in the fall of 1939 got under way promptly and by the end of the year, the four training stations were operating at capacity. Recruits were being received and trained at a rate of about 3,900 a month, distributed almost evenly among the four stations.

The National Defense Program

Early in May 1940, the German army outflanked the Maginot Line and in a few weeks had overrun western Europe. On May 16, the President delivered a special message to Congress on the emergency needs of national defense and called for a huge program of defense activity. Among the items proposed was filling the personnel complements on all naval units afloat, requiring a further increase in naval personnel to 172,300 to be attained by June 30, 1941.

The new personnel increase would require the recruitment of about 25,000 additional men during the next twelve months and would impose on the naval training establishments a load that would be quite beyond the ability of the four stations to met by the easy road of "recommissioning" disused facilities. It was estimated that new facilities would be required -- barracks, mess halls, and accessory structures -- sufficient to care for 4,000 additional men. Accordingly, funds to permit such an expansion were requested of Congress when the First Supplemental Appropriation Act for 1941, the follow-up on the President's May 16 message, was before it in June 1940. When the act was approved, on June 26, it appropriated $3,000,000 for the purpose.

In less than a week, the Bureau of Yards and Docks had entered into a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the necessary construction at Newport -- four barracks, a mess hall, and other incidental construction, capable of housing and caring for about 900 recruits, all on Coasters Harbor Island. In quick succession, contracts were awarded for the necessary expansion of the other stations. For San Diego, five barracks, a mess hall, cooks' quarters, and the necessary auxiliary facilities were contracted for on July 18; four barracks and accessory construction for Norfolk; and five barracks and accessories for Great Lakes.

All the barracks built under this program were of the Bureau's standard B-1 design, an H-shaped building planned to accommodate 225 men. The national emergency, it was thought, would probably be of short duration and consequently the cost of constructing permanent buildings would not be justified. Moreover, the need for expansion of station capacity was pressing, and building with brick and concrete would take too long. Consequently, timber for the framing and asbestos board for the siding were the materials chosen, so that the construction work could progress rapidly and at the least cost, even though the future cost of upkeep might be high.

The need for further expansion of the training stations was not long in appearing. On July 19, 1940, in response to the general world situation, Congress authorized the "two-ocean Navy." The national defense program began to get under way. Speed in the production of the instruments of defense became the primary focus of the national effort.

Plans for the development of the two-ocean Navy did not remain long on paper. Industry began to produce ships, machines, and equipment at an unprecedented rate. Trained men were needed in ever-increasing numbers, and their flow from the training establishments had to be geared to the flow of ships from the building yards and of equipment from the factories. The supply of personnel became a problem in logistics.

Recruiting rates were stepped up, reaching 6,400 a month in July, August, and September; 9,400 in October, and 10,400 in November. The situation called for further expansion of training facilities, and a second enlargement program was undertaken, beginning in September. At Norfolk, eleven new barracks, a drill hall, and attendant auxiliary facilities were begun; at Great Lakes, ten barracks, a drill hall, and a swimming pool. Expansion of the Newport and San Diego stations was less extensive, three barracks and a drill hall at Newport, and four barracks, some trade-school buildings, and an auditorium at San Diego.

Taken together, the July and September programs of station expansion were designed to provide additional capacity sufficient to care for an increase of about 10,000 in the training station population. Construction got under way promptly.

By January 1, 1941, the Navy ranks had grown to 192,200 enlisted men and 17,700 officers. In June, it was announced that the operating force plan for


Storehouses, San Diego Naval Training Center
Storehouses, San Diego Naval Training Center

the next twelve months called for a steady increase in personnel, to reach a total of 286,000 men by July 1, 1942. The Navy's strength had already risen to about 237,000, and it was planned that the current recruitment rate of about 10,000 men per month would be raised to 15,000 per month. In line with these plans, it was necessary that the training stations be still further enlarged.

Accordingly, a third program of station development was put under way in the sumer of 1941, directed primarily to bringing about a better balance of facilities but also giving a moderate increase in training capacity.

At Norfolk, two new barracks were built, together with some trade-school buildings, a dispensary, an auditorium, and other recreational facilities. Six barracks were constructed at Great Lakes, plus a drill hall and a recreation building. Newport's capacity was increased by the building of two additional barracks for recruits, and a new reception building, and the station's facilities were brought into better balance by the construction of new barracks for hospital corpsmen and some storage buildings. At San Diego, three new barracks, a storehouse, a seamanship training building, additional medical and dental facilities, and new recreational facilities were put under construction.

By July 1941, estimates of the personnel needed to man the rapidly expanding Navy were again increased. Enlisted men in the service then totaled about 250,000, and it was estimated that 369,000 would be needed a year hence. The recruiting program, it was computed, should be so operated as to bring in 137,200 men during the coming year.

The rapid growth in personnel strength had necessarily brought about the establishment of a great many new billets for petty officers, far more than could be filled with the qualified men already available. An enlargement of that part of the training program dealing with the production of qualified petty officers was needed, and that enlargement, in turn, required an expansion of the petty-officer school facilities. It was estimated that of the 137,200 first enlistments planned for the coming year, 45,000 would, after their initial training, be put through a 16-week course at petty-officer training schools. This special training load was beyond the existing capacity of the schools at the training stations, and it was computed that provisions for 5,000 more men would be required. Additional facilities adequate to provide for 2,000, it was decided, should be installed at Great Lakes, and for 3,000 at San Diego.

The necessary work was begun at the two stations in the early fall. Nine new barracks were built for the school at Great Lakes, together with


three instruction buildings, a shop building, and a mess hall. The San Diego enlargement consisted of fourteen barracks and three school buildings.

Conditions in December 1941

As 1941 drew toward its close the congestion at the training stations approached the intolerable. Together, they were now capable of accommodating about 20,000 recruits, a capacity inadequate to permit the six-week training period to be maintained. The training course was reduced to as little as four weeks, and the necessity for still further shortening the training period seemed to lie ahead. To alleviate the situation, recently completed barracks, built for trade-school purposes, were used to house recruits; drill halls and other types of buildings were fitted out as living quarters; and tents were used where the climate permitted, as at San Diego where the station's facilities were also augmented by taking over four city-owned buildings in San Diego's Balboa Park. The Navy had grown to 290,000 men, and there were many indications that the recruiting rate would have to be pushed up much higher. Moreover, the four week period of training was wholly unsatisfactory, and it was intended that return to the eight-week schedule would be made as soon as possible. Further expansion of the training stations was clearly needed. On November 5, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation recommended that the Great Lakes and San Diego stations be further enlarged to increase the Navy's total recruit training capacity from 20,000 to 30,000. This would permit the reestablishment of the eight-week training period and still care for the planned increase of recruits.

These were the conditions that prevailed when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor.

In answer to the Japanese attack, young Americans flocked to the recruiting offices. During the month of December 1941, enlistments raised the total of naval personnel by 42,000. Such a load, imposed on training stations already strained to the breaking point, called for drastic measures.

At the Great Lakes station, the consequences of the Pearl Harbor attack had been partly anticipated. On the afternoon of December 7, 1941, a few hours after the news of the bombing had been received, the Public Works Officer of the Ninth Naval District had called one of the contractors working on the training station improvement program and directed him to proceed immediately with the construction of 32 additional barracks and the necessary auxiliary structures.

Something also had to be done quickly to provide for the influx of men at Newport. The old Coddington Point site was pressed into service again (for Coasters Harbor Island had been developed to the limit of its capacity) and on it were erected, within 30 days, 277 quonset huts, providing quarters for 2,770 men.

About a week later, on December 16, the contractor already at work on a large Navy housing project at San Diego was authorized to proceed with the construction of the facilities required to increase the capacity of that training station by about 9,000 men. Immediately, 45 barracks, together with the necessary mess halls, dispensaries, and other attendant facilities were put under construction. Because of the mildness of the region's climate, it was possible to do without the drill halls made necessary by cold weather at the more northerly stations. A semi-permanent type of construction was used, although the architectural treatment was designed to harmonize with the station's permanent buildings. Exterior walls were of stucco on wood frame; roofs were of mineral-surfaced asphalt shingles. Construction progressed rapidly, and by March, some of the barracks in the new expansion program were ready for occupancy. All of them were usably complete by the end of June.

