MAY E. ARBUCKLE
Bartholomew County Historical Society
If in this story I can
convey to the reader something of the magnitude of the task of the Federal
Government in selecting the site, acquiring the land, and building Camp
Atterbury in the short period of time in which it was accomplished, I
shall think the time spent on it was not wasted. I should like also to
leave the thought of the hard training, broken by all pleasurable
diversions possible, but nevertheless each boy knowing why he was being
trained, and of the tough fiber ingrained in the American character that
made it possible for him to "take it." I wish I could have drawn a veil
over the battlefields abroad and the suffering of the wounded returned to
Wakeman hospital. When will we learn that nothing is gained by war? If we
can accomplish the impossible, materially, why can we not find a way to
keep peace? I, who write of war, believe in peace, and that it is not
impossible if the world would put forth an equal effort in that direction.
I want to acknowledge the great help I have had from the pages of the
Columbus Evening Republican, its former editor, Melvin Lostutter, its
present editor, Robert Gordon, and Staff Writer Robert Marshall, who also
read the manuscript. Acknowledgment is also made to the public relations
officer at Camp Atterbury, Capt. John E. Wilson, for helpful suggestions
and material; to the post signal office at Camp Atterbury for negatives of
pictures; to John
V. Sellers, editor of the Franklin Star; to Col. B. C. Dunn, division
engineer of Fifth Corps Area Headquarters at Columbus, Ohio; and to my
neighbor, Joseph W. Springer, the chief negotiator for acquisition of the
land, and to his sons, W. E. Springer and R. H. Springer, who accompanied
me to Atterbury at different times, assisting me there.
The Historical Bureau staff has been able to add some material regarding
administration and training from the official records of the camp now
deposited at the Kansas City Army Records Center.
I have relied very heavily on the Camp Crier, the Atterbury newspaper, for
camp activities. The newspaper clippings in the Columbus Public Library
and in the Bartholomew County Historical Society Museum have been helpful
in following the story of the camp.
Finally, I must add an extra word of thanks to Robert Marshall, who has
been most kind and helpful.
ELIZABETHTOWN, INDIANA MAY E. ARBUCKLE.
LAND SURVEY AND
In January of 1941 orders were issued
by the War Department to the Fifth Zone constructing quartermaster of the
Army, who at that time was in charge of all land acquisition for military
purposes in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, to
investigate potential sites for a new Army camp in the State of Indiana.
An investigation of various areas under consideration was made by Charles
H. Hurd, architect-engineer of Indianapolis, and U. S. Army personnel, and
recommendations submitted to a board of officers selected from Fifth Corps
Area Headquarters. This board, after investigating the proposed sites,
selected one in south central Indiana, including land in northwestern
Bartholomew County, and extending north into Johnson County, and west into
Brown County, as the most desirable. It was largely a rural area, yet it
was close to urban centers. Part of the land was sub-marginal; it was
partly hilly and partly level. U. S. Highway 31 and the Pennsylvania
Railroad offered easy access to the outside world.
The first official word of the new camp came in a dispatch from Washington
on April 28, 1941, which said that a cantonment for 30,000 men would be
established outside Columbus, the county seat of Bartholomew County, if
the size of the Army was increased. This confirmed the rumors that had
been afloat in the community since the appearance of the government
engineers early in the year.
On May 10, 1941, the Quartermaster General issued instructions to the
Fifth Zone constructing quartermaster to make preliminary plans for the
acquisition of some 50,000 acres of land. The Charles Hurd Engineering
Company was given the job of making the survey for the Army and set up
headquarters in the Columbus armory. The work continued throughout the
summer and fall. Some two hundred men were in the field with a
proportionate number in the survey office.
Edwin Hurd, who was in charge of the survey, stated that the tangles of
vegetation encountered in parts of western Bartholomew County were as
tight as those which his men had encountered in making similar surveys in
the tropical jungles. At times it was necessary for four axmen to go ahead
of the instruments to dear the way for the lines. There were many snakes
in the hills, including rattlers and copperheads. The U. S. Public Health
Service gave all the field men "shots" to protect them from snake bite.
Poison ivy was another hazard. (Note: See the HURD REPORT, elsewhere on
this web site)
Appraisals of the tracts of land began June 19, 1941, with those in
Johnson County. D. R. Martindill, of the Soil Conservation Office at
Dayton, Ohio, was assigned to the project at the request of the
Quartermaster General in Washington. Mr. Martindill requested L. J. Hoing
of the Federal Land Bank in Louisville to detail appraisers to work on the
Abstracts of tide to the land were prepared by the Columbus Abstract
Company. In four months time they did as much work as in an average
four-year period. The last of the certificates of title were delivered to
the Federal Government on November 1, 1941.
All of this was before the war started; the people were naturally
disturbed and fearful at the prospect of leaving their farms and their
homes. It was expected that some 700 families would be affected. Some of
these were living on land that had been handed down in their family since
it was purchased from the Federal Government in the 1820's and 1830's. The
uprooting of a community of this size was certain to bring hardships and
heartaches to many. Others, that would not be affected by the land
transfer, were apprehensive of the coming of soldiers in great numbers
into the community. The project blew hot and cold for eight months.
Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor. Overnight, the possibility of the
Army camp became a reality. But with the coming of war, the attitude of
the community changed; the need for the camp was obvious; everyone was
willing to make sacrifices for the national good. The people waited for
the official word that would trans-form their quiet agricultural community
into an area teeming with wartime activity. It was not long in coming. On
January 6 the Columbus Evening Republican received a telephone call from
Congressman Earl Wilson saying the camp was definitely to be built. A week
later a directive was issued by the Secretary of War to the Chief of
Engineers to acquire 52,730 acres of land in Bartholomew, Johnson, and
Brown counties, Indiana, for a cantonment and a training site. This was
later reduced to approximately 40,350 acres, consisting of some 643
The directive was passed on to Col. C. L. Hall of the Ohio River Division,
who in turn delegated the supervision of the construction of the camp to
Col. Henry Hutchings, Jr., district engineer at Louisville. Capt. W. S.
Arrasmith, a former Louisville architect, was placed in immediate charge
and set up headquarters in February, 1942, on the site of the camp. The
Army did not wait until all the formal procedures connected with the
transfer of the land were concluded before beginning construction. Time
was too precious. The first construction was begun in a cornfield during a
The groundwork for the transfer of the land had been laid the year before.
The surveys of individual tracts with their appraised value and an
abstract of title were in the hands of the War Department. Everything was
in readiness to begin negotiations with the land owners. Joseph W.
Springer, of Elizabethtown, was appointed supervisor on January 14, 1942,
to handle these negotiations.
He had been serving as secretary of
the Production Credit Association, a branch of the Farm Credit
Association, with offices at Seymour. He was well known in the community
and acquainted with local land values. A number of other negotiators were
appointed to assist him in the work.
The usual procedure would have been for the government to approach the
owners and obtain what land they could before filing condemnation
proceedings, but in order to expedite matters a condemnation suit was
filed in the Federal District Court in Indianapolis on January 24, 1942,
covering 7,271 acres of the total area. Immediate possession was asked and
obtained for 2,500 acres in the cantonment area where construction was to
begin. Occupants of this area were asked to vacate by February 14, while
those in the remainder of the condemned area were to have until March 24.
All but 800 acres of this first land to be taken was in Johnson County.
Negotiations with the owners followed filing of the suit. Those who
accepted the government price signed an option. This was sent on to the
War Department and, if accepted, the owner was sent a purchase agreement.
The abstract was then brought up to date and final papers signed. Lawyers
Ralph Fraker, of Columbus, Carlton Shuck, of Franklin, and John Wright, of
Nashville, were appointed to handle the final transfers. The first check
for land was received by Mrs. Louisa Prichard on March 6, five weeks after
she had signed her option.
The prices offered by the government were lower than the inflated prices
being asked for farms listed for sale on the open market; they were lower
than the owners had expected. Some did not sign options and thus became
defendants in the condemnation suit, hoping by this procedure to receive
more than the amount first offered. On April 4 the government filed a
"declaration of taking" in the Federal court, whereby the title to the
remainder of the 7,271 acres was transferred to them pending outcome of
the suit. This was to permit work on the site to continue. Commissioners
were appointed by the Federal court to review the price offered for each
tract and dates were set for hearings. At these, the appraisals of the
Land Department and the court would be offered as evidence, and the owner
could present witnesses to prove that it was worth more than the
government was offering. A jury or the Federal judge would then decide the
price that should be paid. The War Department deposited money with the
clerk of the court and the landowners were allowed to draw a part of this
while waiting for the outcome of the suit.
It was a year before all the suits involving the land were settled. As a
rule, the prices decided on by the jury were much closer to the government
valuation than to that of the owner.
As the winter and spring went by, the boundaries of the camp area were
being constantly changed. On one day a man might find his farm included,
and the next day it would be outside. Many didn't know whether or not to
plant their spring crops. By March the total area had been whittled down
to about 37,000 acres, and negotiations were begun for the 30,000 not
included in the first condemnation proceedings. Here, the normal procedure
was followed of trying to obtain options on the land prior to the filing
of a condemnation suit. Negotiations continued throughout April before
filing of condemnation proceedings on April 30. All of the people in this
area had to be out of their homes by July 1; in certain districts they had
to be out by June 1.
One of the big problems connected with the acquisition of the land by the
War Department was the paying of delinquent taxes and mortgages.
Delinquent taxes in Nineveh and Union townships of Bartholomew County
totaled $ 18,834.56. Persons living in the camp area had school fund and
cemetery loans totaling some $45,000. By the time these loans were paid,
some of the owners did not have much left.
In October, 1942, it was announced that 3,600 more acres were to be added
to the camp area. Practically all of this was in Brown County and was
sparsely settled. It had been included in the original survey. The
government took possession of the land on December 1 by condemnation
proceedings and the residents were given fifteen days in which to vacate.
As finally settled, the camp acreage totaled 40,351.5348 acres of which
10,398.22 acres were in Johnson County, 25,908.221 in Bartholomew County,
and 4,045.0938 in Brown County. Approximately $3,800,000 was paid by the
government for the land, an average of $94 per acre. In Bartholomew
County, all of Nineveh Township except 940 acres was included; 325 acres
were taken in German Township; the area that remained in these two
townships was merged into one. Union Township had only 4,000 acres left
but it managed to maintain its township unit until November, 1946, when
property owners petitioned that it be divided and half added to Columbus
Township and the other half to German Township. Harrison Township lost
1,235 acres. Bartholomew County lost $990,000 from its assessed valuation.
The area included parts of Blue River and Nineveh townships in Johnson
County, and in Brown County it took in parts of Hamblin and Washington
townships. The length of the camp area at its longest north-south point is
12½ miles; the width is 8 miles at its widest east-west point. The effort
made to avoid splitting farms resulted in a boundary very irregular in
Of the 643 tracts of land included, 402 were acquired by direct purchase
from the owners. The remaining tracts were acquired by condemnation
proceedings, either because of defective land titles or inability of the
land owners and the government to agree on the price. Federal officials
reported that this percentage was about the same as in other localities
where land was being taken by the government.
There was much sadness in finding new homes and severing old ties. Oscar
Snepp was the first to buy a new farm. He bought in the southwestern part
of Johnson County, but before he could move, this site was taken in the
camp area so he had to buy still another farm. The only town in the area
was Kansas, with a population of thirteen. One of its inhabitants, Val
Ulrey, was eighty-five years old. He had started his blacksmith shop there
in 1878. But Val Ulrey did not have to move. Death came to him on May 2.
The majority of those purchasing new farms bought in their home county or
as near to it as possible. Farmers who needed financial assistance in
obtaining new farms, while waiting for payments from the government for
their old ones, were urged to turn to the offices of the Farm Security
There were 15 cemeteries in the camp area containing some 1,500
graves. Five were in Johnson County: the Pisgah Methodist Cemetery, the
Harriett Creek Cemetery northwest of the Pisgah Christian Church, the
Knapp Cemetery on Road 252, and two family burial grounds. Two
Revolutionary soldiers were buried in the Pisgah Methodist Cemetery:
Matthias Parr, a New Jersey private, and John Poe, of North Carolina.
Cemeteries in Bartholomew County included three in Union Township: St.
John's Lutheran, Bethel Methodist, and Ohio Ridge; three in Nineveh
Township: Kansas Methodist, Garrison, and Long; and two in Harrison
Township: Mt. Olive and Mt. Carmel. Bodies in the Kansas Methodist
Cemetery and in one of the private cemeteries in Johnson County were not
disturbed. Those in the other cemeteries were removed to a new cemetery
laid out by the government on the Nate Wells farm, two miles north-west of
Edinburg and one-half mile west of Road 31. The arrangement of the bodies
in the old cemeteries was preserved in the new one. It was necessary to
acquire new burial vaults for each body. Contract for removal and
reinterment of the bodies was given to the Wearly Monument Company of
Muncie. Two cemeteries in Brown County, the Christian Bethel Church
Cemetery and a private one, were not disturbed.
The camp closed five schools in Bartholomew County: the Kansas, Records,
and Renner schools in Nineveh Township; Precinct and Lowell in Union
Township. At the Records school on the Mauxferry Road, the enrollment
dwindled day by day as the families moved away. The teacher, Miss Alta
Harrell, had earlier lost her school near Madison when it was swallowed by
the Jefferson Proving Ground. Out of an enrollment of twenty-nine at the
beginning of the term, only a few were left when the school closed on May
5. The Renner school was not in the camp area, but the homes of most of
the pupils were. Only a few pupils were left after the evacuation.
Most of the farm homes in the cantonment area were torn down at once; a
few were taken over for a short period by construction company officials
and engineers for offices, a few others were reserved for camp stables
and the motor pool. In razing the buildings, many interesting things came
to light. Two of the barns had originally been log cabins and one house
was found to have been built around a one-room log cabin.
By June 19, eleven days before the
deadline for evacuation, almost all the inhabitants of the 30,000-acre
tract had moved. A Columbus reporter, roaming the area, found only scenes
of desolation: empty houses surrounded by high grass and weeds; gates
standing ajar, empty barns and chicken houses, without a dog or chicken
left to break the silence. War had come home to Indiana.
At the same time that negotiations for
the land were going for-ward, construction plans were also being pushed.
The first contract in connection with the camp was let on January 30,
1942, to the Calumet Paving Company, of Indianapolis, for construction of
an 8-mile railroad spur into the camp area from the
Indianapolis-Louisville branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The railroad
company had already started work on a switch and 125-car siding near
Bids for grading and for construction of buildings and other facilities at
the camp were opened February 6 in the Federal court-room in Louisville.
Approximately 1,700 buildings were to be built. Contractors could bid for
the whole job or for one or more of the smaller units into which the
contract was divided. These units were roughly:
A-1. 619 temporary buildings to house one Army division. These included
242 barracks, each with accommodations for 74 men, 97 mess halls,
recreation buildings, theaters, a sports arena, headquarters buildings,
storehouses, infirmaries, chapels, officers' quarters, etc.
A-2. 550 temporary buildings for troops of auxiliary units attached to the
division. These likewise included barracks, mess halls, administration
buildings, infirmaries, post exchanges, etc.
A-3. 102 temporary buildings for hospital group. These were to be of
concrete block construction.
A-4. Utility buildings including warehouses, ordnance and repair shops,
quartermaster offices, bakery, laundry, fire stations, incinerators, cold
storage buildings, steel igloos to hold ammunition, salvage yards,
prisoners' barracks, etc.
(Barracks under construction)
(Wakeman General Hospital under construction)
B. Roads, drainage,
grading and water distribution
C. Railroad construction
D. Electrical distribution system
E. Water supply and sewage treatment plants
The Caldwell-Wingate Company of New York City was the only firm that
submitted a general bid for the entire job. Their figure was a little over
$34,500,000 and was rejected. Bids for the A-1 and A-2 groups were so high
that the War Department decided to further subdivide each of these into
four smaller units and readvertise for bids. The total of the new bids,
opened in March, was smaller than the original ones. In the end, total
construction costs were close to $35,000,000, but this included some
buildings and other work not in the original specifications.
Contracts in the A-1-4 units were awarded to the following firms: A. W.
Kutsche, Detroit; the Thompson Construction Company and the H. L. Fisher
Corporation, Albany, New York; the A. Farnell Blair Company, Decatur,
Georgia; the Consolidated Construction Company of Chicago; and O'Driscoll
and Grove, Inc., New York City. The Blair company built three-fourths of
the bar-racks buildings. Subcontractors under the Blair firm included the
Meyer Plumbing and Heating Company, Marine Electric Company, Theobald
Electric Company, and Diecks Electric Company, all of Louisville; Thomas
J. Sheehan, St. Louis, plumbing; S. E. Roofing and Metal Company, Atlanta,
Georgia, and Walker-Jamar Company, Chicago, who installed the heating. The
sports arena built by the Blair Company was 133 x 181 feet with suspension
The Pontarelli & Son Company and the Rock Road Company, Chicago, received
the contract for Unit B, covering roads, drainage, gradings, etc. The
grading work was sublet to Seward-McDougal-Lain. The latter arranged to
light the area so that work could be carried on through the night.
C. A. Hooper & Company, Madison, Wisconsin, and the Monroe Electric
Company, Chicago, received contracts for Unit D, the electrical
The contract for sewage disposal and water supply, Unit E, went to the
Birmingham Construction Company, Birmingham, Michigan. After testing the
wells in the camp area, the State Board of Health closed over half of
them. The construction companies drilled wells for temporary use in their
own work. The permanent water supply system included wells and a
reservoir; the wells were outside the camp area and the water was piped in
under Highway 31. The Harry Fox Company of Shelbyville had a subcontract
for the well drilling.
Following the letting of the contracts, officials of the construction
companies began to arrive on the scene. Some of them established offices
in the houses vacated by the farmers. Transient workers began to drift
into the area, but not many were needed at first. The preliminary work of
grading, excavating, and laying of foundations had to be done before
construction could get into high gear. The weather was unusually bad
during the early months of 1942. First it would snow and freeze, then the
ground would thaw and it would begin raining. The area became one mass of
mud. This freezing and thawing process continued up into May and rains
continued to slow down progress all during the summer. When the ground
dried off the workers had to contend with the dust. Delay in getting
materials also held up the work.
The Hurd Engineering Company, of Indianapolis, which had handled the
earlier surveys of the region, had a staff of 200 men busy in their
Franklin office and on the grounds adapting Army specifications to the
local situation. The location of buildings and streets was mapped out and
stakes set. Shortages in materials often necessitated a change in the
By the first of May the number of men working on the camp had reached
8,000. On June 16, the peak employment was reached with 14,491 on the
payroll. These men came from many different parts of the country. Some had
worked for these same construction companies at other Army camps or on
other big jobs. Many were from towns in Indiana. At least a third of them
brought their families with them. Edinburg, the town nearest to the
construction area, was the first to feel the impact of the rush. Its
population of 2,466 reached 4,000 by April. Every available room was
taken. Even the John Talbert burial monument establishment was converted
into a 10-bed dormitory. Later arrivals sought homes in the surrounding
area, in Columbus, Franklin, and the small towns nearby. Trailer camps
already in existence filled up and new ones were established. Summer camps
along White River and its tributaries, that formerly were filled with
happy vacationists, were taken over by workers. Some, and especially those
with children, sought farm homes for a place to live. Still others brought
tents and camped out wherever they could find an available spot.
Public health authorities tried to protect the health of these immigrants
by imposing certain standards, but it was necessary to be as lenient as
possible with offenders for circumstances sometimes made it impossible for
the transients to comply with all the regulations.
The problem of police and fire protection placed an added bur-den on local
governments. Although a temporary hospital was set up by the construction
companies on the camp grounds for emergency treatment of injured workmen,
many victims of construction or traffic accidents reached the Bartholomew
County hospital and filled it to capacity.
About 700 cars carrying workmen were entering the camp daily during the
busiest period. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce suggested four ways of
meeting the demand for increased transportation facilities: use of school
buses; the use of passenger cars owned by workers on a share-the-ride and
share-expense plan; conversion of passenger cars into buses; and an
increase in licensed buses.
Arthur Givens, a Columbus truck operator, received a permit to operate a
bus line between Columbus and the camp entrance, thence to Franklin,
Shelbyville, Hope, and back to Columbus. Temporary permits were issued for
bus lines to Ray I. Allen, operating between Martinsville and Edinburg
over Road 252, and Wilson-Kidwell, Inc., of Seymour, operating on Road 31
between Scottsburg and the camp entrance.|
Plans for converting U. S. 31 into a dual highway, from the point where it
by-passed Columbus, to Greenwood, were announced by the State Highway
Department early in the year, but lack of materials prevented this being
done in time to ease the traffic jams created by the construction workers.
The Standard Concession Company of Franklin, headed by V. R. Terrill,
established the first eating place for workers at the camp.
It was part frame and
part tent, and was designed to feed 600 workers at a time. Box lunches
were prepared for those who desired them. All meats had to be supplied
from establishments operating under United States inspection or
state-approved inspection. Only pasteurized milk could be served and that
was subject to frequent inspection by the State Board of Health. Despite
these precautionary measures, the flies and the dust created a problem in
sanitation. Out-side the camp area, new eating places sprang up along Road
31, and additional restaurants were opened in Columbus, Edinburg, and
The payroll of the workers reached a half million dollars weekly during
the peak period. The rush in business at the money order windows of the
local post offices indicated that a portion of it was sent home, but much
was spent in the community for housing, food, clothing, and entertainment.
The local stores found their stock of supplies constantly depleted. In the
evenings and on rainy days when they could not work, the transient
population crowded into the towns seeking diversion. Places of
entertainment were few. Taverns did a rushing business.
Early in the spring a dispute arose over the wage rate to be paid
carpenters. The rate in Columbus was $1.00, while in Indianapolis it had
been raised from $1.30 to $1.42½ in January. The construction companies
stated that the contracts had been drawn up and accepted on the $1.30
basis, even though the officers of the carpenters' union had advised the
government and the companies of the increase. Some of the companies seemed
willing to pay the larger sum; others refused. A walk-off (not a strike)
of 271 carpenters occurred April 25, 1942. A petition was circulated and
dispatched to the U. S. Department of Labor, asking it to settle the
dispute. Lieut. Gen. B. Somervell, Army Supply Chief, decided that the
$1.30 rate was the one that should be followed.
The Blair Company, contractors for three fourths of the barracks, turned
them out almost like automobiles, only instead of the buildings moving
down the assembly line, the workers moved to a new building. Lumber for
the framework was cut to length in the lumber yard as soon as it was taken
off freight cars. By cutting all the pieces exactly as they were to be
used, the framework was almost in a prefabricated stage when the
carpenters started pounding the nails. The pre-cut lumber included that
for joists, beams, braces, sills, stairs, flooring, chimney frames, etc.
After it was cut, it was trucked to the various depots in the area where
the buildings were to be built. Crews of workers, each crew doing a
particular job, went from building to building, completing their
particular work. The barracks were two-story structures, covered with
asbestos shingles or wood siding. Some were not painted; others were
painted white with cream trim.
On some projects work was on a 24-hour basis. Sand, gravel, and crushed
stone for foundations and for roads were obtained from near-by gravel pits
and quarries. As much as one hundred tons a day was used at times. Dump
truck after dump truck moved in a continuous line into the construction
area. An asphalt plant for processing the blacktop laid on top the gravel
roads was set up on the ground.
August 1 was the date set for completion of the major construction. It was
a race against time, but as the deadline approached the camp began to
assume some semblance of order. WPA workers and trucks were called in to
assist in the road work. Boys from the CCC camp in Brown County helped
greatly in clearing up debris. After the middle of June the number at work
in the camp area decreased appreciably. The departure of workers, however,
did not lessen the demand for living quarters for by this time Army men
were arriving in ever increasing numbers and seeking homes for their
On August 15, the date set for reactivation of the Eighty-third Division,
the public was invited to see Indiana's largest and newest Army camp. It
was a field day for Hoosiers. Despite rain some fifteen thousand poured
into the camp. Lieut. Gen. Ben Lear, commanding officer of the Second
Army, was present, as was Governor Henry F. Schricker of Indiana. After
the colorful and impressive reactivation ceremonies were over, the people
roamed over the area, peering into hundreds of buildings to see how the
soldiers would live and eat. All types of fighting equipment were on
display in the large sports arena. Guns ranged from the 4½ ton howitzers
to the smallest of defense weapons. There were walkie-talkie sets, gas
masks, Army vehicles of all descriptions, flame throwers, pontoon bridges
and boats, gun emplacements, mobile machine shops, and a portable water
purification set. There was even a fox hole. It was a rare opportunity for
the civilian, and one that was bound to promote closer understanding
between the camp and the community. When the time came to leave, the
visitors were a tired lot, but they understood better what the Army was
trying to do. In the days to come they could appreciate better the life of
the soldier and try to help him in his off-duty hours. As the last of the
guests departed, and darkness enveloped the countryside, the camp settled
down to the serious and grim business of training an Army for war.
NAMING THE CAMP
Proposed names for the
new camp began to come into the news-paper offices soon after its
construction was announced. Among the names suggested were: Camp
Bartholomew, for Joseph Bartholomew, Indiana pioneer and Indian fighter;
Camp MacArthur, for Gen. Douglas MacArthur; Camp Tipton, for John Tipton,
original owner of a part of the land on which the town of Columbus was
platted, and later a United States Senator; Camp Amity for the town of
that name in Johnson County; Camp Snyder, for Col. John Snyder, an officer
in the War of 1812 who is buried in Bartholomew County; and Camp Kelley,
for Capt. Colin Kelley of the Army Air Corps, who had lost his life in the
bombing of a Japanese ship early in the war.
On February 16 came the announcement from Washington that the camp had
been given the name of Atterbury in memory of
Brig. Gen. William Wallace
Atterbury, a Hoosier who had performed distinguished service in World War
I. When the people of the neighborhood learned more about Atterbury, they
could only approve of the choice.
Born in New Albany on January 31, 1866, Atterbury had begun his career as
an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He had worked up to the
vice-presidency of the railroad company by 1917. When General Pershing
called that year for "the ablest railroadman in the United States" to
handle the transportation of American soldiers, equipment, and supplies to
Europe, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker selected Atterbury and sent him
to Europe as director general of transportation with the rank of brigadier
Gen. Atterbury's work abroad included the construction and operation of
enormous harbor and railroad facilities, and in harmonizing these with the
facilities of the Allies. Aided by a staff of picked railroad men selected
by himself, he carried out his task with such conspicuous success that it
won immediate acclaim. His own country conferred upon him the
Distinguished Service Medal, and France, Great Britain, Belgium, Serbia,
and Rumania each honored him with high military decorations.
At the close of the war, Atterbury returned to civilian life and to his
work with the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1925 he became president of the
company and continued in this capacity until shortly before his death on
September 20, 1934. Born into a family of moderate circumstances, but one
that believed in education, Gen. Atterbury's life typifies the American
idea of opportunity that is available to all who are willing to work. It
is fitting that Indiana's largest training camp of World War II should be
named in his honor.
CAMP ATTERBURY AS A
The purpose of building
Camp Atterbury was to train soldiers for combat. The divisions which
trained at Atterbury during different periods of the war were the 83d
Infantry Division; a combat team of the 92d Division; and the 30th and
106th Divisions. In addition there were many auxiliary and service units
and a number of small unattached units.
As a result of experimentation after World War I, the composition of the
Army's divisions had been changed from "square" to "triangular." Under the
old plan a division was built around two brigades of two regiments each,
while under the new plan a division was built around three infantry
regiments. This triangular arrangement extended down to the division's
tiniest unit, the rifle squad.
For example, each
regiment consisted of three battalions and sup-porting troops; each
battalion of three rifle companies and support; each company of three
rifle platoons and support; and each platoon of three rifle squads. A
regiment assisted by a battalion of light field artillery formed a combat
team. There were four field artillery battalions in each division.
To make a division completely self-sustaining, there were added to it,
besides the regimental troops and field artillery, engineer and medical
battalions, a cavalry reconnaissance troop, a headquarters company,
signal, quartermaster, and ordnance companies, a military police platoon,
chaplains, and a band.
In combat, the division usually had attached to it airborne troops, tanks,
tank destroyers, anti-aircraft artillery, hospital units, and a number of
Early in July, 1942, two hundred men arrived at Camp Atterbury to form a
cadre for the new 83d Division, and on July 10, Maj. Gen. John J.
Milliken, a Hoosier from Danville, who was to be commanding officer, came
from Camp Funston, Kansas. A month later he was transferred to Camp
Forrest, Tennessee, and another Hoosier, Brig. Gen. Frank W. Milburn,
succeeded him. On July 16, Camp Atterbury welcomed its first large
contingent of troops. These soldiers had been in service for some time and
were prepared to assist in the training of the new selectees that arrived
in August. Fifteen thousand men were at the camp by August 15 when the 83d
Division was reactivated. Later, it and its auxiliary forces included
about 25,000 men.
The 83d Division was originally organized in 1917 at Fort Sherman, Ohio,
and was made up largely of men from Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West
Virginia. After achieving a brilliant record in World War I, it was
demobilized. Now the time had come for the writing of another chapter in
the division's history.
General Milburn, new commander of the 83d, was born at Jasper, Indiana,
and graduated from West Point in 1914. He came to Atterbury from service
with the Eighth Motorized Division. He had spent several months during
1941 with the British Army in Egypt, observing methods of desert warfare.
It was his aim to make every soldier under his command a leader instead of
a follower. He insisted that every man learn to do the individual thinking
his job required.
The 83d included the 329th, 330th, and 331st infantry regiments, the 322d,
323d, 324th, and 908th field artillery battalions; the 308th medical
battalion, the 308th engineers, and the headquarters, signal,
quartermaster, and ordnance companies called for under the plan for
divisions mentioned above.
The usual pattern of training was first to give each soldier individual
training for the job he was to perform, after which he learned to work as
a part of a small unit; then small units learned to work together and so
on up the scale until in the final stage all the component parts of a
division learned to function as a coordinated whole.
There were 21 firing ranges at Atterbury, located in Bartholomew County,
south of the cantonment area. Facilities were available for firing every
type of weapon used by the Army Ground Forces. The basic weapons used by
the infantry were the .45 caliber pistol, rifle, bayonet, hand grenade,
Browning automatic rifle, light machine gun, 60 mm. mortar, heavy machine
gun, 81 mm. mortar, and the light carbine.
The entire range area was controlled from the range control office. When a
unit commander desired the men in his organization to fire, he sent a
written request to the range officer, stating the type of weapon to be
fired, the type of targets desired, the preferable dates for firing, and
the number of men to participate. The range officer consulted the firing
schedule and arranged for the request to be granted, allowing the
preferred dates if possible. When the unit arrived at the designated
range, all was ready for action.
The first firing was usually done on the rifle range. Then as a soldier
advanced in training he learned to use other weapons. The first practice
was without ammunition. The longest range was the artillery range, 9 miles
in length, with 4 firing points at each end, and shells traveling toward
the center of the range. Eventually the soldiers saw action on one of the
5 combat ranges where actual battle conditions were simulated.
An "enemy" town which the soldiers named Tojoburg was built in the range
section of the camp. It contained some 30 buildings representing a post
office, communications center, hotel, tavern, church, town hall, etc. Most
of these were occupied by dummies that made unpredictable appearances.
Capture of the village represented a field problem. The soldiers were
taught how to approach the town, how to recognize the various types of
buildings, and how to over-come the "enemies" that might be lurking there.
In March, 1943, a school for Rangers, the United States counter-part of
the British commandos, was set up by the 83d Division. Lieut. Gen. Ben
Lear had announced a desire to have every man in the Second Army a Ranger.
The main features of this training consisted of running a super-obstacle
course (nicknamed the blitz course), hand to hand combat with no holds
barred, demolition, snap firing, and personal camouflage. General Lear
made his third visit to Atterbury to watch this Ranger school in action.
The heart of the training was the blitz course, 1,000 yards of the
toughest obstacles that could be conceived; 10-foot leaps over
barbed-wire-filled trenches; 8-foot walls to scale; barbed wire to crawl
through; dummy enemy soldiers appearing from nowhere as bayonet targets;
and stream crossings on narrow logs over mined waters, all done under
simulated shell fire and smoke. The goal of the Rangers' school was to
turn out the toughest, hardest fighting men in the world.
Seven Rangers returned in December, 1943, from the battlefields of Africa
and Italy to help train the men at Atterbury. They had a trunkful of
decorations. It was impossible to get any of these taciturn,
battle-hardened soldiers to talk about individual feats, but they took
great pride in passing on to every soldier the lessons learned, in order
to save countless thousands of lives on battle fronts all over the world.
The middle of June, 1943, found the 83d preparing to leave Atterbury for
Second Army maneuvers in Tennessee. As a farewell event, they staged a
field day on June 16 to which friends and relatives were invited. There
was a full day of athletic events, military demonstrations, a parade, and
a dance in the sports arena that night. In September, 1943, the Division
moved to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, and in April, 1944, sailed for
England under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert C. Macon. On June 18 they
began landing on the Omaha beach of Normandy. They launched their first big
offensive on July 4, breaking through the St. Lo-Coutances high-way. Early
in August they moved to Avranches and then on to the fortress of St. Maio
which they captured on the 17th. The following month they operated in the
Loire Valley, covering a 200-mile line from St. Nazaire to Auxerre,
capturing 20,000 Germans at one time. Late in September they headed
northeast through France and Luxembourg. Early in December they moved into
the Hurtgen Forest to relieve the 4th Infantry Division and from there
fought their way to the west bank of the Roer near Duren. During the
German counteroffensive, the 83d was ordered to Rochefort where they
fought in waist-high snow and bitter cold to help turn back the enemy
assault. A month later they were assigned to the Ninth Army and crossed
the Rhine on March 30 after taking Neuss. Their next objective was the
Hamm railyards, where they seized enough abandoned vehicles to completely
motorize themselves, and then raced east to the Elbe, capturing 24,000
Germans and liberating 75,000 Allied prisoners on the way.