Expansion at Great Lakes and Newport

On December 20, 1941, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation recommended that the training stations at Great Lakes and Newport be greatly enlarged. An increase in capacity to provide for 20,000 more recruits and 5,000 more men in trade schools was needed at Great Lakes, he reported, and for 5,000 additional recruits and 4,000 more men in trade schools at Newport. It was now estimated that 370,000 recruits would be required during the 1943 fiscal year (1 July 1942 to 30 June 1943). The capacity that would result from carrying out the expansion recommended would permit the eight-week training period to be resumed, and also would provide trade-school facilities for 30 percent of the recruits completing basic training.

In early February, the building of 87 new barracks, mess hills, drill halls, school buildings, and other attendant structures at Great Lakes, including those put into construction the day after the


attack on Pearl Harbor, was formally contracted for. This action was accompanied by the award of twelve other fixed-fee contracts, which, in the aggregate, were to provide 54 more barracks and attendant structures.

The tremendous development of the Great Lakes training station thus begun in the early months of 1942, involved the establishment of seven new "camps" -- Camp Paul Jones, Porter, Perry, Dewey, Moffett, Lawrence, and Robert Smalls -- to add to the four that already comprised the station. Each camp was laid out as a unit to accommodate and give basic training to about 4,500 recruits, and comprised, as a rule, 18 barracks, a drill hall, a recreation building, a dispensary and, of course, the necessary roads, walks, and utilities. The program required the taking over of about 375 acres of land lying west of Sheridan Road and belonging to the Veterans Administration.

Rapid progress was made on the construction. Highly competent contracting firms had been selected and the work had been so distributed that each one was engaged in the type of construction in which it was a specialist. To keep abreast of the construction, 27 architectural firms were awarded contracts for the design of buildings and utilities. Also, a considerable proportion of the design work was handled by the Navy's own design organization attached to the District Public Works Office.

The laminated wood arch, superseding the conventional timber truss in drill-hall construction, made its first appearance in this expansion of Great Lakes and set the pattern for its subsequent use at other stations. Moreover, the adoption of the modern style of architectural design for reception buildings, theaters, and chapels marked a break with the traditional forms of personnel structures.

The great expansion program at Great Lakes arrived at the stage of usable completion in June 1942. The capacity of the station, enlarged to care for about 44,000 men, was nearly as great as it had been at the peak of its development during World War I.

In the meanwhile, enlargement of the Newport training station had also been carried forward. Immediately upon the approval of the December 20 recommendations, on December 22, three new cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts were entered into for the construction on Coddington Point of 42 new barracks, three drill halls, and the other structures necessary to accommodate 9,000 men.

Three New Training Stations

The expansion program at Great Lakes, San Diego, and Newport had just gotten under way when the demand arose for still more training capacity. Recruiting was proceeding at a lively rate. The revised Operating Force Plan for the coming fiscal year called for 1,023,000 men by June 30, 1943, a figure that would require 550,000 new enlistments during the year. It was computed that the shortage of training station capacity, in the light of these figures, amounted to 72,000 billets -- 24,000 in recruit training and 48,000 in school facilities.

The shortage was considered too great to be met by further enlargements of the existing training stations. As a result, recommendation was made by the Bureau of Navigation that four wholly new stations be established, each to be capable of accommodating 20,000 men, two to be located along the West Coast, one in the East, and one in the central or southern part of the country. This recommendation, made on March 4, 1942, also urged that the new stations be located far enough away from other naval activities to avoid further congestion, placed far enough inland to minimize danger from possible enemy bombing, and built in areas where climatic conditions would persist outdoor training throughout a large part of the year.

Criteria for location of new stations. -- Locating the proposed new stations was no easy task. In addition to the conditions set forth in the recommendation of the Bureau of Navigation, experience had disclosed other criteria that would have to be met if the best results were to be achieved. For instance, a large area of reasonably level, cleared, and well-drained land would be needed for a training station of the capacity proposed. To facilitate training in seamanship, it was most important that a station be close to a body of water large enough to accommodate a sizable fleet of small craft. Proximity to a city that could serve as a liberty port was also highly desirable. The selection of a healthful locality was essential. Railroad and highway connections would have to be of such a character as to facilitate the movement of large bodies of men to ports of embarkation. An adequate supply


Drill Hall Interior, Great Lakes
Drill Hall Interior, Great Lakes
Laminated timber arches, spliced at the top, were used to carry the roof.

of water and electricity and suitable facilities for sewage disposal were also necessary.

In addition to these requirements, set by the nature of the installations, the problems of construction introduced additional factors. Workmen would have to be readily available, if the desired construction speed was to be achieved, and construction materials would have to be procurable within a reasonable distance. Moreover, the new development would have to avoid impeding the other elements of the great programs of war construction and production then getting into high gear.

These criteria automatically eliminated many proposed locations at the very beginning. For example, a number of possible locations in the southeast were studied, including three in Georgia, one in North Carolina, and one in South Carolina, all of which had to be rejected because of their failure to meet the important criteria for location.

A favorable site for one of the stations was found at Port Deposit, Md., on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, on land that was rolling and well drained. In central New York state, the Finger Lakes region offered a fine location for another station on the east shore of Seneca Lake, about 17 miles from the city of Geneva.

In the West, consideration was given to three locations -- Lake Tahoe in eastern California at the bend in the Nevada line, Pyramid Lake in western Nevada, and Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho.

In view of the urgent need for the new training stations and the rapid approach of the best construction weather for the year, it was important that a prompt decision be made as to location and that construction be put under way at the earliest possible date. The President approved the acquisition of the Port Deposit and the Lake Pend Oreille sites on March 25, 1942, and two weeks alter, approval was accorded to the Seneca Lake location. Plans for the development of the three new training stations began immediately.

The two remaining western locations, at Lake Tahoe and at Pyramid Lake, left much to be


Torpedo School, Great Lakes
Torpedo School, Great Lakes
Adoption of modern architectural style marked a break with the traditional forms of personnel structures.

desired. It was found that both would require much costly and time-consuming site preparation, and both presented extremes of climate. Remote as they were from large centers of population, it was foreseen that housing of construction labor would be difficult, and no suitable liberty port would be available. In view of their shortcomings, the two proposed sites were abandoned, and it was decided to increase the size of two of the three approved stations from 20,000 capacity to 30,000.

The new stations were named to honor the memory of three outstanding figures in American naval history. Admiral William Thomas Sampson, remembered for his victory in the battle of Santiago in 1898, gave his name to the station on Seneca Lake. Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, the first admiral of the Navy and her of the battle of Mobile Bay, gave his name to the station in Idaho. The Maryland station received its name from Commodore William Bainbridge, who, while in command of the American warship Constitution, during the War of 1812, sank HMS Java.

On April 10, 1942, letters of intent were sent to the contracting firms selected to build the Bainbridge and Farragut training stations, and six weeks later, on May 23, 1942, the same step was taken in connection with the construction of the station at Sampson.

Plans for the new stations. -- All three new training stations were built according to a typical plan that had been worked out in the light of experiences at the four older stations. Under this plan, each station was to consist basically of a number of 5,000-man camps, or units, in one of which a recruit would make his home and receive the scheduled instruction during the entire period of his basic training.

Developing the training stations in this manner had many advantages. When time was precious, occupancy of the station could take place progressively as unit after unit was completed by the contractor. Construction operations going on in other parts of the station would present little interference with training activities under way in the completed units. Similarly, the station could be expanded, if necessary at any time, without hampering training operations. Moreover, as each unit could be operated independently, the training program as a whole could be redirected, modified, or curtailed with a maximum of smoothness.

Although these recruit training units were the primary elements of the training station plan, a


number of other building groups were necessary to provide for the full functioning of the establishment. For example, each station was also to provide for selected graduates of the recruit training course instruction in some special trade or skill which would fir them for duty as petty officers. School facilities, therefore, had to be built. Moreover, irrespective of the service facilities incorporated into the training units themselves, the station as a whole would have administration and service needs which would have to be provided for by structures intended to serve the entire establishment.

The typical station plan, therefore, comprised the following main structural groups: (1) Recruit training, (2) school, (3) recreation, (4) administration, (5) officers' facilities, (6) station personnel, (7) hospital, (8) service, (9) utilities, (10) storage, (11) waterfront,(12) outgoing.