Following the German surrender and the return of the troops to the United
States, the Division was deactivated. The following year, in 1946, it was
again activated to serve as a reserve division of Indiana and Ohio units.
Two units of the 92d Division were in training at Atterbury at the same
time as the 83d. These were the 365th Infantry Regiment and the
Field Artillery Battalion composed of Negro selective service men. These
units were formally reactivated at Atterbury on October 15, 1942, as a
combat team. On the same day, similar reactivation ceremonies were held at
three other camps for other units of the Division.
The 92d had seen action in France during World War I. The cadre for the
combat team at Atterbury came from Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Col. Walter A.
Elliott was the commanding officer. The Division mascot was a live
The above units of the 92d trained at Atterbury until April 26, 1943, when
they joined the rest of the Division at Fort Huachuca. They practiced
large-scale maneuvers with the Third Army from February to April, 1944.
The Division sailed for North Africa in June, 1944, but their ultimate
destination was Italy where they were assigned to the Fifth Army front in
the Italian Apennines. Their first large-scale attack as a division was
made in February, 1945, when they were given the mission of seizing Mount
Cassala, a peak dominating the western coast ports. After succeeding in
this mission they worked up the Ligurian coast and seized La Spezia and
Genoa, and then continued northward to take Alessandria and Turin.
The 30th Infantry Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs,
arrived at Camp Atterbury on November 13, 1943, from large-scale field
maneuvers in Tennessee. This division was originally created in July,
1917, during World War I. It was composed of National Guard troops from
Tennessee, North and South Carolina, augmented by selective service troops
from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota, and was known
as the "Old Hickory" Division in honor of Andrew Jackson. It was disbanded
after World War I, but was reactivated in 1925 as a National Guard
division. It was called to full-time duty in 1940, one of the first four
guard units to be called.
At the time of its training at Atterbury, it was composed of the 117th,
119th, and 120th infantry regiments; the 113th, 118th, 197th, and 230th
Field Artillery battalions, the 730th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company,
the 105th Medical Battalion, and the 105th Engineer Battalion, signal and
quartermaster companies, reconnaissance troops, and a division
headquarters and headquarters company. The 743d and 823d tank destroyer
battalions and the 531st anti-aircraft artillery battalion were attached
to it. Their brief stay of ten weeks at Atterbury was spent in preparation
for movement overseas. On January 30, 1944, they left for Camp Myles
Standish, Massachusetts, and sailed on February 12 for England. On June 15
they joined the fighting in Normandy. After heavy fighting in France they
crossed the Seine in September and became the first
American division to enter Belgium and Holland. On October 2 they attacked
the Siegfried Line and broke through at Palemberg and Rimburg. They
advanced on into Germany and were near Magdeburg on the Elbe when Germany
The next division to train at Atterbury was the 106th
Infantry Division which arrived the
last of March, 1944, from Second Army maneuvers in Tennessee. It was a
comparatively new organization having been activated at Fort Jackson,
South Carolina, on May 15, 1943. It was composed largely of younger men
from Indiana, Illinois, and South Carolina. Maj. Gen. Alan W. Jones was
the commanding officer. The division included the 422d, 423d, and 424th
infantry regiments, the 589th, 590th, 591st, and 592d field artillery
regiments, the 806th ordnance company, and other auxiliary units. Students
in the Army Specialized Training Program, who had been enrolled in
colleges, were assigned to the 106th after the curtailment of the program.
The Division remained at Atterbury until the middle of October, 1944, and
then was sent overseas. Being without combat experience, the troops were
assigned what was supposed to be a relatively quiet sector in the
Ardennes. About a week later, on December 16, came the German
counteroffensive, the heaviest blow of which was directed along the line
where the 422d and 423d regiments of the 106th were stationed. Though
vastly outnumbered, they held out for two and a half days; then being shut
off from other troops and without food, water, or ammunition, they
radioed, `We now are destroying our equipment." 'When the casualties were
counted, it was found that 400 were killed and 1,200 wounded; some 7,000
were taken prisoners. Those that escaped moved to the rear for
reorganization and then returned to the front at once to help finish the
Battle of the Bulge. After V-E Day the 106th was given the job of guarding
thousands of German prisoners of war.
In the reorganization of
the War Department in March, 1942, the Army was divided into three parts
for training purposes: the Army Ground Forces, Air Forces, and Service
Forces. The first two were trained as combat units. The Service Forces
were trained to maintain, equip, transport, and care for the other two
forces, both in training and in battle. The technical, judicial,
quartermaster, ordnance, engineering, signal, medical, chaplains' corps
and military police organizations were part of the Service Forces. They
operated the telegraph, telephone, radio, and electronic devices; they
kept the Army's records, paid its bills, and paid each individual soldier
and his dependents. They maintained the Army's health and took care of the
sick and wounded. They were responsible for the morale of the troops, and
in this connection operated theaters and other recreational facilities.
They were also responsible for administering military justice, handling
prisoners of war, maintaining law and order. In addition to performing
their particular service job, these men had to be first-class fighting
men, ready to take their place by the side of the regular infantryman in
Medical units that trained at Atterbury included general station,
evacuation, and portable surgical hospitals, ambulance companies, and
supply depots. Ordnance units ranged from light to heavy maintenance
groups, while military police included combat, escort, guard, and aviation
guard organizations. The members of the medical units used the facilities
of the post hospital and later of the Wake-man hospital in their training
and also practiced in the field. They had to learn to move their equipment
at a moment's notice and set it up in another area. Some were organized to
give emergency treatment, others prepared to operate farther back of the
Men in the ordnance units learned to service all types of motor vehicles
in the regular machine shops; then they were taken on field trips where
they learned to work under simulated battle conditions, repairing vehicles
in the open from portable machine shops and with a minimum of equipment.
They learned to camouflage their bivouac area and to defend themselves in
case of attack. They also took care of the guns. The quartermaster bakery
battalion learned to bake bread in the open regardless of the weather.
Their toughest test was baking under blackout conditions.
In addition to the service troops attached to the divisions, a number of
the men belonged to units of the Eighth Detachment, Special Troops, Second
Army. This included the 338th Engineers, the 457th Engineer Depot Company,
the 249th Quartermaster Service Battalion; the 329th Quartermaster Depot
Company; Company C of the 100th Bakery Battalion; the 30th, 31st, and 42d
Signal Construction Battalions, the 301st Signal Operations Battalion,
several ordnance companies (the 122d, 349th, 377th, 895th, Co. C of the
95th Battalion, the 3532d) and the 210th Ordnance Battalion, the 35th,
39th, and 44th evacuation hospital units. Their job was to prepare the way
for invasion troops and their training was directed toward that end. Units
of the detachment were in training at Atterbury during different periods
from September, 1942, to June, 1944. They were commanded by Col. Richard
Then there were other service units that performed jobs necessary to the
operation of the camp. These included the Women's Army Corps, the men in
charge of the prisoners of war, and those who worked in the hospital and
in such departments as quartermaster, transportation, ordnance, and
finance. After the personnel center was set up at Atterbury in 1944, it
was staffed by service units. The work of some of these units is brought
out more particularly in other chapters. One that might be mentioned here
is the 1584th that had charge of the special training classes.
An average of one person out of every twelve inducted in the Fifth Corps
Area was found to be deficient in his education to the point that he could
not keep up with his fellow soldiers. To take care of these men a special
training unit, the 1584th, was activated at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1941. It
was moved to Fort Harrison in June, 1943, and to Atterbury in November of
that year. It was re-designated the 1560th SCU Special Training unit on
February 1, 1945.
Both educational and military fundamentals were taught the men assigned to
this unit. The former consisted largely of the 3 R's and was intended to
give the average trainee the equivalent of a fourth-grade education. The
latter included the organization of the Army, military discipline and
courtesy, articles of war, sanitation, first aid, guard duty, the
safeguarding of military information, and many other subjects that would
enable the trainees to become better soldiers. They practiced infantry
drilling and rifle marksmanship. On off-duty hours the men participated in
sports, and put on talent shows; they organized a "mountain music"
orchestra which played for square dances.
A number of the academic instructors were civilians. Much of the
instruction was individual inasmuch as the background and capabilities of
the students differed. The majority of the trainees were ready to leave
the unit in six or eight weeks. As soon as a trainee was considered to be
competent to proceed with the regular military training, he was sent back
to the reception center for regular assignment to a training camp.
Another service unit, the 1562d, operated the Camp Atterbury school for
bakers and cooks.
The Women's Army Corps
signed on May 15, 1942, the act creating the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
Recruiting began almost immediately and training centers were established.
It was not quite a year after organization of the Corps that the first
contingent of WAACs, 130 members of the 44th Headquarters Company,
de-trained at Camp Atterbury, on March 6, 1943. They came from the
training center at Daytona Beach, Florida. The company consisted of a
clerical platoon, a service club platoon, and units of theater ushers,
motor transport drivers, cooks, bakers, and basics. Heading the company as
commander was Second Officer Helen C. Grote, of Neola, Iowa, who had been
a law secretary at Salt Lake City before her induction and training at the
Officers' Candidate School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Five buildings were ready for the WAACs, including a combination
administration, officers' quarters, and recreation building, a mess hall,
and three barracks. These buildings, constructed after the original
portion of the camp, were located in a separate block at the rear of the
post headquarters buildings. They were like those used by the men except
there was a beauty parlor in the administration building and a special
laundry room in each of the barracks buildings.
This headquarters company filled various jobs ranging from chauffeurs and
typists to theater managers and librarians. They were assigned to such
offices and branches as special service, motor pool, quartermaster, post
locator, military personnel, and adjutant. Their service released many men
for combat duty.
A detachment of 141 Negro members of the WAAC were the next to arrive,
coming on May 22, 1943. This group was activated as the medical section of
the 3561st Service Unit and was commanded by Second Officer Sarah E.
Murphy, of Atlanta, Georgia, a former newspaper reporter and
schoolteacher. This unit worked in the post hospital as ward attendants,
ambulance drivers, dental assistants, medical technicians, cooks, clerks,
typists, and stenographers. On June 21, the 44th Post Headquarters Company
became the Headquarters Section of the 3561st Service Unit.
Legislation changing the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps from an auxiliary
unit into a unit of the Regular Army was signed by President Roosevelt on
July 2, 1943. In a colorful ceremony held on August 10, the two companies
of Atterbury WAACs were officially sworn into the Army as members of the
Women's Army Corps.
The WACs played a major role in the care of the wounded re-turned from
overseas. When the soldier left his hospital ship, his ambulance driver
was a WAC; as he entered the hospital the GI found trained Women's Army
Corps technicians working in surgical wards, operating rooms, dental
clinics, medical laboratories, and X-ray room, assisting over-worked
doctors and nurses.
The mounting casualty lists that came with the invasion of France
increased the need for more trained technicians. In July, 1944, it was
decided to move the WAC Medical Department Enlisted Technicians' School
from Hot Springs, Arkansas, to the Wakeman General Hospital at Atterbury.
Fifty buildings in Block 7 were assigned to the school. Students and
instructors from the Arkansas school arrived on August 4; there were 22
enlisted women, 9 officers, and 93 students. Classes were resumed on
The school was organized
into five sections: dental, medical, surgical, laboratory, and X-ray. In
order to be accepted for training, WAC members had to be high-school
graduates, and it was better if they had had previous training or
experience as nurses' aides. They had six weeks of basic training before
entering the technicians' school. The shortest course was the dental
section which could be covered in twelve weeks. Four months were required
to complete the medical and surgical sections. After December 8, 1944,
students in these two sections received only the first two months of
training at Atterbury and were sent elsewhere for the remaining two
months. Graduations and departures occurred each month and were followed
by the arrival of new students. With the closing of a similar school at
Billings hospital, Fort Benjamin Harrison, in February, 1945, instructors
and equipment were transferred to the Atterbury school.
In March, 1945, 408 new students were enrolled; this was 148 over the
regular quota. In April the number of new students was 457, and the total
enrollment reached 726. Additional classrooms and teaching personnel were
badly needed. Four months later, in August, came the announcement that no
more new WAC students would be received, and that when those in attendance
had completed their course the school would be converted into a training
school for men.
During the period of a little over a year that the school was conducted,
some 3,800 WACs received training in one of the five courses. Some of
these remained at the Wakeman hospital; the rest went to other Army
hospitals scattered over the country. With 30,000 casualties a month being
returned to hospitals in the United States, these women were able to make
a great contribution toward caring for the sick and wounded.
On May 14, 1945, the WACs at Camp Atterbury celebrated the third birthday
of their corps. Of the 130 members of that first contingent that arrived
at the camp, 20 were still there. From the ranks of all those stationed at
Atterbury, 47 had gone overseas. Some returned after serving as much as
eighteen months overseas on many different battle fronts. Many had been
praise goes to these loyal women who sacrificed much and performed a
ADMINISTRATION OF THE
The administration of a
camp the size of Atterbury was equivalent to managing a city the size of
Anderson. The office of post commander was analogous to that of mayor.
Functioning under the commander were the heads of various divisions,
similar to a mayor's administrative assistants. The administrative
personnel remained fairly permanent during the war period. They were
responsible for the smooth running of the camp. Combat divisions and units
moved in and out at frequent intervals, with the administrative personnel
preparing for their arrival and taking care of their needs while there.
One can get some idea of the administrative set-up of the camp from the
following chart which appeared in the Camp Crier, March 31, 1944:
Post Commander—Col. Welton M. Modisette
assistant executive officer
post inspector control officer
public relations officer
Post judge advocate
legal assistance and claims officer
personal affairs branch
morale service branch
special service branch (service clubs, theaters, athletics) post exchange
Supply and service division purchasing and contracting storage and
Internal security and intelligence assistant director
Military training division range officer
range supply officer
post fiscal officer
commanding officer, station hospital
chief of dispensaries veterinarian
executive and maintenance officer
administrative and property officer
operations officer and assistant fire marshal
Post quartermaster executive officer
post food supervisor property officer
motor transportation officer
commissary sales officer warehouse officer
clothing sales officer
Post signal officer
Post transportation officer Post ordnance officer
Post chemical warfare officer Engineer property officer
The post adjutant disseminated all War Department regulations and those
issued by the Fifth Service Command, and issued orders relating to
military personnel such as assignments, transfers, pro-motions; the
billeting officer allocated and provided space for housing; the postal
officer distributed mail through the message center and inter-office
The judge advocate handled all legal matters pertaining to the camp and
reviewed claims and court-martial cases before submitting them to the
commanding officer; the legal assistance and claims officer helped
soldiers in the preparation of legal papers. The supply and service
division had charge of purchasing food, clothing, equipment, and
ammunition for the soldiers and of storing it so it would be available
The internal security and intelligence division was responsible for the
security of the camp; it coordinated Army regulations with those of
civilian authorities in near-by towns, apprehended AWOLs and issued passes
for civilians and visitors. The military police handled traffic at the
post and furnished details of military police in surrounding cities and
towns; they furnished guards and sentries for post installations and took
care of the feeding and quartering of war dogs. The prison officer kept
records pertaining to the prisoner of war camp and handled details
connected with the employment of the prisoners by civilians.
Under the military division the range and range supply officer made
schedules for the use of the firing ranges and supplied the ammunition and
targets desired. The fiscal officer supervised all financial matters
pertaining to the post and provided for the payment of personnel.
The work of the technical services is more or less self-explanatory. When
the Atterbury Station Hospital became a General Hospital Center, the
administration of all affairs connected with it became the responsibility
of the hospital's commanding officer and was no longer under the
jurisdiction of Colonel Modisette.
Col. Welton M. Modisette was appointed Atterbury's first commanding
officer. He arrived on the scene late in May, 1942, just as construction
was getting well under way. He continued in command during the time that
the camp was a training center. In June, 1945, he was succeeded by Brig.
Gen. Ernest A. Bixby who remained in charge during the time the reception
station and the separation center were at their peak. In June, 1946, as
the time approached for the closing of these installations, General Bixby
was succeeded by Col. Herbert H. Glidden. He remained two months and was
followed by Col. John L. Gammell who, in turn, was followed by Col. Carter
A. McLennon in September, 1946. Col. McLennon super-intended the final
closing of the camp at the end of the year.
PRISONERS OF WARS
On May 19, 1943, Col.
Welton M. Modisette, post commander, announced that Italian prisoners of
war at the internment camp at Atterbury were available for agricultural
labor in the five counties within a 25-mile radius of the camp. Requests
were to be made for their labor through the county agricultural agents to
the internment camp commander, Lieut. Col. John L. Gammell. This
announcement was the first published reference about the internment camp,
al-though its presence was known earlier to some.
Many farmers availed themselves of this opportunity to get much-needed
help. The provision for use of prisoners only within a 25-mile radius was
lifted to permit their use on farms as far distant as Decatur County. The
farmer hiring prisoner labor had to provide transportation, equipment and
tools, toilet facilities, and safe drinking water. As a rule not less than
ten men were to be sent out on any one job. Contracts stipulated the type
and amount of work to be done, the location of the farm, number of working
hours, and amount of pay. Work of a dangerous nature was prohibited, and
prisoners were not to be employed except in cases where the demand could
not be filled by civilian labor. The working day was limited to ten hours,
including travel time to and from work. A guard accompanied each group of
prisoners to and from the camp and stayed with them while they worked.
Payment for the labor was made directly to the United States Government at
the prevailing wage rate of the vicinity after the cost of transportation
and food furnished the prisoners was deducted.
Each prisoner received from the government a flat allowance of ten cents a
day and an extra eighty cents for each full day's work outside the
stockade. He could receive up to $13 a month of this money in coupons
exchangeable at the canteens, but any amount earned over this sum was kept
in trust for him until such time as he should be repatriated.
On June 4, 1943, Army headquarters in Washington announced that Camp
Atterbury's prisoner of war camp would be one of the permanent internment
centers. Newspaper men were taken on a tour of the camp on June 5. They
found it located in a secluded valley at the west edge of Camp Atterbury,
well away from the training area. It was enclosed within a double barbed
wire fence, with guard towers covering a narrow alley between the fences.
The stockade was divided into three compounds, each containing hut
shelters, mess halls, toilet facilities, and other installations
sufficient to accommodate 3,000 prisoners.
The prison camp at this time required the services of approximately 500
Army officers and enlisted men, who were housed outside the stockade in
near-by barracks. The guard and administrative detachment was made up of 3
military police escort companies, 21 additional officers, and 3 attached
officers. The guard companies rotated; while one was on actual camp guard
manning the towers and gates, another company was on the alert, and the
third was engaged in tactical and other training exercises or in
supervising work details.
The unit in charge of the
internment camp was the 1537th Service Unit. It had been activated on
December 15, 1942, with 50 enlisted men; during the following six weeks
these men received specialized training for their job. Then on February 10
they moved to the internment area and spent the next two months in
converting it into a prison camp and making all the necessary preparations
for the arrival of the prisoners. There was no complete standard operating
procedure for prisoner of war camps at this time; as a result,
regulations, forms, and records had to be initiated and a fiscal system
Two MP Guard companies arrived from Fort Custer, Michigan, on April 18 to
take over the guard duties. On April 30 the first contingent of 767
prisoners arrived; the following day 400 more were checked in. By
September the number reached 3,000.
The camp was organized as a regiment of three battalions of five companies
each. Each battalion was composed of one escort guard company of American
soldiers and four companies of prisoners. The prisoners had one
regimental, three battalion, and twelve company leaders appointed from
their own ranks by the camp commander. The prisoners were given a basic
course which included common English words, recognition of the American
national an-them, bugle calls, Army insignia, various commands, etc. The
prisoners received the same rations as the American soldiers except that
at their own request the Italians received extra flour in lieu of meat.
This was in line with their normal diet. They baked their own bread, made
spaghetti, and prepared their own meals. They were permitted and expected
to organize and administer their own affairs as much as possible. There
were no commissioned officers among the Italian prisoners.
The sick and wounded among the prisoners were moved immediately to the
post hospital. Dispensaries within the stockade took care of temporary
illnesses. Many could not understand how they got to Indiana, believing
that it was a part of India. Others expressed wonder that New York City
could have been rebuilt so quickly. They had understood that it had been
destroyed by bombs. Almost all of them were Catholics. Maurice F. Imhoof,
an American Catholic priest, who had studied in Rome and spoke Italian
fluently, was chaplain for the internment camp. The prisoners showed their
artistic ability by erecting in their spare time a beautiful outdoor altar
of brick and stone.
The reporters were impressed most by the cheerfulness of the Italians and
the excellent condition of the camp. The newcomers, dumped suddenly into
an unknown land, thousands of miles from home, constantly grinned, talked
and joked, played a queer game with their fingers called "La Mora," and
sang in lusty voices as they marched to and from work assignments. They
had day rooms with radios, phonographs, games, and approved newspapers and
magazines in Italian; there was also a recreation area, with equipment for
volley ball, soccer, and other games. Most of these "extras" were
purchased with the profits realized from the operation of the can-teens in
the stockade. This money was also used to buy musical instruments for the
prisoners. On Sunday morning the prisoners were permitted to see movies at
the Camp Atterbury theaters.
Lawnmowers were one of the many American novelties to the Italians. They
asked to be allowed to cut grass so that they could operate the mowers.
They also worked in the post garden, the laundry, and at other tasks
around the grounds. Each prisoner was required to send a card home telling
of his safe arrival at the internment camp; after that he could send one
card and two letters each week. Both incoming and outgoing mail was
censored. Prisoners were permitted to have visitors twice a month. These
visits were under the supervision of military personnel and were limited
to two hours.
Meanwhile the war had not been going so well for the homeland of the
prisoners. On September 8 the Italian Government surrendered to the
Allies, but the war was continued in Italy by the Germans. In January,
1944, the first of the Italian prisoners at Camp Atterbury were
transferred to other camps prior to their return to their homeland. A few
of them joined newly formed volunteer non-combat units in the United
States Army. Their removal from Atterbury was completed by May 4. It was
during this period, in February, that the first and only death of an
Italian prisoner occurred.
The Italian prisoners
were replaced by German prisoners, the first ones arriving on May 8, four
days after the departure of the last group of Italians. There were 2,940
Germans in the internment camp by June 30 and 5,700 on September 19. This
was far beyond the original capacity of the camp. In the following months
some of these were transferred to other camps and new groups were received
at Atterbury. The maximum was reached on October 15 when there were 8,898
prisoners; 3,700 of these were in branch camps established at points
throughout the state, the remainder were at Atterbury. Army troops in
charge of the prisoners on this date numbered 746 enlisted men and 33
There was quite a difference between the German prisoners and the
The Germans, particularly the thorough Nazis, were still definitely
enemies, although deprived of the power to do any-thing about it, while
most of the Italians had been lukewarm enemies before they were captured,
and enemies not at all as soon as they were taken. The German prisoners
were still essentially hostile, although so well disciplined and well
handled that they constituted no particular threat. Like the Italians,
they were hired out as agricultural laborers and as workers in the canning
factories. Earnings of these German prisoners in the month of October,
1944, reached $135,000. On some days there were as many as 750 different
work details. The average daily wage paid for a prisoner of war to the
government was $4.00, the labor being classified as unskilled on the
majority of projects. During the height of the canning season, branch
camps were established at Austin, Windfall, Vincennes, Eaton, and
Morristown so that workers would be available in those areas. These camps
continued to be maintained during the winter months in order to take care
of the large number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Atterbury
prison camp. In addition to the sums earned at outside labor, the
prisoners harvested crops valued at $15,000 from the area cultivated at
The administration of the internment camp was governed by Army regulations
and in addition had to meet the exacting rules set forth in the treaty
drawn up at Geneva in 1929 governing treatment of prisoners of war. The
United States, Germany, and Italy ratified this treaty but Japan did not.
The camp was visited by representatives of the International Red Cross,
the YMCA, representatives of neutral powers, members of the State
Department, the provost marshal general's office, the House military
affairs committee, and by two personal representatives of the President of
the United States. All of these, according to the Camp Crier, acclaimed
the ramp as one of the best prisoner of war installations in the country.
It was over a year after Germany surrendered before all the German
prisoners were removed from Atterbury. On July 10, 1946, it was announced
that the internment camp had been formally inactivated on June 27 and the
last of the prisoners sent back to their homeland or to other camps. The
last to be dispatched were five patients in the Wakeman hospital who were
sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on June 28, 1946.
In all, some 15,000 enemy soldiers had been received at the Atterbury
internment camp during the three years and two months of its existence.
During this period there were no escapes, no strikes, no labor troubles,
no murders; there were only six deaths. Col. John L. Gammell remained as
commanding officer during the entire period. In addition to its regular
functions, the camp conducted an intellectual diversion program which
included over 35 courses of academic instruction, emphasis being placed on
principles of democracy. The prisoners prepared and printed a textbook on
democracy. In addition, a number of the prisoners took extension courses
from American colleges.
Plans for dismantling the internment area and selling part of the
facilities, including buildings, fencing, and lighting fixtures, were
announced in August by the Louisville office of the U.S. Engineers.
Everything that could not be used at other Army installations was to be
sold to the highest bidder. Thus was ended another chapter in the history
of Camp Atterbury. The internment camp was operated in a way that brought
credit to the Army officials in charge. The prisoners, by their work on
near-by farms and in canning factories, were credited by the farmers as
being a big aid in helping to meet boosted wartime food goals.
The original plans for
Camp Atterbury called for the erection of a 1,700-bed hospital to care for
the Army personnel in training there and at the same time to serve as a
training center for medical units. The story of its development and
ultimate conversion into a 6,000-bed convalescent center for wounded
soldiers is one of the most interesting episodes in Indiana's war history.
Spreading over some 75 acres of ground, the hospital center first
contained 43 two-story buildings, 31 of which were connected by corridors,
the longest corridor being one third of a mile long. The buildings were of
cement block construction. Buildings designed for patients were divided
into four wards with a number of private rooms for those needing special
attention. There was a patients' mess hall, a post exchange, a large
auditorium and recreation center, clinics, and quarters for the officers
and enlisted men of the medical units and for the nurses.
Lieut. Charles Lonero, in charge of the Medical Supply Department, was the
first medical officer to reach the camp, arriving on June 18, 1942. By the
end of June a temporary dispensary, under the direction of Maj. Carlos
Fish, was established in a building near Schoolhouse Road and Division
Street. Col. Charles S. Hendricks, post surgeon, arrived the middle of
July. The first medical basic training school was organized July 27, 1942,
with approximately 200 soldiers. A dental department was set up by Col.
Guy A. Carr by August 1. Early in that month came news of an expansion
program to include buildings for the training of field hospital units.
Medical units which reported at Atterbury for training included evacuation
hospital units, a portable surgical hospital unit, field, general, and
station hospital units, and medical sanitary companies. The men were
trained not only in the performance of their various duties, but in how to
perform them on the battlefield or back of the lines. For example, the men
in the field hospital units learned to set up their tents and go into
action quickly in all kinds of weather; they had to be able to move, too,
on short notice, and know how to protect themselves in case of a surprise
attack. Some of the men acted the part of casualties and were carried from
the field and given emergency treatment. When reports from the battle
front showed the need for light, mobile hospital units capable of changing
locations swiftly, the 72d and 73d General Hospital units were
re-organized in June, 1943, into the 228th and 231st station hospitals.
With the exception of emergency cases, the men stationed at the camp
reached the hospital through the dispensaries scattered over the camp
area. Whenever a man's condition showed the need of hospitalization, the
medical officer at the dispensary arranged for his admittance. The
equipment of the hospital was the very best and the men received excellent
medical treatment. The Red Cross arranged recreation features for the
patients, including movies, games, handicrafts, and entertainers from
outside the camp. Various methods were devised to keep the men in touch
with their units while undergoing treatment.
As the hospital approached the end of its second year as a station
hospital, most of the units that had used it for a training center had
moved on for further training or to the battle front. The War Department
was looking ahead to the invasion of Europe and to the care of the
casualties that were bound to come. With air transportation, wounded men
could be flown back to the United States after preliminary treatment
overseas. The announcement was made on March 31, 1944, that the Atterbury
hospital was to become a general hospital for treatment of men injured in
battle. It was to specialize in cases requiring neuro (brains and nerves),
plastic (rebuilding parts of the body), and orthopedic (bones and joints)
surgery and therapeutic treatment. The change took place officially on
April 5 and with it came the activation of the 3547th Service Unit to
re-place the WAC and medical sections of the 1560th Service Unit. In
addition to providing beds for 2,000 patients, the hospital was to have a
reconditioning center capable of caring for 3,000 soldiers in the
convalescent stage. The principal course of treatment for these was to be
occupational therapy and physical and mental re-conditioning. Col. Haskett
L. Conner, a Hoosier from New Albany, was made commanding officer of the
The change in status brought the need for a new name, and on May 8 Colonel
Conner announced that the name of Wakeman General Hospital had been chosen
in honor of the late Col. Frank B. Wakeman. A native of New York, Colonel
Wakeman enrolled at Valparaiso University in Indiana in 1913, received a
pharmacy degree two years later, and then stayed on to complete the work
for a pharmaceutical chemist's certificate and the B. S. degree. With the
entrance of the United States into the European War in 1917, he was
commissioned a lieutenant in the Medical Corps and served two years. Upon
receiving his discharge, he became professor of chemistry in the Oklahoma
School of Mines, and later entered the medical school at Indiana
University where he received the M.D. degree in 1926. Following his
graduation, he returned to active duty with the Army and rejoined the
Medical Corps in 1928, with the rank of captain. At the time of his death
in March, 1944, Colonel Wakeman was serving as chief of the Training
Division, Office of the Surgeon General, Washington, D. C.
Following the announcement of the change in the hospital's status,
preparations were made to care for the battle casualties. Specialists in
the fields of neuro, plastic, and orthopedic surgery were added to the
staff. Equipment was ordered, and a records system installed. In July a
technicians' school for WACs was transferred to Wakeman from Hot Springs,
Arkansas, to train girls as medical, surgical, X-ray, laboratory, and
dental technicians. Assisting in the hospital was a part of their regular
work. The length of the course was from three to four months. During the
first six months, some 1,300 were trained for hospital work. Some of these
stayed on at Wakeman while others were sent to other Army hospitals
throughout the country. (6)
The first casualties from the European invasion arrived on August 18,
1944. From that day on they came in a continuous stream by plane and
train. The giant C-47 transport planes landed at the Atterbury Air Field,
12 miles distant; specially trained litter bearers removed the injured
from the planes and placed them in ambulances for the ride to the
hospital. In less than an hour after their arrival at the airfield they
were resting in their wards. Those who came by special medical department
hospital trains were whisked to the hospital in about fifteen minutes,
with the first man entering the hospital before the last man was taken
from the train.
6 See ante, 31-32.
Wakeman General Hospital
Some of the men were
flown directly from France, but most of them came from England. Their
first stop in the United States was at the Regional Station Hospital,
Mitchel Field, New York. The trip from there to Wakeman could be made in
four and one half hours by plane. Some patients were transferred to
Wakeman from other Army hospitals and some veterans of the Pacific area
were also sent here for treatment.
On August 24, 1944, bids were opened for the construction of additional
facilities. The expansion program was expected to cost about $400,000.
Work was started soon thereafter on three new buildings; some barracks
buildings were converted into hospital buildings to be used for clinics
and wards. Air conditioning was in-stalled in the operating and X-ray
rooms, and a ventilation system was installed in all the wards that could
change the air in one minute. A chapel was moved from another part of the
camp and attached by corridors to the main wings of the hospital to
provide patients easy access to religious services.
Wakeman was one of the best equipped among the forty-three specialized
general hospitals in the United States, and the largest in the Fifth
Service Command. It had one of the best qualified staffs in the service.
Maj. Truman G. Blocker was in charge of the plastic surgery. There were
five wards in this department. At one time there were 350 plastic surgery
patients, each of whom underwent an average of four operations; some will
need treatment for as long as ten years. Plastic surgery served as a great
morale builder among the wounded. Wakeman was also a specialized hospital
for eye cases. Plastic eyes were used—the finest in the world. Capt.
Gerhard Thrun was in charge of this department. Wakeman was one of twelve
hospitals in the United States handling these cases, and the only one in
the Fifth Service Command.
An advanced reconditioning section for the benefit of patients
experiencing a prolonged convalescence was established in barracks, in the
Clark Street cantonment area, about two miles from Wake-man Hospital. Here
the men were clothed in uniforms and lived in barracks the same as duty
soldiers. This unit was commanded by Lieut. Col. Ray M. Conner, and was
staffed by officers and en-listed men who had had extensive experience in
They were specially
trained for their duties at Washington and Lee University at Lexington,
Virginia, and at the physical reconditioning school at Camp Grant,
Illinois. The men participated in calisthenics, remedial exercises,
athletics, and games. The purpose of this pro-gram was to hasten the
soldiers' recovery and thus reduce the number of days they must spend in
the hospital before returning to duty. There was a dispensary in this area
giving twenty-four hour service to patients requiring prompt medical
For the most part these convalescent patients looked after their own needs
the same as any other military unit; this included policing their own
barracks and operating their own mess halls.