The training unit group. -- Each of the 5,000-man units for the training of recruits was developed around a parade ground and drill field embracing about 14 acres of flat well-drained land. Adjoining the drill field were the two largest structures, the drill hall and the mess hall. The drill hall, 625 feet long by 120 feet wide, provided nearly two acres of unobstructed floor area. In addition to serving as an indoor drill field in severe weather, it also provided gymnasium facilities, a large swimming pool, a removable stage, and motion picture equipment. The mess hall, designed to use the cafeteria system, was large enough to feed 5,000 men at each meal.

Living quarters for the men were provided by 22 two-story barracks, each housing 228 men. Each building was equipped with its own heating plant and sanitary facilities. To enable the men to do their laundry, small auxiliary buildings equipped with scrub decks were constructed, each building servicing two barracks. Two separate barracks were built to house the chief petty officers.

Each training unit was provided with two dispensaries. A ship's service building provided a cafeteria, a store, and recreation facilities in the form of bowling alleys, game rooms, and a library. An administration building, a rifle range, an small-arms magazine, and a large storehouse completed the facilities for each of these 5,000-man training groups.

To provide for the training in special trades or skills to be given to candidates for petty-officer ratings, the school group comprised four or more school buildings, containing classrooms, shops, and other instruction facilities.

Recreation had long been recognized as a vital element in the Navy's training program, for it had been found to pay big dividends in both physical well-being and high morale. Consequently, in addition to the facilities for recreation in each of the training units, a central group of buildings was provided to serve the needs of the station as a whole. These buildings comprised a large auditorium, having a seating capacity of about 2,700; a reception building, where the men night receive and entertain their visitors; a chapel, seating about 400; and a special recreation building for chief petty officers.

The Commanding Officer, his assistants, and the administrative staff necessary to control the training station as a whole were housed in the central administration group. Included also in this group were the receiving building, post office, brig, disciplinary barracks, and guard barracks. Recruits were to receive their introduction to the station in the receiving building. There they would shed their civilian clothes, be given a medical examination, have their personal data entered in the Navy's records, and emerge in their first Navy uniforms.

A special group of buildings was provided to accommodate the men who had completed their basic training or their petty-officer schooling and who were awaiting assignment to a unit of the fleet or to another shore station. This group of buildings comprised 12 barracks, one of which was for chief petty officers, an assembly building, a mess hall, a ship's service building, and an administration building. The buildings were similar in design to their counterparts in the training groups.

The typical training station plan included a 1,000-bed hospital, together with the necessary housing accommodations for its personnel, supplemented by a school for the training of hospital corpsmen. Thirty ward buildings, each a one-story structure, 28 feet wide by 198 feet long, comprised the hospital's main facility. In addition to the special-service buildings providing surgical, X-ray, and physiotherapy facilities, the hospital group included Medical Corps officers' quarters, nurses' quarters, a large mess hall, a recreation building, and barracks and school buildings for hospital corpsmen.

The officer and station personnel groups were to serve as their names imply. In the case of officers,


Boat House, Farragut
Boat House, Farragut


living quarters in the form of barrack-type buildings for bachelor officers and independent or duplex housing units for officers with families were furnished. Messing, recreational, and club facilities were also provided for officer use.

The station personnel group comprised the facilities needed to house the 4,000 or 5,000 Navy personnel who were to operate the utilities, staff the various offices and stores, and maintain the station as a whole.

Farragut Training Station. -- When the decision was made to build three new training stations instead of the four which had been recommended, the training capacities to be provided were set at 30,000 for Farragut and Sampson and 20,000 for Bainbridge. A letter of intent had already been issued for construction at Farragut, however, a month earlier, calling for the construction of a station of 20,000 capacity. Consequently, when the formal contract was signed, on July 29, 1942, the 30,000 figure was incorporated in it, and the construction program at the site, already well under way, was adjusted to provide for the greater capacity.

The Farragut Naval Training Station embraced some 4,050 acres of land at the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille in the pine-studded timber country of northern Idaho. The site lay above the 2,300-foot contour and occupied a long peninsula extending out into the lake to form two bays and 5 miles of shoreline. The lake level itself, although variable with the seasons, has an average elevation of 2,050 feet above sea level. It is about 1,100 feet deep.

The area selected for the station was a roughly rolling plain, virtually nonarable because of thick deposits of morainal gravel. The surrounding country was irregular and rugged, with hills and peaks rising above 5,000 feet. The entire area sloped toward the lake and was underlaid by a thick bed of water-bearing gravel. This circumstance made it possible to develop the station water supply quite economically through the use of wells. Additional wells, sunk as needed, took care of the station's growth.

Detailed plans for the station layout and for the individual buildings were developed on the site by a private architectural engineering firm, from schematic drawings furnished by the Bureau of Yards and Docks. General control of the design was retained in the Bureau in Washington, but the details were left entirely to the field organizations, under the direction of an officer of the Civil Engineer Corps.

The new station, as outlined in the contract, comprised six of the 5,000-man training unit groups, a school group for 5,000, an outgoing group for 3,000, a station personnel group for 5,000, and a 1,500-bed hospital, together with the necessary utilities and miscellaneous related projects. Further additions, added to the contract by change orders as the work progressed, included a low-cost housing project for 300 families, five 50-person dormitories, an auditorium and recreation building, additional officers' quarters, two chapels, and collateral equipment for the station as a whole. In all, there were facilities built to care for a population of more than 45,000. A total of 650 frame buildings were constructed, requiring the use of 91 million board-feet of lumber.

Flat roof construction was used throughout, except for the six drill halls and the auditorium. For those structures, the roofs were supported by bowstring trusses, fabricated on the site. In the earlier stages of the station's construction, the exterior walls were covered with plywood, but when plywood became scarce in later months, drop siding was used. The interiors of all buildings to house personnel were insulated and finished with fiber board, plaster board, and plywood. In general, all buildings were set above ground level, on concrete piers and footings. Central heating plants served the hospital and service groups; all others had individual coal-fired steam heating units with cast-iron radiators.

The station's construction required grading operations involving 1,800,000 cubic yards of earth; of pavement, 46 miles of stone and macadam were laid; railroad trackage totalled 13 miles; sewer lines, 34 miles; water mains, 26 miles; and electric transmission lines, 20 miles. Nearly 7 miles of 6-foot high chain-link fence were erected to enclose the site.

The freshwater supply was taken from wells. Eight 12-inch steel well casings, sunk to a depth of 400 feet into the water-bearing gravel and equipped with deep turbine pumps, had a total daily capacity of 8,000,000 gallons. Two 1,000,000-gallon standpipes, floating on the line, served as equalizers and stand-by capacity.

The sewage treatment plant that was built was designed to care for a population of 45,000, and


Barracks Located Along Contour Lines, Bainbridge, Mo.
Barracks Located Along Contour Lines, Bainbridge, Mo.

provided for primary treatment by plain sedimentation with separate sludge digestion and secondary treatment by trickling filters. The chlorinated effluent was discharged into the lake.

The first training unit group was ready for occupancy by August 25, 1942; the second, on September 10; the third group, on September 15; and the fourth on October 10. The station was formally commissioned on September 15, although it was still far from complete at that time. The camp unit plan made it possible to utilize each 5,000-man unit as it was completed even though construction was still proceeding in other areas. Construction operations reached their climax during the fall and winter of 1942 and were carried on, in spite of severe weather, until the termination of the contract on March 6, 1943.

It is probable that Farragut would have cost somewhat less than it did had it been built on a site less remote from large population centers. There were no provisions for housing construction labor closer than Spokane, 50 miles away; access roads and many temporary utilities had to be provided before work on the station itself could be started. Speed of construction was of paramount importance so that recruit training could begin as early as possible, and a large working force was therefore necessary. However, there was only a negligible local labor pool, and large numbers of workmen had to be imported. Moreover, they had to be induced to remain, in the face of unsatisfactory living conditions and a discouraging transportation situation. Those who lived in Spokane or its vicinity had to commute a long distance, and the time involved practically precluded any free time for recreation. Impaired efficiency was one of the results.

Furthermore, weather conditions during the life of the contract were such as to make for costly construction operations. Heavy rains during much


Amphiteatre and Auditorium, Bainbridge

of the spring of 1942 and abnormally heavy snows during the following winter accounted for a share of the overrun of the construction cost.

Bainbridge Training Station. -- On the same day that the letter of intent authorized work on the Farragut station (10 April 1942), a Washington contractor received a similar letter authorizing the start of construction on the Bainbridge Naval Training Station. In accordance with the prevailing training facilities plan, the new station was to care for 20,000 recruits.