The education and orientation phase of the reconditioning service included
instruction along various lines, discussion and explanation of current
news, and instruction in military subjects. For volunteer study, Armed
Forces Institute Courses were available to patients both in the hospital
and in the barracks. Classes were established for those interested in
commercial subjects. Carpentry, automotive repair, and radio mechanics
shops were set up for patients in the advanced groups, while those in the
hospital worked at various handicrafts.
About forty American Red Cross volunteer nurses' aides gave their time at
Wakeman Hospital. They lived in nurses' quarters, ate in the nurses' mess,
and worked in the wards in day and night shifts without compensation. They
came from Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, and included business women,
housewives, schoolteachers, and women from all walks of life, who gave up
vacation or spare time to be of service in the war effort.
About eighty "Gray Ladies" from Bartholomew and Johnson counties also
assisted at Wakeman Hospital. Colonel Conner and others gave lectures to
acquaint them with the hospital ethics, medical conditions, and ward
requirements. Their official name was Volunteer Special Services Hospital
and Recreation Corps. They were popular with the patients. They gave
information and acted as guides for visitors; distributed books,
magazines, cigarettes, and games; wrote letters and did errands such as
sending telegrams, mailing packages, and shopping for gifts; and, in
general, added the woman's touch of home to the hospital. Chairman of the
Wakeman Corps of "Gray Ladies" was Mrs. Kenneth Andrews, of Franklin, with
Mrs. A. T. Carpenter, of Columbus, as subchairman.
Patients who were able to travel were frequently the guests of
organizations and individuals in the neighboring communities. Flowers and
potted plants for the hospital were supplied continuously by various
The Red Cross provided entertainment for the patients. Nationally known
entertainers appeared with USO shows; there were local talent shows, too,
and movies twice a week. The hospital had its own radio station, WAKE,
which put on programs for the benefit of the patients. Parties were held
frequently with Liberty Belles and Cadettes from Indianapolis, Cincinnati,
and other places as guests. These special events were in addition to the
games, con-tests, and handicrafts that were daily events. Portable
telephones could be connected at the bedside of any patient for his
convenience in making or receiving calls. Persons who came from a distance
to visit patients could stay in the guest houses at the camp for a very
small charge. Everything possible was done for the comfort of the patients
in addition to giving them the best of medical treatment.
As more and more casualties were returned to the United States, it was
necessary to increase still further the facilities at Atterbury as well as
at other hospitals. A contract for further remodeling was made with the
Whittenberg Corporation of Louisville for $141,911 on October 4, 1944. By
January, 1945, the number of patients in the convalescent and
reconditioning service had reached 6,000 and still they kept coming. To
care for them, the medical detachment, serving all branches of the
hospital and reconditioning service, had been increased to 1,600, three
times its original size. In addition, some 700 civilians were employed at
the hospital. Further construction of new buildings and conversion of old
ones was announced in the spring. On April 20, 1945, the hospital was
redesignated the Wakeman Hospital Center to be made up of the two units,
the Wakeman General Hospital and the Wakeman Convalescent Hospital Colonel
Conner remained as commanding officer of the Hospital Center with Col.
Harry F. Becker heading the General Hospital and Col. Charles T. Young the
Convalescent Hospital. The new setup was expected to bring about a greater
efficiency of operation and administration. A month later, Colonel Conner
exchanged positions with Col. Frank L. Cole, commanding officer of the
Wood-row Wilson General Hospital at Staunton, Virginia. Colonel Cole was
succeeded in turn by Col. Paul W. Crawford in January, 1946.
The close of the war in Europe in May, 1945, did not bring any immediate
decrease in the number of patients and the hospital continued to be
crowded to its capacity of 10,000 until after the end of the war with
Japan. Reconstruction work that was still going on was halted after V-J
Day. The convalescent branch was the first to feel the return to peace. By
the end of 1945 it was down to 360 patients and lost its status as a
separate unit. The Hospital Center reverted to its former status as the
Wakeman General Hospital.
In 1946 as more and more of the medical detachment became eligible for
discharge from the service, the biggest problem the hospital had to face
was keeping a sufficient staff to care for the patients. To help this
situation, a basic training course was established in April for two
companies of 217 selectees to train them for hospital service to replace
those being discharged.
The General Hospital remained open until the close of 1946. In August
there were still 2,000 patients, many of them very serious cases requiring
the utmost care. During the summer, when Colonel Blocker, plastic surgeon,
returned to civilian life and his home in Texas, his patients were
transferred to the Percy Jones Hospital at Battle Creek, Michigan. Special
arrangements were worked out, however, for him to visit his former
patients at regular intervals and check on their progress.
As the time approached for the closing of the hospital, various
suggestions were made for its future use. The State of Indiana, through
Governor Gates, asked for its release to the State for use as a mental
hospital; the Veterans' Administration explored the possibilities for its
use as a tuberculosis hospital, or, if the buildings themselves could not
be used, the transfer of the equipment to other veterans' hospitals. The
War Department, however, was reluctant to give up control of it and at the
end of the year announced that it would be retained as a station hospital
in connection with the training of National Guard units at the camp.
By the end of October, the number of patients was less than 2,000 and the
Medical Detachment Enlisted Technicians' School was in the process of
moving to Fort San Antonio, Texas. Before another month had passed, the
task of transferring the patients to other hospitals was well under way.
Proximity to the patient's home and the type of treatment needed were the
two factors considered in choosing where each should be sent. Between five
and six hundred patients who could be discharged or returned to active
service by the close of the year remained until the end.
The hospital could look back with pride on its record. Since its
designation as a General Hospital on March 31, 1944, Wakeman had cared for
some 85,000 patients. Through surgery and psycho-therapy the staff had
labored to wipe out the effects of war. An editorial in the Indianapolis
Star of November 7, 1945, paid this fitting tribute to the hospital. It
"has earned a national reputation for its amazing achievements in plastic
surgery. One of the most heartening accomplishments of medical science has
been successful bone and skin grafting. Men barely surviving terrible
injuries are being restored to economic usefulness with little evidence of
their experience. Whatever Wakeman's ultimate fate may be, it will always
remain a monument to medical skill in the hearts of many soldiers and
A newspaper is
indispensable to any large military establishment. It was not long after
the official opening of Camp Atterbury, that the Public Relations Office
began to explore the possibilities for a newspaper at the new camp.
Arrangements were made with the publishers of the Franklin Star, in the
near-by town of Franklin, to print the paper.(7)
The first issue of
Atterbury Crier appeared on September 25, 1942. Governor Schricker, who
was attending a Masonic banquet in Franklin and who had formerly been a
newspaper publisher in his home county, saw the first copy go to press.
Colonel Modisette, camp commander, and various other people of note were
present. The paper was tabloid in size and contained eight pages. It was
distributed free to all the Army and civilian personnel at the camp. Copy
was prepared by the staff of the Public Relations Office, many of whom had
been in the newspaper business before joining the Army.
The name of the paper was changed from The Atterbury Crier to The Camp
Crier with the issue of March 5, 1943. It continued to appear under the
latter tide almost three years. In January, 1946, it was combined with
Probe, the publication of the Wakeman General Hospital. One more change was
made on May 2 when advertising was dropped and it became a four-page
sheet. In this form it became an official publication, "published by and
for the military and civilian personnel of Camp Atterbury and Wakeman
General Hospital." Six weeks later, on June 14, with the closing of the
Personnel Center only two weeks off, the career of The Camp Crier came to
an end. It had served its purpose well in keeping both soldiers and
civilians informed of happenings at the camp. Its value as an historical
record of the camp over a four-year period will become increasingly
important as time passes.
Quoting from the final issue, "The story of Camp Atterbury during the war
is finished. The thousands upon thousands of soldiers that worked, trained
and passed through here being inducted or separated have been the material
for literally a hundred thousand stories.
"But now this great human interest story has just about come to an end—and
the book that told the tale of the life of this Army camp in weekly
issues-the Atterbury Camp Crier—must also end.
"During the four years history of the newspaper, stories of thousands of
the 'unknown' heroes of this war were written. The gigantic job performed
by the installation was pictured and written. The great part played by
Atterbury in the winning of this war was shown.
"Many great headlines appeared in the Crier, including the proclamations
of the invasion of France, the end of the war, and a less welcome piece of
news, 'Franklin Roosevelt Dies.'
"The Crier also tried to introduce the personnel of the camp to one
another. Columns such as 'WAC of the Week; 'Atterbury Album; 'Top Kick,'
and 'At Your Service,' pictured and gave a brief account of the jobs and
personalities of the GIs and civilians of the post.
"'What to do on off duty hours' was stressed in the Crier. Recreational
schedules of the movies, Service Clubs and Wakeman Red Cross activities
along with stories about coming activities were covered as thoroughly as
possible. In this, much credit must go to the Special Services branches of
Atterbury and the Service Club Hostesses and Red Cross Workers of this
"A schedule was carried on the religious services at the post, plus a
weekly column written by the various chaplains.
"Discussions on the two biggest military issues in the country were also
presented so that soldiers here might have a better under-standing of what
the Army intended to do. These two discussions, 'Universal Military
Training' and 'Unification of Our Armed Forces' were prepared by Capt.
Wesley Jones, former public relations officer and 'Father' of the Camp
Contributions that expressed the feelings of the soldiers in training
sometimes appeared. The following verse is typical. (8)
The Grumbling Soldier
By Sgt. Joseph Farber, 330th Infantry, 83d Division
There was a grumbling
soldier who growled the whole day long, What wasn't was the ought to be,
what was, was always wrong. He didn't like his station and he made it
plain to see
That anywhere he wasn't was the place he wanted to be. He didn't like his
General, he cursed his Captain, too.
He saw no rhyme or reason in the chores they made him do. He wished they
would transfer him to some post across the sea, For wherever he wasn't was
the place he wanted to be.
They sent him o'er the ocean with his rifle and his pack,
But no sooner had he landed than he wished that he were back.
stand the tropics with the hot sun blazing down, The place to be a soldier
was some good old Yankee town.
At last, death's final transfer moved him to realms afar, He drew a post
in Heaven where perfect quarters are.
But hardly was he seated when he passed around the word, "If St. Peter
could arrange it, he would like to be transferred."
In addition to The Crier, which covered the entire camp, a number of the
units stationed at Atterbury had their own newspapers. These were issued
in mimeographed form and were largely devoted to news about persons in the
unit and their activities as a group. They included The Jerk, organ of the
773d Tank Destroyer Battalion, first issued in November, 1943; The Buzz
Saw, a semi-monthly publication of the 120th Infantry, 30th Division; and
The Fighter, publication of the 422d Infantry Regiment of the 106th
Division, stationed at Atterbury in 1944.
The Wordier, sponsored by the Red Cross unit at the Station Hospital,
first appeared on February 17, 1944. The work of gathering the news for it
and putting it together was done by patients at the hospital. The 72d and
73d General Hospital units both had weekly papers of their own while
stationed at the Camp in 1943. These were The Splint and Litter and The
The Probe was the publication of Wakeman General Hospital. It was combined
with The Crier during the first six months of 1946; thereafter it was
continued as a mimeographed sheet until the end of the year brought the
closing of the hospital.
EXCHANGES, RELIGIOUS SERVICES
recreation, relaxation, and entertainment are important to the soldier in
training and are so recognized by military authorities. Every training
camp had its special services branch in its administrative setup to assure
a full program of recreational activities. But the Army could not do the
job alone; it needed the help of the people of the surrounding community.
As. soon as it was known that an Army training camp was to be located at
their doorstep, various organizations in the towns of Columbus, Franklin,
and Edinburg began to plan for the entertainment of the soldiers in their
hours away from camp.
The United Service Organizations (USO) sent a representative to confer
with local committees and offer help in operating USO centers if the local
communities would provide buildings. In Columbus, after a site was finally
chosen, the necessary remodeling prevented it being opened as a USO center
until near the close of 1942. In the meantime, temporary quarters were
opened in April in a business room in Columbus to provide early arrivals
at Atterbury with a place to wash and shave. At that time there were no
plumbing facilities yet available at the camp. Earl Schreiber was
appointed director of the Columbus USO by the national head-quarters of
At Edinburg, the Kellams Building was renovated to provide a USO Center.
Talkins Blank, of Rochester, Minnesota, was appointed director. There were
two USO centers in Franklin, one for Negro soldiers and one for white.
Organizations and individuals in these towns aided in furnishing the
centers and in providing entertainment.
The Indianapolis USO centers were open to Atterbury servicemen as well as
to those from Fort Benjamin Harrison and other military installations.
Through them, tickets to theaters, musical concerts, sporting events, and
other entertainments were made available.
Invitations to Indianapolis homes were often extended through the USO.
Groups sponsored by the USO, such as Cadettes and Liberty Belles, were
guests at Camp Atterbury dances. Similar groups from the Cincinnati USO
made regular trips to the camp.
Churches in Indianapolis
and in the towns and cities nearer the camp were also active in providing
recreation for the servicemen. The Lutheran Center in Columbus was opened
in December, 1942. It contained a lounge, refreshment stand, bowling
alley, and facilities for indoor games. Four of the downtown churches in
Franklin combined to sponsor centers in the Baptist and Methodist
Entertainment at the camp was not lacking. Six theaters offered two daily
showings of current movies. In some of these there was an extra matinee on
Sunday. Theater books of ten tickets sold for $ 1.20. Celebrities of the
stage, screen, and radio were often present to give special programs.
Three enlisted men's service clubs offered a variety of entertainment
including dances, music, bingo, and other games. Many men stationed at the
camp had special talents and some had been professionals in the
entertainment world before the war. With their aid many shows were put on
by camp personnel. Each service club had a cafeteria and soda fountain,
telephone booths, and facilities for writing. There was an arts and crafts
studio in Service Club No. 2 where the men could pursue their particular
hobbies. There were also three service clubs for the officers at the camp.
In addition, each training unit at the camp had its own day rooms and
recreation halls where the soldiers could relax in off-duty hours. The
Indianapolis Council of Women and civic groups from other towns helped the
men to furnish these so that they would give a touch of home to the camp.
There was keen competition and rivalry in athletic games between various
Atterbury units. In February, 1943, there were 10 leagues with 81 teams
engaged in competitive games. Three basketball games could be played at
one time on the floor of the sports arena. Baseball, football, softball,
golf, and bowling were among the other sports engaged in. Games were
played between the "varsity" team and teams from other military camps.
Boxing and wrestling matches were also held.
The library at Camp Atterbury was first located in Service Club No. 1 but
soon outgrew its headquarters there and was moved to a large building at
Division and Gatling Streets. There was a branch library in Service Club
No. 3. Current magazines, newspapers from all parts of the United States,
and some 8,000 volumes of fiction and nonfiction made up the library's
collection. It was used extensively by soldiers taking correspondence
courses through the Armed Forces Institute. Language courses were offered
to men going overseas. During 1945 and 1946 a number of extension classes
were organized that gave college credit. These met in the library. There
was also a library at Wakeman hospital for the use of the patients.
The post exchange system of the modern Army camp replaces the civilian
settlers of the early days. The first post exchange was established in
1895. Its primary purpose is to supply the troops at reasonable prices
with the articles of ordinary use and consumption not supplied by the
The Army Exchange Service was created in 1941 to provide for uniform
merchandising, control, and accounting methods in all post exchanges. In
this way they became part of a national chain-store system, enabling them
to sell items at a low cost.
The first PX at Atterbury was opened July 10, 1942. By March, 1945, the
Exchange Service there was operating 15 post exchanges, 3 cafeterias and
fountains, 3 guest houses, 4 prisoner of war canteens, and a large garage.
Nearly all the revenue-producing activities at the camp were operated by
the Exchange Service or rented to concessionaires. The concessions
included barber shops, a tailor shop, dry cleaning, and photo shops. The
typical PX was divided into four departments: food and drink, candy and
supplies, barber shop, and cleaners. The three service club cafeterias
were open during the same hours as the clubs but had fixed periods for
regular meals. Fountain service was available in between meals and of
evenings. Guest houses provided accommodations for visitors of enlisted
personnel. The service station and garage repaired and serviced an average
of 400 cars a month.
The volume of business carried on by the Exchange Service at Atterbury was
comparable to that of a large department store. It employed about 400
civilians and 70 enlisted men, who worked during their off-duty hours.
Sales were restricted to soldiers, their families, and civilian employees
at the camp.