The site chosen comprised 1,132 acres, fronting on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, near the town of Port Deposit, Md. A portion (190 acres) of the land acquired had formerly been used by the Tome Institute, a preparatory school for boys, and was well developed and attractively landscaped. The acquired school facilities included 14 stone buildings. The remainder of the land, including a 140-acre tract reserved as a water-supply reservoir for the Tome Institute, was largely hilly, sparsely wooded farm land. The site was well served by transportation facilities and was close to a number of the larger cities of the Atlantic seaboard.

As at Farragut, schematic plans only were prepared by the Bureau of Yards and Docks. The detailed designs from which the buildings were actually constructed were prepared by a private architectural engineering firm.

The Bainbridge Naval Training Station comprised four 5,000-man recruit training groups, a school group for 3,400 men, an outgoing group for 2,800, a station personnel group for 3,000, and a 1,000-bed hospital. In addition, a housing development for civilian employees provided 325 apartments, of from one to three bedrooms, and dormitory accommodations for 560. All the existing buildings of the tome Institute were utilized for officers' housing, school, and administration purposes.

A prominent feature of the station was an outdoor theater seating 10,000, built in conjunction with the auditorium building of the central recreation group. The stage of the theater was built as an integral part of the stage of the auditorium. The seats were arranged in amphitheater style, on ground which had been terraced and graded. A large door in the center of the back of the stage provided access to the stage of the auditorium. The auditorium building had a seating capacity of 2,732.

As at Farragut, frame construction was used throughout. All roofs were flat with the exception of those for the four large drill halls and the auditorium, which were supported by laminated wood


Drill Field and Adjacent Buildings Comprising a Unit, Bainbridge
Drill Field and Adjacent Buildings Comprising a Unit, Bainbridge

arches. Barracks, school, ship's service, and administration buildings were of the two-story design; all others were of one. Cement-asbestos board was used throughout the station to cover exterior walls. Interior walls were covered with plaster board and fiber board.

Most of the buildings were equipped with individual stoker-fired boilers to provide low-pressure steam for heating. Buildings in the hospital area, the large mess halls, the bakery, and the laundry were heated from central boiler plants.

A complete system of utilities had to be provided to serve the new training establishment. The water system, which drew water from the Susquehanna River, included a filter plant having a daily capacity of 3,700,000 gallons, a concrete reservoir of the same capacity, and a 500,000-gallon elevated steel tank. The distribution system comprised 23 miles of cast-iron pipe.

Sewage disposal equipment provided primary and secondary treatment for a daily flow of 3,300,000 gallons and discharged a chlorinated effluent into the Susquehanna River, at a point downstream from Port Deposit.

To serve the station's transportation requirements, 7 miles of railroad track had to be installed. Some 3,000 cross ties were sawed from trees cleared from the site.

The nearest feasible point of rail connection was to the Oxford-Perryville branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Colora, Md., 3 miles north of the station. A single-track spur to that point was built,


the work involving 300,000 cubic yards of grading, two timber railroad trestles, and a highway bridge, in addition to the track work. The railroad construction was begun in June 1942, and completed the following December.

The facilities needed to support the station's program of small-boat training were constructed along the east bank of the Susquehanna River and included a finger pier, a repair shop, and a quay wall, 1,000 feet long, supported on timber piles.

As Bainbridge's location placed it within the area of influence of a number of other large construction jobs and many rapidly expanding industrial plants, its construction encountered many difficulties arising out of the abnormal demand for labor. Many of the workmen employed on the job were of inferior grade, as to both their industry and their competence. Peak employment was 17,000 during the sumer and fall of 1942; during the life of the contract, 40,000 men were hired.

Absenteeism was high, particularly during the winter of 1942-43, due to the severe weather, transportation difficulties, and a shortage of housing. A work week of 53 hours was established, consisting of 5 days of 9 hours and 1 of 8 hours, of which 13 hours were paid for at overtime rates.

Field work was put underway on May 18, 1942, and during the week beginning September 1, 1942, station personnel numbering 1,800 were able to occupy the first group of completed buildings. Dedication and commissioning ceremonies took place on October 1, 1942. The first recruits arrived on October 20, 1942, when the station began to function as a training center.

Sampson Training Station. -- The third new training station was put under construction in early June 1942, on the authority of a letter of intent to the contractors on May 23, 1942. Plans called for a recruit training capacity of 30,000 men, school facilities for 5,000, facilities for accommodating 4,500 station personnel and a 1,500-bed hospital, making the new station equivalent in size to the Farragut training station. Subsequently, orders were issued to the contractors, calling for the construction also of housing for civilian personnel; 300 family units and dormitories capable of housing 250single men and women were built.

The site occupied by the station, covering 2,500 acres, extended for about 41/2 miles along the shore of Lake Seneca, about 17 miles from the city of Geneva, N.Y. The land had formerly been used for farming and for summer recreation. Along the eastern boundary of the property there was a two-lane concrete highway. Slopes were gentle, draining toward the lake, but at the lake shore there was an abrupt drop to a rocky beach.

Six 5,000-man recruit training groups were provided at Sampson, built in accordance with the same general plan that was followed at Farragut and Bainbridge; the school, outgoing, recreation, hospital, station personnel, and administration groups also were similar. Moreover, in design, the various buildings resembled those at the other stations, although a few modifications were made because of a shortage of construction materials. For example, most of the roofs were ridged, rather than flat, so that they could be supported by carpenter's trusses built up of lighter timbers than would have been required for the girder-and-joint framing suitable for a flat roof. A hot-air heating system was substituted in all except 28 of the barracks for the low-pressure system originally intended, so as to conserve critical materials.

Roofs of the six large drill halls, as at Bainbridge and Farragut, were supported by laminated wood arches. The contractor at Sampson, however, adopted a method of erection which led to a great increase in the speed with which these large units could be constructed. Each of the arches, having a span of 120 feet and a rise of 45 feet, came from the manufacturer in three equal sections which were spliced in the field. The normal erection method was to raise the two side sections first; then to place the crown section and make the splices. The longitudinal trussed bracing between the arches was then installed. In place of this method, which required the construction and operation of a movable scaffold, the contractor at Sampson chose to erect the arches in the following manner:

The three parts of each arch were matched and laid on horses on the drill-hall floor, the toes of each arch near its own foundation. A nested pattern of arches was thereby formed down the entire length of the building. In this position, the splicing of the three sections of each arch was speedily accomplished. The next step was to attach to each arch, except the first, in a vertical position, the trussed braces intended for the adjoining bay. A temporary light trussed chord was then bolted to the arch to stiffen the assembly. The arch was raised to its proper position by two traveling cranes and set upon its footings. Whereupon the


Chapel at Sampson, N.Y.
Chapel at Sampson, N.Y.
Laminated three-hinged arches used to achieve economy and ecclesiastical dignity.

cross bracing was connected to the preceding arch. This erection method was carried out with remarkable speed; for the last drill hall built, the 62 arches required were erected in a single day.

The station's water supply was taken from Lake Seneca, through an intake located in 80 feet of water, and was used without treatment. Pressure for the distribution system was provided by five electrically-driven pumps, with two gasoline-driven stand-bys, having a daily capacity of 5,000,000 gallons. A 2,000,000-gallon concrete reservoir floated on the line as a pressure stabilizer. This reservoir was constructed of unreinforced concrete, using groined arches for both the floor and the roof.

A sewage treatment plant provided primary and secondary treatment and discharged a chlorinated effluent into the lake, through an outfall line, extending about 800 feet offshore, to a point 21/2 miles from the water intake.

Competition for construction labor in the general area of the new station hampered the progress of the work, as it had done at Bainbridge. Housing congestion in Geneva aggravated the situation and necessitated long-distance commuting by many of the workmen. Nearly half the men were less than 20 or more than 45 years old, and a high proportion of those employed had less than the desired degree of skill. A 70-hour work week was established, of seven 10-hour days. All these factors had a tendency to induce absenteeism. During the life of the contract, 46,000 men were hired, the peak number employed being 17,800.

The first training unit group of buildings was usably complete on September 15, 1942, and the others became available progressively until February 15, 1943. The station was formally commissioned on October 17, 1942, coincident with the arrival of the first group of recruits.