There were 12 chapels at Camp Atterbury. Each could accommodate 400
persons at one time; several different services were held in each one on
Sundays. The ecclesiastical furniture was so designed that it could be
folded away in cupboards or rolled away behind a series of panels when one
denominational service was over and another was about to begin. Each
chapel had a Hammond electric organ. Some twenty chaplains representing
Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths conducted religious services and
acted as spiritual mentors to the men and women at the camp. "The
Chaplain's Corner," a feature of the Camp Crier, carried an article each
week by one of the chaplains.
By the middle of October,
1944, the last of the combat divisions to train at Camp Atterbury had
departed for overseas service and the camp was ready to enter upon another
phase of its history.
In the meantime, the War Department had been planning the establishment of
a personnel center for the Fifth Service Area which would consolidate the
functions of processing the new selectees, reassigning those returned from
overseas service, and taking care of those eligible for discharge. The
induction center at Fort Harrison had been handling selectees from Indiana
since 1940 and during 1944 those from Ohio as well; the personnel there
was also taking care of the relatively small number of men returned from
overseas duty for reassignment and those eligible for release. But the
facilities were not sufficient to take care of a personnel center that
could handle inductions, reassignments, and discharges for the entire
Fifth Corps Area which included the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.
The number returning for reassignment was expected to increase daily; this
together with the possibility of an early victory in Europe made
imperative the preparation of plans and training of personnel to take care
of the thousands of veterans who might be returned to this country soon.
Camp Atterbury could offer the necessary room for expansion. With this in
mind, the induction or reception center and reception station were moved
from Fort Harrison to Atterbury late in August, 1944, and reopened at the
latter place on September 1.
Six companies comprising the 1534th Service Unit, which had handled the
work at Fort Harrison, were also transferred and formed the nucleus for
the additional units which would be needed under the expansion program. In
October, 1944, the separation center was activated as a separate
organization and the following month the reception station was separated
from the reception center. The history of Camp Atterbury for the next two
years was to center around the personnel center and the Wakeman General
The Reception Center
Making soldiers out of
civilians was the task of the reception center. Arriving at all hours of
the day and night, the selectees were checked in and assigned barracks for
their brief stay of about a week. Another physical examination was the
first thing on the agenda and then came the fitting for GI clothes. The
next stop was the classification and assignment section where each took an
Army test. Here also the qualification card, Form 20, was filled out
during an interview in which all the selectee's past work, education, and
abilities were set down. This was to aid in classifying and assigning him.
On the trip through the typing and insurance sections, his service record
and other papers were filled in and forms filled out allotting a portion
of his pay for insurance, war bonds, and dependency allotments. Time was
also taken along the line to type his blood, give him initial
inoculations, and expose him to a brief orientation program.
Reports of the number of men received each day were teletyped to the
Adjutant General's Office in Washington where they were studied and
assignment orders made. Transportation to the training center to which
each was assigned was arranged by the transportation office at Atterbury
except in cases of large shipments of troops when it was arranged by the
Traffic Control Office in Washington. With these preliminaries out of the
way, the newly inducted soldier was off to his training center and the
life of a soldier.
The reception center continued in operation at Atterbury until the end of
1946 when it was moved to Fort Knox. During the period before the
suspension of the Selective Service Act, some 9,000 selectees passed
through the center each month.
During the period that
the reception station was at Fort Harrison from August, 1943, to
September, 1944, about 200 men passed through it in a month. By the time
of its transfer to Atterbury and its organization as a separate unit in
November, 1944, the number had reached 3,000 a month. The 1558th Service
Unit was activated on November 8 to handle the work of the station.
Three classes of men were taken care of here: rotation returnees,
temporary duty men, and battle casualties. The first two came direct from
the theaters of war, the last from general hospitals. There were also the
liberated American prisoners from German prison camps.
When individuals who were surplus to overseas theaters arrived in this
country they were sent to a receiving station close to their home area.
Those with scores equal to or above the critical score necessary for
discharge were screened once more to determine whether they were essential
to the Army as a whole, or were non-essential and could be returned to
civilian life. An enlisted man whose score entitled him to release was
held in the Army as essential only if his skill was so important to the
Army and so uncommon that he could not be spared. He was replaced as fast
as the Army could train and make available a replacement with the proper
Individuals in units designated for further service against the Japanese
were given travel time to and from their homes, plus up to thirty days
furlough for rest and recuperation, after which they were to report at a
designated place where their unit would be reformed for continued active
When the overseas men began to return, one could see patches and insignia
from practically every theater of operations—from the Southwest Pacific to
the Alaskan, from the European to the China-India-Burma theater. Their
first question always was "How long before we are through here and can go
home?" Most of them were pleasantly surprised when they were told, "You'll
probably be on your way home in twelve hours." The average time for a GI
to clear the reception station—checked in, paid, issued needed clothing,
have his orders cut, records brought up to date, and transportation
arranged—was less than twelve hours and never more than twenty-four hours.
Speed was the law of the reception station.
In July, 1945, 7,994 men were received in two days. In one month
Atterbury's "Grand Central Station" handled 162 inbound and 97 outbound
trains. By September 14, 1945, the reception station was handling 60,000
returnees monthly. Maj. Stanley J. Paciorek was the commanding officer of
the station at the time of the last issue of the Camp Crier on June 14,
1946. Under his direction, the station, functioning twenty-four hours a
day, had sent thousands of men home on rehabilitation furloughs after they
had returned from overseas duty. By this time its work was about over. Six
weeks later, on July 31, 1946, the station was officially dosed.
separation center was one of eighteen in the United States. It handled
Army discharges of all soldiers whose homes were in Indiana, Ohio, and
Kentucky, changing them from "GI Joes" to civilians.
The center was organized as a separate unit on October 15, 1944. Six men
were discharged that first day. This was known to be only a trickle of
what eventually would become a great stream. It was necessary to train
personnel for the big job that lay ahead when Germany and Japan would be
defeated and the nation could demobilize its fighting millions. The 1585th
Service Unit was activated to handle the work of the separation center.
The 1584th Service Unit, which had been at Atterbury since the fall of
1943, was incorporated into the center at the same time.
In the beginning, the separation center discharged, for the most part,
those physically unfit, over age, or those separated from service because
of dependency or urgent need in essential industry. Officers reverted to
inactive status, subject to recall to active duty if needed.
The Army's objective was to have the soldier leave the service with a
pleasant memory, asserted Col. Bert S. Wampler, commander of the 1585th
Service Unit; with this in mind, the officials in charge of the center
tried to make quick work of the examinations, inter-views, and paper work
involved in each individual discharge.
When a man checked in at
the 1585th's orderly room he was assigned quarters. Then his service
records were turned over to the records branch for careful processing. If
a man's records were incomplete, he was placed on a "suspense list"
pending the arrival of missing data. One of the separation center officers
then got a group of separatees together to explain the separation
procedure, tell the men what they were entitled to, and explain Post
regulations for their guidance while at Atterbury. A guide was assigned to
each group and stayed with it until the men were formally separated from
the Army. Each dischargee was given a thorough physical examination. To
insure completeness, none of his previous medical records was used. If
anything was wrong that could be corrected, he was given the choice of
staying at Atterbury until it was remedied or taking his discharge
On May 12, 1945, the separation center started discharging under the
Army's new point system. Newsmen and photographers descended on the center
to cover the epochal event. The commanding officer expressed satisfaction
over the way the organization met the initial test. From then on the
permanent cadre had to be increased daily to handle the many dischargees.
The separation center had an "Assembly Line." At first, three huge
buildings, a block north of Post Headquarters, were used; later a fourth
building was added. Housed in these buildings were the discharge
certification section, the pay and allotment section, and finance branch.
It took a lot of figuring by the finance section before a man received his
final Army pay. He also received his travel mileage home and the first
installment of his mustering out allotment.
By August, 1945, the center had grown until it occupied a half-mile area
from North Street to Division Street between Harrison and Gatling streets.
The August records were tripled in September. On December 12, 1945, 2,971
men were discharged, the highest number for one day up to that time. On
March 28, 1946, the 500,000th man was discharged. By the time the center
was inactivated on July 31, 1946, the total figures had reached 537,344
enlisted men and 39,495 officers. During the last month only men stationed
at Atterbury were released at the center. After July they had to go
elsewhere. To make this unnecessary, a separation point was established at
Atterbury in October to process the men stationed there as they became
eligible for discharge. This was a great help, especially to the men
leaving the hospital.
Several hundred civilian
men and women worked at Camp Atterbury during the four years of its
operation, performing a great variety of tasks. During the war period,
their labor released soldiers for combat duty, while after the war, it
permitted the release of many a service man sooner than he might otherwise
have been released. The greatest handicap in obtaining civilian workers
was the problem of transportation to and from the camp.
A brief resume of the jobs performed by civilians will indicate the
important part they played in the operation of the camp. In the offices,
the stenographic and clerical work, bookkeeping, and filing was largely
handled by civilians.
About 500 women were employed in the Post laundry, which operated on a
24-hour schedule. As much individual treatment was given to the clothing
as was possible; for example, socks were dried on a special foot-shaped
heater, designed to prevent shrinking.
The Post Exchange service at the camp was largely staffed by civilians.
Except for the military staff, the Post engineers division was composed of
civilians. They were in charge of operating the utilities ( including
water, gas, and electric supply, refrigeration, the central heating plant,
sewage and water disposal facilities) and the fire department and
maintained the buildings, grounds, and roads. Prisoners of war were used
on some maintenance jobs.
The Wakeman hospital employed a number of civilians, including medical and
X-ray technicians, dental hygienists, and janitors.
The ordnance and quartermaster divisions employed many civilian personnel.
In the former they repaired vehicles, operated trucks, etc. Two retired
railroad men returned to work to operate the two railroad switching
engines at the camp. In the quartermaster di-vision civilians helped to
operate the bakery.
By the end of 1945 it became possible for some civilians who lived at a
distance of more than 25 miles from the camp or worked irregular hours, to
occupy barracks set aside for their use. They ate their meals at the
cafeterias in the service clubs. Some 250 had availed themselves of this
privilege by January, 1946.
Two other agencies at the camp were staffed by civilians, but on a
different basis. The Atterbury post office was a branch of the Columbus
post office and the men employed in it were on the payroll of the Post
Office Department. The Irwin-Union Trust Company of Columbus was appointed
by the U. S. Treasury in October, 1942, as a depository and financial
agency for the camp. The bank set up at the camp and staffed by the Trust
Company performed all the services of a city institution at no charge to
the military and civilian personnel at the camp. This was a great
convenience and boon to the soldiers.
The motto of Camp
Atterbury was "We Are Ready."
During the 15-day period
before Christmas in 1944, 1,232,549 pieces of mail were handled at the
camp post office. The average per day was 82,166, twice the normal load.
Fifteen additional men were lent to the post office by the 729th M. P.
Battalion and the 1560th Service Unit. Incoming mail totaled 906,096
pieces, while outgoing mail amounted to 326,453 pieces.
The first wedding at the
camp was that of Lieut. Thomas R. Norris of Besloge, Missouri, of the
331st Infantry, to Audrey Benge, of Indianapolis, on September 6, 1942.
The ceremony took place in the 331st Regimental Chapel with Chaplain
Thomas S. Clark-son officiating. It was his first ceremony after becoming
an Army chaplain.
The camp had the largest
private branch exchange in Indiana. It was most modern, and was equipped
to handle 1,000 lines. It compared in size with the telephone facilities
of a city of 10,000.
There were 100,000 feet of cable ranging from 26-pair lines to 900-pair
lines. If all the wires in the cables were laid end to end they would have
reached around the earth.
Army Transport School
An Army Transport school
was in operation at the CCC Camp in Brown County State Park from
September, 1942, to April, 1943. It was under the supervision of Camp
Atterbury, and was designed to give a short but intensive training course
in motor transport mechanics. About 500 men received training there during
More than 150 men of
foreign birth received their naturalization papers while they were at Camp
Atterbury. At first the hearings were held in the Federal Building in
Indianapolis. Later, Judge Robert C. Baltzell conducted hearings at the
camp. Hearings were also held in the Columbus Courthouse before Judge
George W. Long of the Bartholomew County Circuit Court.
The men obtaining their citizenship papers came from various parts of the
world. Some of their native lands had been torn to bits in the European
War. Men from Poland, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Finland, Greece,
and Canada were in one group. One was a captain obtaining his first
citizenship papers. A young man from Poland had two brothers fighting with
Russia and another brother in a German prison camp. The whereabouts of
many of his relatives were unknown.
Camp Atterbury was proud
of its war dogs. These four-legged sentries were trained to guard
government property and had their own barracks in a special section of the
camp. Twenty-four dogs were received in April, 1943. They had been trained
at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, where U. R. Fishel, of Hope, Indiana,
well-known dog trainer, assisted in teaching the canine pupils. The Army
found that one dog with one man doing sentry duty could replace six men,
due to the dog's superior olfactory and auditory senses.
A dog's basic training lasted six weeks and taught him to be obedient to
his master at all times. Then came the "agitation" training for two weeks.
During this time the dog was taught to bite and fight in typical commando
style, all the while being obedient to the soldier holding the leash.
While on guard the canines were kept on leash all the time. The dogs were
donated to the service by their owners. Each had to be at least eighteen
inches high at the shoulders and weigh fifty pounds or more. No matter how
gentle a dog may have been, the trainers reported he would attack even his
former owner if the sentry holding the leash told him to do so.
S. Sgt. Jack Brodbeck supervised the work of the dogs and their trainers
at Atterbury. Capt. Vaughn E. Ishee, Atterbury veterinarian, was
responsible for keeping them in shape. A dispensary was built and equipped
for them. Three dogs, selected from the Atterbury kennels because of their
ability to "soldier," showed off their education by winning a trophy at
the Indianapolis Obedience Training Club's dog show in June, 1943. The
trainers of the three dogs were T/4 Russell Riley, T/3 George Chuzie, and
Pfc. John Farrell from the M. P. Section, 1560th Service Unit.
Day of Prayer
Camp Atterbury joined the
nation on New Year's Day, 1944, in observing a Day of Prayer which was
proclaimed by President Roosevelt. Special services were held throughout
the Post as soldiers of all faiths gathered to pray for victory during the
coming year. Post Commander Welton M. Modisette issued an order
re-questing all men who could be spared from organization duty to attend
services. They were given the time off. Services started at 6:45 A. M. and
continued until 7:45 P. M., with the majority being held at 1 P. M.
Detroit War Workers
War workers from Detroit
spent three days at Camp Atterbury in March, 1943, living and working with
the doughboys of the 83d Division. A few weeks later, a group of soldiers
from the camp were guests of the factories where these men worked. This
policy of exchanging visits was carried out all over the nation in order
to promote better understanding of the part each was playing in the war
The Austrian Battalion
On March 15, 1943, the
Columbus Evening Republican carried the following article: "For four
months publication of the formation at Camp Atterbury of an Austrian
battalion, center of a heated political controversy, was withheld, but now
the story is out." This was one of Atterbury's biggest stories, and
involved three Austrian archdukes serving as buck privates.
The Austrian battalion was under the command of Col. Vincent Conrad, a
graduate of West Point and a veteran soldier. It was a part of the Regular
U. S. Army, the same as the Czech and Norwegian battalions. Many of its
members had direct connections with the country of Austria; some were
political refugees; some were from lands that were once a part of Austria.
A number of them could speak as many as six different languages. Those who
were aliens were given an opportunity to become U. S. citizens after
serving in the army three months and proving themselves eligible.
Critics of the battalion's formation charged that it was being used as a
prestige builder for Otto of Hapsburg, pretender to the Austrian throne.
The men of the battalion discredited this. Many of them felt that once
freed from the Nazi yoke, Austria would find her salvation through
democracy. They thought they could be of great help to the United States
in an Army of Occupation. Three of Otto's brothers, Archdukes Felix, Carl
Ludwig, and Rudolph, joined the unit. They were sons of former Emperor
Charles, who was Austria's ruler at the close of World War I. After being
exiled, the royal family had lived intermittently in Belgium and France.
A meeting in New York City of Austrian friends "broke" the story that the
battalion was at Atterbury. The same article carried the announcement by
the Secretary of War that no more aliens would be sent to Camp Atterbury
unless they wished to volunteer for service in this particular battalion.
On June 16, 1943, the news came that the 101st Infantry Battalion,
Austrian, had been completely disbanded and its men assigned to other
Both soldiers and
civilians were asked to make suggestions that could help in any way with
their work. Many ideas were given. For those that were accepted, soldiers
received furloughs, recommendations for the Legion of Merit, letters of
commendation, and promotion preferment in assignment. Civilians received
In January, 1944, there was a contest at the camp called "Keep Mum." The
winning slogan was "Believe it or not—the dumb talk most." The prize,
$5.00 in war stamps, went to Corp. Leroy C. Brown.
Fire Prevention Award
Camp Atterbury won
Indiana's award for fire prevention. Governor Henry F. Schricker presented
an engraved plaque at the fire chiefs' annual banquet in Indianapolis on
March 14, 1944.
Gifts of Soldiers
The "Attaboys" as they
were often called, gave generously each year in every drive for money: the
Red Cross, the funds to combat infantile paralysis and cancer,
tuberculosis seals, and for captured Americans. In January, 1944, the
117th Infantry donated $1,000 for captured Americans; in February, 1944,
they gave $1,731.74 to the March of Dimes. Bond sales at the Post that
month were $21,225. In April, 1944, the Red Cross drive netted $10,349. In
January, 1946, the camp raised $24,807.73 for infantile paralysis.
Atterbury fighting men, from colonels to privates, answered the Red Cross
call for blood donors in a record breaking manner.
Ernie Pyle Parade
The 798th M. P. Battalion
from Camp Atterbury led the parade in Indianapolis in July, 1945, in honor
of the late Ernie Pyle. Carrying the Stars and Stripes and the green and
gold banner of the Military Police Corps, they marched at the head of the
parade as it started toward the reviewing stand. The parade heralded the
opening of the picture, "GI Joe," filmed from Ernie's dispatches from the
The end of 1946 brought
the closing of Camp Atterbury. The reception center and Wakeman hospital
were the last to go. The prison camp, the reception station, and
separation center had all closed earlier in the year.
Early in the summer of 1946 an intercity organization, composed of
representatives from near-by towns, was formed to carry on a campaign to
have Camp Atterbury retained as a full scale military training camp. The
answer from the War Department was that its future status depended on the
size of the postwar army which in turn depended on Congressional action.
The desire for its retention did not necessarily represent a change of
heart among the residents of the community who had opposed its
construction. There were many who desired its retention for economic and
business reasons. Among others, the general feeling was that since the
camp was there it was better to have it used than to stand idle. If it
could revert back to farm land, that would be a different matter.
Various suggestions were made for its future use. Governor Ralph Gates
sent a cable to the United Nations Preparatory Commission in London
proposing the site for the capital of the United Nations. Representative
Earl Wilson of the Ninth Indiana District suggested in Congress that it be
used as a college for war veterans. The Veterans Administration explored
its possibilities for use by their organization and Governor Gates asked
for the hospital's release to the state as a place to care for the
overflow of patients at the mental hospitals. The Federal Government was
reluctant to give up control of the camp other than to permit its use by
the Indiana National Guard as a training center. A plan was worked out for
the Guard to establish headquarters at the camp by the end of 1946.
In the meantime a surplus property depot had been set up early in 1946 and
sales of clothing and equipment mounted as the year wore on. Sales were
handled through the office of the War Assets Administration in Cincinnati
and deliveries were made from the depot on orders from Cincinnati. In
October, 1946, $1,926,000 worth of goods was sold. This included clothing,
typewriters and other office equipment, jeeps, trucks, automobiles, etc.
None of the buildings, other than those in the prisoner of war center,
were offered for sale until 1947.
Except for the summer training of National Guard units, the camp remained
on a stand-by basis until the Korean crisis. In the late summer of 1950 it
was reactivated as a full-time training center for the Pennsylvania
ROSTER OF UNITS ARRIVING
AND DEPARTING FROM CAMP ATTERBURY (1)
August 1942 to March 1945
Headquarters, 8th Detachment, Special Troops, Second Army. Activated
1 Sep. 1942. Inactivated 28 June 1944. Commanding officer Col. R. C.
Stickney, Lieut. Col. C. E. Davis, Lieut. Co. E. A. Franklin, Col.
Richard-son L. Greene.
8th General Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Transferred to Shtick General
Hospital, Clinton, Iowa, 25 Feb. 1943. Com. officer, Col. E. B. Miller.
9th Tank Destroyer Group, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
Arrived 30 Aug. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 24 Mar. 1944. Co.
officer, Col. W. M. Hutson, Lieut. Co. W. L. Herold, Col. Lansing McVicker.
11th Ordnance Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment. Arrived
20 July 1943. Departed for maneuvers at Nashville, Tenn., 17 Nov. 1943.
Com. officers, Lieut. Col. William Northcross.
13th Finance Disbursing Company. Arrived July 1943. Departed for over-seas
duty 7 Aug. 1943. Com. officer, Maj. E. L. Dlugersky.
16th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, Battery A. Arrived 28 May
1943. Attached to 83d Infantry Division for 1 month. Departed for Camp
McCoy, Wis., 25 June 1943. Com. officer, Capt. Cameron.
18th Hospital Center. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942. Redesignated 317th Station
Hospital 1 Apr. 1943.
18th Signal Service Section. Arrived July 1942. Disbanded 31 Jan. 1943 and
Signal Section, 1560th S. U. activated same date. Transferred to Hq. and
Hq. Section, 1560th S. U. 1 Max. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Taylor C. Smith.
22d Quartermaster Regiment, Company K. Arrived 1 July 1942. Departed for
Fort Devens, Mass., 12 Sep. 1942. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. J. G. Sheehan.
24th Ordnance M. M. Company. Arrived 20 Oct. 1942. Departed for over-seas
duty 4 Jan. 1943. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Guy E. Warner.
27th Medical Depot Company. Activated 10 Sep. 1943. Departed for over-seas
duty 3 Jan. 1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Carrol C. Barrick.
28th Medical Depot Company. Activated 25 Sep. 1943. Departed for over-seas
duty 10 Apr. 1944. Mailing address changed at later date to Camp Pickett,
Va. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Lyman J. Clark.
30th Infantry Division ("Old Hickory"). Arrived 7 Nov. 1943, Departed for
overseas duty 30 Jan. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs;
assistant commander, William K. Harrison, Jr.; artillery commander, Brig.
Gen. John E. Lewis.
30th Signal Construction Battalion. Activated 16 Sep. 1942. Departed for
overseas duty 20 Apr. 1943. Com. officers, Maj. William E. Appleton and
Lieut. Col. Clyde E. Banks.
31st Signal Construction Battalion. Activated 16 Sep. 1942. Departed for
overseas duty 17 Sep. 1943. Com. officers, Lieut. Col. Paul A. Pickhardt
and Lieut. Col. William A. Joyce.
35th Evacuation Hospital. Activated 30 Aug. 1942. Departed for maneuver
area, Camp Tyson, Tenn., 14 June 1943. Departed for overseas duty from
maneuvers 1 Mar. 1944. Com. officers, Maj. James B. Seaman, CoL Clifford
36th Portable Surgical Hospital. Activated 7 June 1943. Departed for
overseas duty 18 Mar. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Maurice L. Zox.
39th Evacuation Hospital. Activated 30 Aug. 1942. Departed for maneuver
area, Camp Forrest, Tenn., 7 June 1943. Departed for overseas 1 Mar.
1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Allen N. Bracher.
41st Engineer Regiment, Co. F. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942. Transferred to Fort
Bragg, N. C., 20 Oct. 1942. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. I. H. Ferdinand Hahn.
42nd Signal Construction Battalion. Activated 15 Aug. 1943. Departed for
Camp Van Dorn, Miss., 30 Mar. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Bernard H. Vollrath.
42d Provisional Prisoner of War Detachment. Arrived 10 Dec. 1943.
De-parted to join 729th Military Police Battalion, Oakwood Country Club,
Cleveland, Ohio, 15 Dec. 1943. Com. officer, Capt. Eugene T. Richards.
44th Evacuation Hospital. Arrived 30 Aug. 1942. Transferred to Fort Dix,
N. J., 24 July 1943. Cam. officer, Lieut. Col. Elmer A. Lodmell.
44th WAAC Post Headquarters Company. Arrived 6 Mar. 1943. Disbanded and
personnel assigned to Hq. Section, 3561st S. U., 22 May 1943. Com.
officer, Capt. Helen Grote.
49th Field Hospital. Activated 10 Sep. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 9
Feb. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Oliver A. Brommer.
50th Field Hospital. Activated 10 Sep. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 9
Feb 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Leon D. Blumberg.
53d Coast Artillery Band. Arrived 24 May 1944. Redesignated as 82d AGF
Band on arrival. Departed for Fort Knox, Ky., 24 July 1944. Com. officer,
CWO Oscar L. Nutter.
55th Field Hospital. Arrived 25 Feb. 1944. Departed for overseas duty 13
Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. C. P. Harrington. Formerly the 234th
56th Field Hospital. Arrived 25 Feb. 1944. Departed for overseas duty 13
Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. William F. Coughlin. Formerly the
236th Station Hospital.
56th Ordnance H. M. Regiment (Q), Co. M. Activated 2 Sep. 1942.
Re-designated 895th Ordnance Battalion 31 Oct. 1942. Com. officer, Lieut.
Walter A. Weisert.
57th Chemical Maintenance Company. Arrived 29 Nov. 1943. Transferred to
Camp McCoy, Wis., 1 Dec. 1943. Com. officer, Capt. Leland W. VanDenburgh,
62d General Hospital. Arrived 10 Sep. 1943. Transferred to Lawson General
Hospital, Atlanta, Ga., 15 Oct. 1943. Com. officer, Maj. F. E. Cressman.
72d General Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Inactivated and reorganized
as 228th Station Hospital, 24 June 1943. Com. officer, Col. Milton I.
73d General Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Inactivated and reorganized
as 231st Station Hospital, 24 June 1943. Com. officer, Col. Linwood M.
74th General Hospital. Activated 31 Aug. 1942. Departed for POE, New
Orleans, La., 31 Oct. 1942. Com. officer, Col. Hyman I. Teperson.
74th Army Ground Forces Band. Arrived 23 Sep. 1943. Redesignated as 196th
AGF Band 10 Jan. 1944. Com. officer, CWO Howard F. Balden. 75th General
Hospital. Activated 31 Aug. 1942. Departed for POE, New Orleans, La., 31
Oct. 1942. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. John B. Chester. 75th Ordnance M. M.
Company. Arrived 15 Aug. 1942. Departed for maneuver area, Nashville,
Tenn., 5 Apr. 1943. Mailing address was Camp Forrest, Tenn., 10 Apr. 1944.
Com. officer, Capt. Smoot.
75th Quartermaster Company. Arrived 15 Jan. 1943. Departed for Fort
Leonard Wood, Mo., 10 Mar. 1943. Com. officer, Capt. L. M. Nash. 82d Army
Ground Forces Band. Arrived 24 May 1944. Departed for Fort Knox, Ky., 24
July 1944. Com. officer, CWO Oscar L. Nutter. Formerly the 53d Coast
83d Infantry Division. Activated 15 Aug. 1942. Departed to maneuver area,
Nashville, Tenn., 14 June 1943. Permanent change to Camp Breckinridge,
Ky., 28 Aug. 1943. Com. general, Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn. Assistant
commander, Btig. Gen. Robert C. Macon; artillery commander, Brig. Gen.
Robert M. Montague.
85th Ordnance M. M. Battalion (Q), Co. C. Arrived 16 Sep. 1942.
Redesignated 3479th Ordnance M. M. Co. (Q) 11 Nov. 1942. Com. officer,
Lieut. Ralph R. Bremers.
85th Field Hospital. Arrived 15 Nov. 1944. Departed for overseas duty
11 Jan. 1945. Com. officer, Maj. Ray G. Ikins and Maj. John G. Zoll.
100th Quartermaster Bakery Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment. Arrived 4 Sep. 1942. Departed for maneuver area, Camp
For-rest, Tenn., 12 June 1943. Departed for Camp Shelby, Miss., 17 Mar.
1944. Com. officer, Maj. Harry W. McCormick.
100th Quartermaster Bakery Battalion, Co. C. Arrived 4 Sep. 1942.
De-parted for maneuver area in Tennessee 12 June 1943. Redesignated 130th
Quartermaster Bakery Co. while on maneuvers. Com. officer, Lieut.
101st Infantry Battalion (Sep.). Arrived 15 Dec. 1942. Organization
disbanded 25 May 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Vincent J. Conrad.
106th Infantry Division. Arrived 27 Mar. 1944. Departed for overseas duty
13 Oct. 1944. Com. Gen., Maj. General Alan W. Jones; assistant commander,
Brig. Gem Herbert T. Perrin; artillery commander, Brig. Gen. Leo T.
112th Automatic Anti-Aircraft Group. Arrived 8 June 1943. Departed for
Camp Campbell, Ky., 20 June 1943. Com. officer, Col. Joe D. Moss.
112th Station Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Departed for Fort Jackson,
S. C., 25 Oct. 1942. Corn. officers, Maj. Zaven M. Sedon and Lieut. Col.
113th Station Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Departed to Camp Chaffee,
Ark., 31 Oct. 1942. Com. officers, Maj. Clark M. Dougherty and Col. Carl
115th Station Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Departed to Fort Devens,
Mass., 1 Nov. 1942. Com. officers, Capt. Horton E. Hughes and Maj. D.
118th Station Hospital. Activated 20 Dec. 1942. Departed for overseas duty
11 July 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. William H. Huntington. 122d
Ordnance M. M. Company. Arrived 16 Mar. 1943. Departed for over-seas 18
Mar. 1944. Commanding officer, Capt. Donald P. Armstrong.
134th Field Artillery Battalion. Arrived 20 July 1944. Departed for
Swannanoa, N. C., Moore General Hospital, 26 Aug. 1944. Com. officer,
Lieut. Col. Rex K. Miller.
141st Ordnance Battalion. Activated 19 Mar. 1943. Departed for maneuver
area 7 Nov. 1943. Permanent station Camp Breckinridge, Ky., 26 Aug. 1944.
Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Wayne A. Townsend.
164th Topographic Company. Attached to 83d Infantry Division for temporary
duty. Departed for Camp Campbell, Ky., 17 June 1943.
184th Field Artillery
Depot. Arrived Sep. 1942. Departed for Fort Custer, Mich., 19 Dec. 1942.
Com. officer, 2d Lieut. Edward W. Waxman.
193d Signal Repair Company. Arrived Sep. 1944. Departed for Camp Shelby,
Miss., 6 Oct. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. F. M. Dertzbaugh.
196th Army Ground Forces Band. Arrived 23 Sep. 1943 as 74th AGF Band.
Redesignated 10 Jan. 1944. Departed for Fort Knox, Ky., 8 June 1944. Com.
officer, CWO Howard F. Balden.
202d Provisional M. P. Detachment. Arrived 10 Dec. 1943 and absorbed by
30th Infantry Division M. P. Platoon. Com. officer, Lieut. Charles W.
206th Quartermaster Gas Supply Battalion, Co. D. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942.
Departed to Compton, Calif., 23 Feb. 1943. Com. officer, 2d Lieut. Leroy
210th Ordnance Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
Activated 14 Apr. 1944. Departed to Camp Breckinridge, Ky., 29 June 1944.
Com. officer, Maj. Arthur E. Kehke.
227th Army Ground Forces Band. Arrived 18 Nov. 1943 as Regimental Band,
366th Infantry. Redesignated 18 Jan. 1944. Departed to Camp Breckinridge,
Ky., 5 Apr. 1944. Com. officer, WOJG William H. Graham.
228th Station Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1942 as 72d General Hospital.
Redesignated 24 June 1943. Departed for overseas duty 7 July 1943. Com.
officer, Col. Milton I. Strahl.
231st Station Hospital. Activated 1 Sep. 1943 as 73d General Hospital.
Redesignated 24 June 1943. Departed for overseas duty 13 Dec. 1943. Com.
officer, Lieut. Col. Linwood M. Gable.
237th Station Hospital. Activated 25 Feb. 1943. Transferred to Stark
General Hospital, Charleston, S. C. Personnel and equipment transferred to
182d Station Hospital, Camp Breckinridge, Ky., 24 June 1943. Com. officer,
249th Quartermaster Service Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment, Cos. C and D. Arrived 25 Aug. 1942. Departed for overseas duty
16 Apr. 1943. Com. officer, Maj. John C. Strickland.
257th Signal Construction Company. Arrived Sep. 1942. Departed for Camp
Forrest, Tenn., 17 Nov. 1942. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Lowell T. Ottinger.
261st Quartermaster Service Battalion. Arrived Sep. 1942. Departed for Hq.
Command U. S. Army C. P. E., Charleston, S. C., 1 Oct. 1942. Com. officer,
1st Lieut. Odell B. Lamb
264th M P. Company. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Departed for Jackson Bar-racks,
New Orleans, La., 14 Feb. 1943. Com. officer, Capt. Otto E. Lindgrin.
271st Ordnance M. M. Company. Arrived 28 Aug. 1944. Departed to Fort
Jackson, S. C., 16 Oct. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. Thomas Fleming.
301st Signal Operations Battalion. Arrived 2 Nov. 1943. Departed for over-
seas duty 14 Feb. 1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. G. G. Harwell.306th
Quartermaster Railhead Company. Activated 12 Mar. 1943. Departed for
maneuvers 22 July 1943. Departed for overseas duty 18 Nov. 1943. Com.
officer, Capt. Ralph M. Newman.