Further Expansion at Great Lakes

Enlistments had shown an accelerating rate ever since the war began. The month of June 1942 saw


42,000 more men added to the Navy to swell its enlisted strength to 556,000. An even more rapid increase was forecast for the months to come. Training facilities were still taxed to the limit. Work was progressing rapidly at Farragut, at Sampson, and at Bainbridge, with the completion of those stations expected within a few months, and the expansion programs under way at Great Lakes, at Newport, and at San Diego were relieving the situation somewhat, but in spite of the enlargements already made, it was apparent that still more training station capacity was needed.

Under the circumstances, it was decided to enlarge still further the already gigantic establishment at Great Lakes, by building facilities capable of caring for 20,000 additional recruits. On June 16, 1942 the Bureau of Yards and Docks authorized the Commandant of the Ninth Naval District to proceed with the expansion. Twelve of the going contracts at Great Lakes were thereupon modified to provide for the additional construction.

Work was started immediately on a newly acquired 685-acre tract west of Green Bay Road, which theretofore had marked the western boundary of the station. One hundred new barracks were to be built, together with three drill halls, six mess halls, a new sewage treatment plant, and many other structures, forming six new training unit groups, to be designated Camps Dahlgren, Decatur, Hall, Macdonough, Mahan, and Maury. The contractors, the workmen, and the machinery were already on the ground and in a few days were well on their way to a new record of accomplishment. Sixteen barracks were available for emergency occupancy on August 1, and by August 30 were totally complete. The first occupants moved in the next day, when 600 men were fed in the new camp. By the 12th of September, 16,000 men were living in 68 of the 100 new barracks. On September 2, just two months and two days after the first delivery of lumber to the site, all barracks and mess halls were in commission and occupied.

This expansion during the summer of 1942 -- the last of the large wartime expansions at the training stations -- brought the station's capacity to about 68,000. A total of 675 new buildings had been constructed during the two years.

Specialized Training Stations

In addition to the training which marked the recruit's introduction to the service, Navy's program for the development of efficient personnel included two other training groups. These were (1) the schools, in which individuals acquired additional skills, and abilities, and (2) operational training, in which groups of individuals participated and received some sort of operational training.

The schools, of which there were more than 300 in January 1944, were established at factories, colleges, universities, hotels, country estates, trade and vocational schools, navy yards, and other naval establishments. In some places, the construction needs consisted of housing and messing facilities only; others included also laboratories and equipment.

Operational training was carried on in many places and under various designations, such as Acorn assembly and training, at Port Hueneme; airship training, at Lakehurst; amphibious training, at San Diego (Coronado), Solomons Island, Md., Little Creek, Va., Fort Pierce, Fla.; anti-aircraft, at Lido Beach, N.Y., Pacific Beach, Wash,. Point Montara, Calif., Newport R.I., Shell Beach, La., Dam Neck, Va.; minecraft training at Little Creek, Va.; precommissioning training, at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay; ship-repair training, at various navy yards; small-craft training, at San Pedro.

The first large expansion in operational training took place in 1940, with the establishment of the Mine Warfare School at Yorktown, Va. The following year, under-water sound schools were opened at Key West and San Diego, and armed guard training centers at Little Creek, Va., and San Diego. Early in 1942, fire-fighting schools were established at various navy yards, and a submarine-chaser training center at Miami in March. Training for salvage was begun in New York, with the former French liner Normandie as training ground.

Advance base training became standardized with the establishment of the functional component, teams of men, together with their equipment, being trained to operate together to perform one specific task at an advance base. Functional components varied in size from allocations of equipment without personnel, or a single enlisted man with 100 pounds of equipment, to 1,000 officers and men and 10,000 tons of equipment. The components varied in kind, also, more than 250 being


Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, Calif.
Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, Calif.

listed in November 1944. When combined, an appropriate group of components formed an advance base unit, the aggregate of all components used in the establishment and maintenance of an advance base. Units were grouped into advance base assemblies, an assembly being a grouping of all units required for a major fleet operation.

To meet the continental needs of this program, advance base personnel depots were established, that at San Bruno, Calif., approximately 10 miles south of San Francisco, being outstanding. Early in 1943, the Navy took over a portion of the Tanforan evacuee reception center, which it occupied by agreement with the War Department. Alteration of existing buildings at the Tanforan race track resulted in facilities to care for 4,000 men. Subsequent construction added to the capacity so that by the end of hostilities, San Bruno's capacity was rated at more than 20,000 men.

Anti-aircraft and amphibious training were two other large programs which required the construction of additional camps. Anti-aircraft training centers were established early in 1942 in connection with the regular training centers. In June of that year, however, especially constructed centers were established at Point Montara, about 20 miles south of San Francisco, and Pacific Beach, 10 miles north of San Diego. By October, another Pacific Beach center had been constructed on the Washington coast, west of Tacoma. The following year a center was established at Shell Beach, on Lake Borgne, La., where development of the site included filling most of the area with earth before base construction could begin.

With the increase in the number and type of small landing craft and the emphasis on surprise landings of large forces over hitherto impracticable beaches, the need for special training in these operations resulted in the establishment of amphibious training bases. The first of these bases was established in the summer of 1942 at Solomons, Md.

Early in February 1942, the Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet recommended that a training center for landing exercises be established in the Chesapeake Bay area. The letter of intent authorizing the contractor to proceed with the building was issued June 23, 1942, and field work was begun less than a week later. The contract called for the construction at the mouth of the Patuxent


River, of a complete base for a complement of 200 officers and 2,000 men. Subsequent construction enlarged the facilities to care for 940 officers and 6,650 men. With the African invasion imminent, the base was rushed to usable completion by the end of August.

Work was barely under way at Solomons before similar facilities in another Chesapeake Bay area -- at Little Creek and on Willoughby Spit, both areas in close proximity to the naval operating base at Norfolk -- were begun (July 18, 1942). Under the same pressure as the Solomons base to meet the North African deadline, Little Creek was usably complete within a month, and the base was commissioned on the first of September. The Little Creek base ultimately included Camp Bradford, which was added in November 1942, and additional adjacent areas, becoming the largest of the amphibious training bases, with approximately 1,400 buildings affording facilities for 25,000 officers and men.

By the beginning of 1943, a third large training center had been constructed at Fort Pierce, on the Atlantic Coast, about midway between Miami and Daytona Beach, on 9,000 acres of leased land.

In July 1943, work was begun at Coronado in the San Diego area on a base to service amphibious operations in the Pacific. It was commissioned January 15, 1944. In August of that year, an addition to the base was established at Fort Emory, about 4 miles south of Coronado, on land taken over from the Army. The combined stations eventually had a capacity in excess of 16,000 officers and men.

Smaller bases were also built at Ocracoke, N.C., Panama City, Fla., Galveston, Texas, and Morro Bay, Calif.

Although the construction emphasis in these bases was largely on housing for great numbers of personnel, the facilities also included shops and storehouses for the maintenance as well as improvement of the beach for practice landings.

The training program was enormously expedited by the introduction of a great variety of synthetic training devices, which endeavored to offer trainees an approximation of battle experience and to develop the reactions of a veteran before actual combat. This program called for many especially designed and constructed buildings and mockups.

In the period between July 1, 1940, and December 31, 1045, the cost of construction of the facilities for naval personnel within the continental limits amounted to more than $173,000,000.

Part II -- Marine Corps Training Stations

The President's "limited emergency" proclamation of September 8, 1939, which authorized an increase in the Navy's personnel, also called for an increase in the regular strength of the Marine Corps from 18,000, as it then stood, to 25,000 men, and authorized the Corps to call its reservists to active duty. As at the naval training stations, the training facilities of the Corps were soon overtaxed by the increased flow of recruits.

At that time, the continental training establishment of the Marine Corps comprised three bases -- at Quantico, Va., Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego, Calif. The facilities at Quantico, occupying 5,600 acres fronting on the Potomac River, were used primarily for secondary training, special schools, and officer training. Parris Island, occupying a 7,000-acre island between the Beaufort and the Broad rivers, was equipped to furnish basic training to recruits. The Marine Corps base at San Diego had a dual role. It served as home base for the Fleet Marine Force and also provided basic training to recruits and operational training to activated Marine Corps units.

All three Marine Corps stations were geared to the peacetime level of Corps activity, and their development reflected the period of strict naval economy that prevailed after World War I. They were quite inadequate for the task of forging a large number of men into efficient tactical units prepared for the complicated operations which were to characterize the war in the Pacific.

There was a ready response to the President's proclamation and the call for recruits. Within a few months, the size of the Corps approached the new personnel ceiling. Fortunately, some modest extensions and improvements of the Parris Island


and San Diego establishments, undertaken by the PWA and the WPA in 1938, reached the usable completion stage in the fall of 1939 and were immediately utilized by the initial wave of recruits. However, the new load was much too great for the facilities available, and tents and other temporary housing devices had to be pressed into service to alleviate the congestion.

Conditions were particularly bad at San Diego, which at that time could normally accommodate 3,000 men, and in December 1939, a contract was signed for the construction of a so-called temporary encampment. The new facilities, completed in June 1940, provided accommodations for 2,000 more men, two battalion camps, each composed of four two-story frame barracks and a mess hall. In addition to the new personnel structures, ten prefabricated steel storehouses were constructed at the station at the same time.

The restricted land area of the San Diego base was an inherent handicap to its further development, however, and, as the training load continued to grow, the training station was forced to overflow into another location. Early in 1940, a 9,000-acre tract of level land was acquired at Kearney Mesa, 16 miles north of San Diego, and a 2,000-man tent camp, called Camp Holcomb, was erected there.

The service facilities for the camp, comprising mess halls, latrines, a dispensary, a post exchange, and the necessary roads, water lines, sewers and water lines, were completed in May 1940, and the new camp was immediately put to use.

Chapel at Parris Island, S.C.
Chapel at Parris Island, S.C.

The National Defense Program

The regular Navy appropriation act for the fiscal year 1941, which became law on June 11, 1940, contained authority to increase further the strength of the Marine Corps to 34,000. Existing inadequacies at the Marine Corps bases were also recognized, and $4,500,000 was appropriated for temporary housing facilities. In addition, Quantico was granted $116,000 for barracks for hospital corpsmen and quarters for nurses, and Parris Island was given $400,000 to permit the construction of a mess hall and galley.

The first step taken under the new authorization was the further development of the newly completed tent camp at Kearney Mesa. On July 6, 1940, temporary facilities to accommodate two battalions of infantry and one of artillery were contracted for, these facilities comprising 12 two-story 250-man, frame barracks, quarters for officers, and the necessary complement of miscellaneous buildings and utilities. Thereupon, the new camp was redesignated Camp Elliott. At the same time, the construction of seven large permanent storehouses and other improvements of a more minor nature was put under way at the main San Diego base.

Less than a month later, on July 31, 1940, the enlargement of recruit training facilities at Parris Island, roughly equivalent to the expansion at Camp Elliott, was begun. Here, also, twelve 250-man temporary barracks were built, together with houses, and other administration and auxiliary facilities. In addition, the permanent mess hall and galley, specifically authorized in the appropriation act, were included in the contract. Construction was just barely under way, however, when Parris Island, on August 11, was subjected to a violent storm, of hurricane force. The damage to the station's facilities was severe and widespread. Instead of proceeding with the new construction, the contractor was directed by the Bureau to suspend the planned operations and to concentrate his activities on the repair and restoration of the damaged facilities. Inevitably, this diversion of the contractor's efforts delayed the completion of the new facilities, and it was not until the following May that the new barracks were ready for occupancy.

The contract for corpsmen's barracks and nurses' quarters authorized for Quantico was signed on


Married Officers' Quarters, Camp Lejeune
Married Officers' Quarters, Camp Lejeune
More than 200 of these 7-room quarters were built at this isolated station.

July 11. It was understood that although the station's operations would be improved by the new facilities it was not to be expected that its training capacity would be augmented thereby.

During the summer of 1940, Marine Corps recruiting proceeded at a lively pace. By September 23, the enlisted strength of the Corps had reached the 34,000 figure authorized. Further authority was granted by the President to increase the strength to 38,600 by December, a figure that was attained by the middle of November.

Increased population at all the training stations was straining available facilities. Parris Island, particularly, was in need of help, for it had been badly injured by the August hurricane, and the trainee load had overtaxed all its service facilities. While damage repair was still under way, early in October, a broad program for improving the station's auxiliary structures was put under contract. A mess hall, a garage, officers' quarters, an administration building, a post exchange, a laundry, several barracks, magazines, improvements to the hospital and water supply and sewage disposal systems were among the facilities added.

At about the same time, the capacity of Quantico to perform its secondary training function was moderately enlarged by the construction of a two-story barracks to house the station's school detachment.

Divisional Training Facilities at New River

The growth in Marine Corps personnel during the latter part of 1940 was paralleled by some rather significant reorganization, to fit the force better to meet the newly demonstrated methods of warfare. The combat units of the Corps were organized to include two divisions, one stationed on each coast, and seven defense battalions, groups specially equipped and trained to defend outlying island possessions. With this organizational change came a new problem in training facilities; a training area was needed adequate in size and equipment to accommodate a full division, comprising about 15,000 men. For the Second Division, on the West Coast, this could be met, or at least approximately take care of the First Division. In fact, there were not sufficient quarters available at all the stations on the Atlantic coast to house the personnel of the new division, even if it had been split into small detachments.1 Toward the end of the year, most of the First Division was taken for training maneuvers to Guantanamo, Cuba, where a large tent camp was erected to provide temporary accommodations for 10,000 men.

A new training area was necessary, accessible to


Anti-aircraft Gunnery Training Buildings, Bainbridge
Anti-aircraft Gunnery Training Buildings, Bainbridge
Buildings of this type were erected at all major training stations.

deep-water ports, at least 10 miles square, and unobstructed by public highways, railroads, industries, or homes, which would interfere with the firing of artillery or aircraft or anti-aircraft guns. It was also important that the new divisional training site include landing beaches subjected to varying conditions of surf, and land suitable for an aircraft landing field. Detailed reconnaissance of the entire Atlantic and Gulf coasts, from Norfolk, Va., to Corpus Christi, Texas, led to the selection of a tract of land in North Carolina, astride the New River between Jacksonville and Sneeds Ferry bridge, extending to the ocean. On December 30, 1940, the site selection was approved by the Secretary of the Navy.

The area selected comprised 155 square miles, of which about one-fifth was the water area of New River and its tributaries. Of generally flat terrain, the site offered a variety of conditions, including water, swamp, and dry land, well suited for training with landing craft and amphibious tanks. The large area available, lacking only in rugged terrain, was admirably fitted for large-scale troop maneuvers, extended marches, and training in jungle warfare.

Funds for the acquisition and development of the new area became available in early April 1941.2 On April 21, the construction was begun on permanent division training facilities to house 12,000 Marines, comprising four regiments of three battalions each, and a temporary tent camp designed for an additional 6,500 men. The division training development comprised four typical regimental groups of buildings and facilities, each designed to accommodate about 3,000 men housed in twelve


Swimming Pool at Sampson
Swimming Pool at Sampson
Swimming was an important element of training.
Recruits passed swimming tests, learned life-saving,
and practiced scrambling down cargo nets.

two-story barracks of concrete, brick, and steel. In addition to the barracks, each regimental group was provided with three mess halls, six battalion storehouses, and an infirmary. For the division area as a whole, the contract called for the construction of a post exchange, officers' quarters, hospital facilities, nurses' quarters, corpsmen's barracks, headquarters facilities, and other auxiliary structures.

For the tent camp, timber frames and floors were built, and upon them the Marines themselves subsequently erected their canvas. To service the camp, the contract provided for the construction of mess halls, warehouses, washrooms, and the necessary roads and utilities.

At first, the new station was called the New River Marine Barracks, but in December 1942, it was renamed Camp Lejeune, for the Marine general in command at the battle of Belleau Woods.

Provision for the Second Division, on the West Coast, was established at Camp Elliott, which, although not suitable for combat maneuvers, was large enough to accommodate the division personnel and to permit the various division units to be together while receiving such tactical training as was feasible. Three weeks after the contract had been awarded for the construction of the New River divisional training area, on May 14, 1941, an enlargement of Camp Elliott was undertaken to aid it in caring for the Second Division. Twelve additional temporary barracks were constructed, enough to accommodate another regiment, together with the necessary auxiliary buildings, doubling the station's capacity, and, in addition, the mess halls and other services necessary to support a large tent camp were erected.

Construction during 1941

During the summer of 1941, Marine Corps recruiting reached the rate of 2,500 a month, and it was planned that the Corps' total strength should stand at 75,000 before the middle of 1942.

The load on the older establishments was such that long-planned improvements, designed to permit them to operate efficiently, could no longer be deferred. Consequently, as soon as the appropriation for the new fiscal year became available, a broad program of station improvements was undertaken. At Quantico, work was begun on a contagious ward for the base hospital, a post shop building,


Temporary Barracks at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Temporary Barracks at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

a school building, two barracks to house 500 men, a new messhall, and the extension of roads and services. The rifle range at La Jolla, part of the San Diego Marine Barracks, was improved by the construction of a mess hall and galley for 1,200 men, an administration building, a dispensary, and by the addition of two target areas and rifle ranges. To Parris Island's facilities were added a two-story temporary barracks for hospital corpsmen, a drill hall, a radio transmitter building, quarters for bachelor noncommissioned officers, and a water system for the hospital. At Camp Elliott, two barracks for noncommissioned officers, bachelor officers' quarters, a recreation building, and seven additional magazines were constructed.

In addition to these improvements at the older stations, Camp Lejeune's facilities then under construction were augmented by a landing field having as its purpose the training of parachute troops. Also from funds made available by the Federal Public Housing Administration, 750 low-cost housing units were constructed in an area adjoining the station, to accommodate the civilian personnel to be employed.

The War Program

The steadily increasing strain in our international relations during the latter part of 1941, punctuated on November 17 by the repeal of our neutrality legislation, was reflected by a vigorous flow of recruits into the Marine Corps. By the first of December, the enlisted strength of the Corps stood at nearly 62,000 men.

The start of the war upset all estimates, however, and the wave of enlistments that followed caused the 75,000 figure, scheduled to be attained by June 30, 1942, to be passed in early January. A new goal for June 1 was set at 104,000, but the new figure itself was reached during February. Estimates were again pushed upward, and the Corps looked forward to having 130,000 men before the middle of the year.3 An influx of 50,000 men in four months necessitated emergency measures to provide accommodations at the training stations.

At Parris Island, such steps were immediately taken. By the end of January, quarters had been provided for about 9,200 additional men, through the construction of a temporary recruit camp, comprising 39 frame barracks, each housing 68 men, and the erection of 330 quonset huts. Of necessity, this enlargement had to be accompanied by the collateral construction of mess halls, galleys, and other service buildings and utilities.

In the San Diego area, resort was had to similar


Naval Training Center, Sampson, N.Y.
Naval Training Center, Sampson, N.Y.
In the foreground is Unit F; beyond is Unit H; parts of Unit G (left) and Unit K (right) can also be seen.

methods early in February, to provide temporary housing facilities for more than 12,500 men. The type of prefabricated structure employed, however, was a 16-man portable building, made of a wood frame enclosed by paraffin-impregnated composition board, 400 of which were put up at the main Marine Corps base, 100 at Camp Elliott (enlarged by the acquisition of 17,000 acres of additional land), and 200 at the La Jolla rifle range. These units were cheap and could be rapidly erected and easily moved. Here, too, of course, the new housing facilities had to be supported by the construction of mess halls, storage buildings, and other service structures. In addition, at Camp Elliott, six more of the 250-man temporary barracks of more conventional design were constructed, bringing to 30 the total of such barracks at the station.

In the meanwhile, on December 31, 1941, the contact had been let for the construction of a long-planned improvement to the permanent establishment at the San Diego main base, consisting of a two-story administration building and a large auditorium. Both buildings were of reinforced concrete and were erected within the station area occupied by the older permanent buildings.

The permanent facilities at Quantico were also augmented in January, by the start of construction on a new wing for the base hospital, a radio transmitter building, and two magazines. The station's temporary capacity was increased by the addition of a one-story 350-man frame barrack at the rifle range, a trade-school building, and a training park for heavy vehicles. In April, the station's facilities were further extended by the addition of five temporary buildings of the auditorium type, to be used for classroom purposes, and a two-lane vehicle underpass was constructed under the railroad, to remove the hazard and impediment to traffic within the station that the railroad presented.

By the middle of April 1942, it could be seen that the growth of the Marine Corps personnel was outstripping the provision for accommodations at the training stations and that the program of station


Interior View of a Farragut Drill Hall
Interior View of a Farragut Drill Hall
Timber bowstring trusses used to frame the roof.

expansion would have to be further stepped up. Resort was again made to prefabricated units and tents.

In the San Diego area, 200 of the wood-frame, composition-board huts, providing accommodations for 3,200 men, were put up at Camp Elliott, together with 16 temporary school buildings, and 40 huts were erected at the La Jolla rifle range, redesignated Camp Mathews. Also, to aid the San Diego Marine Corps base to carry out its functions more effectively a new dental dispensary, a swimming pool, and a communications building were added to that station's equipment.

A New Artillery Training Camp

Early in 1941, the Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force had appointed a board to investigate and report on a suitable West Coast site that could be used as a training area for artillery and anti-aircraft units. Training establishments in the San Diego area were greatly handicapped in providing that type of training, for the great amount of air activity in the vicinity severely restricted high-angle fire. After considering several possible locations, the board recommended a site in the Imperial Valley, about 120 miles east of San Diego. The area acquired for the new station, comprising about 200,000 acres of desert land, half of which was public domain, was an irregular tract, 25 miles long and averaging about 13 miles in width.

The construction of the new training facility, designated Camp Dunlap, was begun in early March 1942, and was completed by the following November. Essentially, it was a tent camp to accommodate four artillery battalions and one defense battalion, erected at the southern extremity of a great artillery range area. Laid out in battalion areas, the camp was equipped with a network of streets and the necessary buildings, roads, and utilities to support a population of 5,000. Built of temporary frame construction , theses camp service structures included five mess halls, six storehouses, latrines, and administration, post exchange, and cold-storage buildings. Magazines, a swimming pool, and several other necessary masonry structures were also built. Water supply was taken from the East High Line Canal of the Imperial Irrigation District, which bordered the camp site.

Greater Divisional Training Facilities

The months of April 1942 saw th start of the largest construction program for Marine training yet undertaken. The strength of the Corps stood at 124,000. The nation had been at war for more than four months, and the unprecedented magnitude of


the military operations that lay ahead was beginning to be appreciated by the American people. The two divisions of Marines which had been formed before the war began would clearly be inadequate for the tasks that lay ahead in the Pacific. Additional divisions would have to be formed and trained, and the facilities for divisional training would have to be greatly expanded. The First Division, which had practically completed its training at Camp lejeune, was about ready to leave for the Pacific theater, making that establishment available to receive a new division, but the accommodations at the East Coast station were not adequate to take the training load that was to be imposed upon it under the revised plans for Corps expansion. Moreover, on the West Coast, the training of the Second Division had disclosed the inadequacies of Camp Elliott and the other establishments in the San Diego area for the double task of recruit and divisional training; a new station, similar to Lejeune, was obviously needed.

Enlargement of Camp Lejeune. -- On April 15, an expansion of Camp Lejeune, to accommodate nearly 20,000 more men, was put under way. To begin with, the permanent facilities in the main divisional area were extended by the development of a fifth regimental area, and an eleven-ward hospital and a barracks area for post troops were built. The new regimental area involved the construction of twelve more 250-man barracks, three mess halls, a post exchange, and other auxiliary buildings and utilities of permanent design. Next, a second tent camp was constructed, adjoining Tent Camp No. 1, consisting of 667 of the 16-man composition-board portable huts that had first been used in the San Diego enlargement, together with 44 frame warehouses, 2 mess halls, a recreation building, washrooms, and the like. A new tank battalion camp and a special camp for the emergency training of Coast Guard personnel and the training of Marines in amphibious warfare were also constructed, using portable huts, 89 for the Marines and 71 for the Coast Guard. The huts, in various combinations, were also used to provide mess halls and other auxiliary facilities.

In July, Camp Lejeune's temporary troop housing capacity was again increased by the erection at Montford Point, of another "tent" camp consisting of 150 of the portable huts, together with service buildings and utilities.

Development of Camp Pendleton. -- The basic plans for the new divisional training area to be established on the West Coast, as proposed by the Commanding General in February 1942 1942, called for facilities to accommodate and train a full infantry division, reinforced by an additional infantry regiment, approximately 20,000 men, and it was considered desirable that the new establishment be capable of future expansion to the extent of 50 percent. In addition to the housing facilities that would be needed for the division personnel, the plan called for the installation of the facilities necessary to provide training in the use of all weapons used by a division, a protected boat basin to accommodate amphibious assault equipment, and an airfield to permit training of ground troops in coordinated air-ground warfare.

In March, the Santa Margarita Ranch, a 1970 square mile tract of land on the coast, 40 miles north of San Diego, was acquired for the new training establishment, the only large piece of undeveloped coastland in the region. Its topography was highly varied, including numerous canyons well suited for artillery and rocket ranges, extensive areas of rugged terrain and mesa land, and 17 miles of beach.

Work on the new station, named Camp Pendleton, was begun in early April. Although in general layout, capacity, and purpose, it bore a close resemblance to Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton was considered a temporary facility and was built to minimum standards throughout. Characteristically, its structures were of wood frame where Camp Lejeune's principal elements had been built of concrete, steel, and brick.

Pendleton's main divisional area was developed during the summer of 1942 for three infantry regiments, a service troops regiment, and a special troops regiment, in addition to headquarters troops. As at Camp Lejeune, each of these regiments was accommodated in an area of its own, improved by the erection of the requisite number of barracks, mess halls, administration and service buildings, storehouses, and recreational facilities. In the aggregate, for these five regiments and the headquarters group, 68 barracks, 19 mess halls, 39 storehouses, 5 dispensaries, and 6 theaters were built, together with the necessary roads and water, sewer, power, and telephone lines. Construction effort was concentrated at the beginning on the facilities for one of the infantry regiments and for the service troops regiment, and quarters for these


School Buildings at Farragut
School Buildings at Farragut

elements of the division were usably complete by August 15.

In addition to these accommodations in the main divisional area, three 5,000-man tent-camp areas were developed, involving the installation of camp roads, water lines, and sewers and the erection of latrines. It was intended that troops using these areas would live under field conditions, bringing with them their tentage and camp equipment.

The tent camps were so located as to serve three similar groups of combat and qualification ranges, laid out and equipped for rifle, machine gun, and mortar firing, and to facilitate training in small-arms combat, use of grenades and bayonets, and in other infantry tactics. The ranges extended almost the full length of the station, about 19 miles but in the location of each range maximum advantage was taken of features of the terrain.

The airfield construction included a 6,000-foot runway, 400 feet wide, a taxiway, and a warm-up apron, 50,000-gallon gasoline storage capacity, and an operations building. In November 1942, the airfield was ready for use.

The boat basin called for by the plans for the station was located just north of Oceanside, in the slough between the Santa Margarita and the San Luis Rey rivers. When completed, the harbor provided a sheltered basin, 900 feet by 1,200 feet and 12 feet deep, equipped with piers, quay walls, and a 30-ton stiff-leg crane.

In early September, construction of facilities for an artillery regiment was begun, to add to the regimental developments under way in the main division area. The new regimental facilities included 13 more barracks, 5 more mess halls, 10 more storehouses, and other service buildings and utilities. Also, during the fall months of 1942, the personnel housing capacity of the boat-basin area was quadrupled by the addition of three more barracks and a mess hall.

At about the same time, to round out the big training establishment, construction was begun on


a 600-bed hospital, consisting of 20 one-story wood-frame-and-siding wards, an administration building built of similar materials, a warehouse, and other supporting structures.

Camp Pendleton was commissioned on September 25, 1942, with President Roosevelt participating in the ceremony. A few days later, the first contingent of the using forces arrived and occupied buildings completed in the division area.

Increase in recruit-training capacity. -- While Camp Pendleton was being constructed and Camp Lejeune enlarged during the summer of 1942, the capacity of the recruit-training station at Parris Island was also being increased. The drill field was paved; 63 platoon-size barracks were added; a dental clinic building was constructed; and a number of other improvements to the station were provided. At Quantico and Camp Elliott, school capacity was moderately enlarged by the erection of temporary structures.

In addition to the temporary school buildings at Camp Elliott, there was constructed during the summer of 1942 a base supply depot to support Marine units staging through the San Diego area, for the storage facilities at the San Diego main base were no longer adequate for the purpose.

The new facility comprised six large warehouses, erected on a 193-acre tract adjoining the eastern boundary of the station. A spur track was laid to connect with the railroad 6 miles away. Most of the land of the depot was assigned to open storage, for which paving was the only construction operation necessary.

At Camp Mathews, the Corps' new artillery training base, 32 more platoon-size frame barracks were erected, enlarging the station's housing capacity by about 2,200 billets, together with the necessary additional mess halls, galleys, and storehouses.

By the end of 1942, nearly all the new facilities necessary for Marine Corps training were either completed and in service or under contract and well under way. The First Marine Division, trained at Camp Lejeune, had been in action since it had stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal on August 7, and the facilities it had vacated at the New River establishment were accommodating the Third Division. The Second Division, formed and trained on the West Coast, was at Pearl Harbor, training further and awaiting assignment to a forward area. Defense battalions were stationed on Midway, Johnston, and Palmyra islands. The Corps consisted of nearly a quarter of a million officers and men and was growing by 10,000 or more a month.

During the first half of 1943, however, some minor enlargements had to be undertaken at several of the training stations. At Camp Mathews an additional 65-target rifle range was added in January. In February, Camp Elliott was increased in capacity by about 1,500 billets, by the construction of a satellite camp, to be used as a snipers' school, comprising six two-story frame barracks and the necessary auxiliary structures. During the same month, 19 platoon-size barracks of frame construction were built at Camp Lejeune, providing accommodations for 1,400 more men and raising the overall capacity of the East Coast Divisional training center to about 42,000 men. At Camp Pendleton, the hospital capacity was practically doubled by the construction of 18 more wards, accompanied by other building additions necessitated by the enlargement.

Facilities for the Women's Reserve. -- In November 1942, the Women's Reserve of the Marine Corps was organized. The first classes of this new organization were given training in conjunction with the WAVES, at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and at Hunter College, New York, N.Y., but in the summer of 1943, Camp Lejeune was designated as the principal training center. The first group of officers arrived in June and was followed by the initial contingent of enlisted personnel in July.

To accommodate these women, an entirely new area of the camp was developed, beginning in April. Built of brick, steel, and concrete, and conforming to the architectural pattern of the other permanent structures already built, the new facility was capable of housing 1,600 recruits and 160 officer trainees. It comprised eight barracks, two officers' quarters, four storehouses, a mess hall, an administration building, a dispensary, and a recreation unit. Such special features as laundry rooms, ironing boards, extra outlets for electric irons, and comfortably equipped lounge rooms struck an unaccustomed note in Marine Corps construction. The recreation building was equipped to serve as an auditorium, a post exchange, a soda fountain, and a beauty parlor.

As the members of the Women's Reserve completed their training and gradually took over assignments theretofore held by men, new housing facilities suitable for women had to be constructed


Recreation Building, Great Lakes
Recreation Building, Great Lakes
Pleasing effect achieved with temporary construction.

at many of the naval shore establishments, including the training stations of the Marine Corps. Construction to care for 800 was undertaken at San Diego and for an equal number at Quantico in July 1943, and in August another 800 were provided for at Parris Island. At Camp Pendleton, ten small barracks, originally used by the construction forces, were remodeled and combined into five barracks.

Enlargement in amphibious training facilities. -- Beginning in the fall of 1943, the boat basin and amphibious training facilities at Camp Pendleton became the focus of renewed construction activity. In September, work was put under way for the deepening of the approach channel through the barrier reef to accommodate larger craft.

In November 1943, the Marines in the South Pacific stormed the beaches of Tarawa. The assault was successful but costly. Shortly thereafter, training in amphibious operations became a top-priority item so that there might be the greatest profit derived from experiences gained in the Gilberts. The amphibious training facilities at Camp Pendleton were enormously expanded, to ten times their earlier capacity. This development was begun in February 1944, and was carried on into the fall of that year. It embodied a combination of temporary frame barracks and quonset huts, affording housing accommodations for 9,000 enlisted men and 600 officers. During the sumer of 1944, these amphibious training facilities were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Navy and became an adjunct to the Naval Amphibious Training Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, at Coronado, Calif.


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1. General Holcomb, testimony before the House Appropriation Committee, 11 March 1941.

2. Fifth Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act, approved 5 April 1941.

3. Col. M.B. Curtis, testimony before House Appropriations Committee, 19 March 1942.

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