308th Quartermaster Railhead Company. Arrived 7 July 1943. Departed for
overseas duty 18 Nov. 1943. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Robert D. Crow. 317th
Station Hospital. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942 as 18th Hospital Center.
Re-designated 1 Apr. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 12 Dec. 1943. Com.
officer, Lieut. Col. John A. Tamisiea.
329th Quartermaster Depot. Activated 1 Sep. 1942. Departed for overseas
duty 15 Apr. 1943. Com. officer, Capt. George W. Day.
338th Engineer Regiment. Activated 4 Sep. 1942. Departed for Camp
Claiborne, La., 14 Nov. 1942. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Corman L. Hahn.
349th Ordnance Maintenance Company. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942 as Co. E, 522d
Ordnance H. M. Regiment. Redesignated 31 Oct. 1942. Departed for maneuver
area, Nashville, Tenn., 30 Aug. 1943. Permanent station, Camp Campbell,
Ky., 12 Nov. 1943. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Allan F. Rowley.
365th Infantry Regiment, 92d Division. Activated 10 Sep. 1942. Departed
for Fort Huachuca, Ariz., 26 Apr. 1943. Com. officers, Col. W. A. Elliott
and Col. Chester M. Willingham.
366th Infantry Regiment. Arrived 17 Nov. 1943. Departed for overseas duty
18 Mar. 1944. Com. officer, Col. Howard D. Queen.
375th Engineer Depot. Arrived Oct. 1942. Departed for Fort Knox., Ky., 14
Dec. 1942. Com. officer, 2d Lieut. Matthew J. Pacifico.
377th Ordnance H. A. M. Company. Activated 30 Mar. 1944. Departed for Camp
Breckinridge, Ky , 29 June 1944. Com. officer, Capt. Howard B. Hueftlein.
379th Quartermaster Truck Depot. Arrived 3 May 1943. Departed for maneuver
area 28 Aug. 1943. Permanent station, Camp Rucker, Ala., 1 Oct. 1943.
Changed to 828th Amphibious Truck Co. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Joseph G.
381st Engineer Battalion. To 382d Engineer Battalion, Fort Knox., Ky.,
414th M. P. Escort Guard Company. Arrived May 1943. Departed to Fort Knox,
Ky., 7 Feb. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. Robert J. Brown.
417th Ordnance L. M. Company. Activated 14 Apr. 1944. Departed for Camp
Campbell, Ky., 1 July 1944. Changed to 417th Evacuation Co. Com. officer,
Capt. Ralph W. Gundwaldsen.
428th M. P. Escort Guard Company. Arrived Apr. 1943. Departed for Fort
Custer, Mich., 24 Jan. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. George Newbert.
428th Medical Ambulance Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment. Activated 10 Apr. 1943. Departed for maneuver area, Nashville,
Tenn., 22 Nov. 1943. Permanent station Camp Gordon, Ga., 29 Feb. 1944.
Departed for overseas duty 2 Apr. 1944. Companies A to C redesignated
587th to 589th Medical Ambulance companies. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. C.
429th M. P. Escort Guard Company. Arrived Apr. 1943. Transferred to
Headquarters, 1537th Service Unit. Com. officer, Capt. Robert L. Tate.
452d Coast Artillery Automatic Anti-Aircraft Battalion. Arrived Jan. 1943.
Departed for Fort Sheridan, Ill., 2 Apr. 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col.
Raymond C. Cheal.
453d M. P. Escort Guard Company. Arrived 15 Apr. 1944. Departed for
Embarkation 22 May 1944. Com. officer, Capt Alfred C. Johnson.
457th Engineer Depot Company. Arrived Dec. 1942. Departed for maneuver
area, Nashville, Tenn., 24 Mar. 1943. Permanent station Camp Forrest,
Tenn., 10 Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. Seward B. Wood.
489th Quartermaster Depot. Departed for Camp Campbell, Ky., 1942.
522d Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Regiment (Q) Co. E. Arrived 1 Sep. 1942.
Redesignated 349th Ordnance Maintenance Co., 31 Oct. 1942. Com. officer,
Lieut. Jack D. Templin.
535th Coast Artillery Automatic Anti-Aircraft Battalion. Arrived May 1943.
Departed for Camp Davis, N. C., 24 June 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col.
William H. Francis.
537th Coast Artillery Battalion (Anti-Aircraft). Arrived Apr. 1943.
De-parted for Fort Jackson, S. C., 3 May 1943; then to maneuver area 13
July 1943. Departed for overseas duty 1 Sep. 1944. Com. officer, Maj. Beo
569th Quartermaster Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
Activated 14 Aug. 1943. Reorganized 1 Nov. 1943. Departed for Camp
Breckinridge, Ky., 3 Nov. 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Charles Shons.
574th Quartermaster Railhead Company. Arrived May 1943. Departed for
maneuver area, Nashville, Tenn., 18 Sep. 1943. Permanent station Camp
Shelby, Miss., 21 Feb. 1944. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Ralph F. Nichols.
577th M. P. Escort Guard Company. Arrived 22 Jan. 1944. Transferred to
Headquarters, 1537th Service Unit, 13 Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Capt.
587th Medical Ambulance Company (Motor Separate). Arrived 10 Apr. 1943.
Departed for maneuver area 22 Nov. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 14
Feb. 1944. Com. officer, Capt. Francis T. Krause. Redesignated from Co. A,
428th Medical Ambulance Battalion.
588th Medical Ambulance Company (Motor Separate). Arrived 10 Apr. 1943.
Departed for maneuver area 22 Nov. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 14
Feb. 1944. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Jolley. Redesignated from Co. B, 428th
Medical Ambulance Battalion.
589th Medical Ambulance Company (Motor Separate). Arrived 10 Apr. 1943.
Departed for maneuver area 22 Nov. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 14
Feb. 1944. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. Yates. Redesignated from Co. C, 428th
Medical Ambulance Battalion.597th Field Artillery Battalion, 92d Division.
Arrived 10 Sep. 1942. De-parted for Fort Huachuca, Ariz., 26 Apr. 1943.
Com. officer, Maj. Workizer.
608th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Arrived 9 June 1943. Organization
disbanded 18 Dec. 1943. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Howard H. Arbury.
610th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Arrived 11 Nov. 1943. Departed for over-
seas duty 29 Mar. 1944. Com. officer, Lieut. Col. William L. Herold.
673d Engineer Topographic Company. Arrived Mar. 1943. Departed for
maneuver area, Nashville, Tenn., 20 Aug. 1943. Permanent station Camp
Campbell, Ky., 22 Nov. 1943.
717th Railway Operation Battalion. Arrived 5 Apr. 1944. Departed for Camp
Thomas A. Scott, Fort Wayne, Ind., 14 Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Maj.
721st Railway Operation Battalion, Company A. Arrived 2 Nov. 1943.
De-parted for Fort Sam Houston, Tex., 29 Nov. 1943. Com. officer, Capt.
721st Railway Operation Battalion, Headquarters and Companies C & D.
Arrived 2 Nov. 1943. Departed for overseas duty 29 Nov. 1943. Com.
officer, Lieut. Col. Emanuel.
729th M. P. Battalion. Arrived 28 Nov. 1944.
730th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company. See 30th Division of which it
was a part.
735th M. P. Battalion. Arrived 25 Oct. 1943. Departed 18 Dec. 1943. 737th
M. P. Battalion. Arrived 29 Oct. 1943. Departed 29 Nov. 1943.
749th Medical Sanitary Company. Arrived 26 Apr. 1943. Departed 15 Nov.
750th Medical Sanitary Company. Arrived 26 Apr. 1943. Departed 8 Oct.
751st Medical Sanitary Company. Arrived 26 Apr. 1943. Departed 8 Oct.
755th Railway Shop Battalion. Arrived 9 Oct 1943. Departed 20 Nov. 1943.
772d Tank Battalion. Arrived 1 Apr. 1944. Departed 21 Sep. 1944. 773d Tank
Destroyer Battalion. Arrived 11 Apr. 1943. Departed 12 Jan.
783d Ordnance Maintenance Company. Arrived 1942.
797th Medical Sanitary Company. Arrived 25 June 1943. Departed 18 Oct.
798th M. P. Battalion. Arrived 15 Mar. 1945.
806th Ordnance Company. See 106th Division of which it was a part.
822d Tank Destroyer Battalion. Arrived 5 Aug. 1944. Departed 17 Sep. 1944.
895th Ordnance H. A. M. Battalion. Activated 2 Sep. 1942 as 56th Ordnance
H. M. Regiment (Q), Co. M.; redesignated 31 Oct. 1942. Departed 18 Oct.
1943. Serviced and repaired motor vehicles for 8th Detachment.
908th Field Artillery
Battalion. See 83d Division of which it was a part.
963d Ordnance H. A. M. Company. Arrived 15 May 1944. Departed 2 July 1944.
979th Quartermaster Service Company. Arrived 14 Aug. 1943. Departed 1 Nov.
980th Quartermaster Service Company. Arrived Aug. 1943. Departed 1 Nov.
981st Quartermaster Service Company. Arrived Aug. 1943. Departed 3 Nov.
982d Quartermaster Service Company. Arrived Aug. 1943. Departed 3 Nov.
Provisional Training Regiment, Aviation, Corps of M. P. Arrived 6 Oct.
1943. Departed 1 Jan. 1944.
1219th M. P. Aviation Company. Arrived 6 Nov. 1943. Departed 14 Jan. 1944.
1220th M. P. Aviation Company. Arrived 6 Oct. 1943. Departed 12 Nov. 1943.
1231st M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1232d M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1233d M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1234th M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1235th M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1236th M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1237th M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1238th M. P. Aviation
Company. Arrived 6 Oct. 1943. Departed 21 Jan. 1944.
1239th M. P. Aviation Company. Arrived 6 Oct. 1943. Departed 7 Feb. 1944.
1240th M. P. Aviation Company. Arrived 6 Oct. 1943. Departed 12 Jan. 1944.
1241st M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1242d M. P. Aviation Company. Same dates.
1506th Service Unit, School for Bakers and Cooks. Arrived July 1942. Re-
designated from 1562d Service Unit. Transferred to Fort Knox, Ky.
Detachment at Camp Atterbury under command of Capt. David H. Baker. 1512th
Service Unit, Fifth Service Command Motor Pool. Arrived 16 Nov.
1944. Redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit, Motor Pool, 1 Feb.
1534th Service Unit, Reception Center. Arrived 1 Sep. 1944. Redesignated
1560th Service Command Unit, Reception Center, 1 Feb. 1945.
1537th Service Unit. Activated 1 Dec. 1943. Redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Prisoner of War Camp, 1 Feb. 1945.
1558th Service Unit. Activated 9 Nov. 1944. Redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Reception Station No. 6, 1 Feb. 1945.
Chemical Warfare Service Station, Engineer Supply, and Finance Sections,
1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Inactivated 1 Mar. 1944 and
personnel transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Section, 1560th
Headquarters Section, 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Inactivated
1 Mar. 1944 and personnel transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters
Section, 1560th Service Unit. Redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit,
Station Complement, Headquarters Section, 1 Feb. 1945.
WAC Section, 1560th Service Unit. Arrived 6 Mar. 1943 as 44th WAAC Post
Headquarters Co.; disbanded and personnel assigned to Headquarters and
Headquarters Section, 3561st Service Unit, 22 May 1943; latter was
inactivated 7 Oct. 1943 and redesignated Headquarters Detachment, 1560th
Service Unit, WAC Headquarters Detachment; redesignated WAC Section,
1560th Service Unit, 27 Oct. 1943; redesignated 1560th Service Command
Unit, Station Complement, WAC Section, 1 Feb. 1945.
WAC Medical Section, 1560th Service Unit. Arrived 22 May 1943.
Redesignated from 3561st Service Unit, WAC Medical Section, 27 Oct. 1943;
redesignated 3547th WAC Section, 5 Apr. 1944; redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Wakeman General Hospital, WAC Section I, 1 Feb. 1945;
redesignated 21st WAC Hospital Co., 1 Mar. 1945.
Medical Section (W), 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Redesignated
Medical Section 1, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Dec. 1943; redesignated Medical
Section, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Mar. 1944; latter inactivated 1 May 1944
and personnel transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Section, 1560th
Medical Section (C), 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Redesignated
Medical Section II, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Dec. 1943; redesignated Medical
Section, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Mar. 1944; latter inactivated 1 May 1944
and personnel transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Section, 1560th
M. P. Section (W), 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Redesignated as
M. P. Section I, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Dec. 1943; redesignated M. P.
Section, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Mar. 1944. Redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Station Complement, M. P. Section, 1 Feb. 1945.
M. P. Section (C), 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Redesignated M.
P. Section II, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Dec. 1943; this inactivated and
redesignated M. P. Section, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Mar. 1944.
Quartermaster and Service Sections, 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July
1942. Redesignated Quartermaster and Service Section, 1560th Service Unit,
1 Mar. 1944; latter inactivated 12 June 1944 and personnel transferred to
Headquarters and Headquarters Section, 1560th Service Unit.
Ordnance Section, 1560th Service Unit. Arrived July 1942. Transferred to
Headquarters and Headquarters Section, 1560th Service Unit, 1 Mar. 1944.
1560th Service Command
Unit (1 Feb. 1945) included:
Station Complement, Headquarters Section, Com. officer, Capt. Harry
Station Complement, M. P. Section, Com. officer, Capt W. H. Howard;
Station Complement, WAC Section, Com. officer, Lieut. Eleanor Laing; Motor
Pool, Com. officer, Capt. Farris D. Burton; War Dept. Personnel Center,
Com. officer, Col. Bert S. Wampler; Reception Center, Com. officer, Lieut.
Col. Carroll D. Funk; Prisoner of War Camp, Com. officer, Col. John L.
Gammell; Reception Station No. 6 Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Donovan McGee;
Special Training Unit, Com. officer, Lieut. Col. Lysle W. Croft;
Separation Center, Com. officer, Lieut. Col. John E. Brannan;
Packing Squad, Com. officer, Capt. Louis T. Alexander; Wakeman Hospital
Center, Com. officer, Col. Frank L. Cole; Wakeman General Hospital, Com.
officer, Col. Harry F. Becker; Wakeman Convalescent Hospital, Com.
officer, Col. Charles T. Young; Medical Dept. Enlisted 1 echnicians
School. Commandant, Col. Frank L.
Cole; assistance commandant, Col. Humphrey C. Ervin.
1562d Service Unit, School for Bakers and Cooks. Arrived July 1942.
Disbanded 10 July 1942 and personnel transferred to 1506th Service Unit,
School for Bakers and Cooks, Fort Knox, Ky., with detached service at Camp
1584th Special Training Unit. Arrived 2 Nov. 1943. Redesignated 1560th
Service Command Unit, Special Training Unit, 1 Feb. 1945.
1585th Service Unit Activated 15 Oct. 1944. Redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Separation Center, 1 Feb. 1945.
1596th Service Unit, Packing Squad. Activated 12 Apr. 1943. Redesignated
1560th Service Command Unit, Packing Squad, 1 Feb. 1945.
3430th Ordnance Company. Arrived 1942. Departed to Camp Carson, Colo., 15
3479th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company. Activated 16 Sep. 1942.
Departed for maneuver area, Nashville, Tenn., 20 Apr. 1943. Later mail-ing
address, Camp Forrest, Tenn. Com. officer, 1st Lieut. James P. McCarthy.
3532d Ordnance Battalion. Arrived 12 Apr. 1943. Departed for overseas duty
25 Jan. 1944. Com. officer, Capt Herbert J. Grunke.
3545th Service Unit. Activated 20 July 1944. Redesignated 1560th Service
Command Unit, Medical Department Enlisted Technicians School, 1 Feb. 1945.
3547th Service Unit, WAC Section. See WAC Medical Section, 1560th Service
3547th Service Unit, Detachment Medical Department. Activated 5 Apr. 1944.
Redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit, Wakeman General Hospital,
Medical Section, 1 Feb. 1945.
3555th Service Unit, Casual Company. Activated 1 June 1943. Inactivated 15
July 1944. Com. officer, Capt Albert W. Gudal.
3561st Service Unit, WAC Headquarters Section. Arrived 6 Mar. 1943 as 44th
WAAC Post Headquarters Co., and redesignated 22 May 1943. Redesignated as
1560th Service Unit, WAC Headquarters Detachment, 7 Oct. 1943;
redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit, Station Complement, WAC Section,
1 Feb. 1945.
3561st Service Unit, WAC Medical Section. Arrived 22 May 1943.
Re-designated 1560th Service Unit, WAC Medical Detachment, 27 Oct 1943.
9266th Cadre. Arrived July 1943. Departed to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., 9
Detachment of Patients, Wakeman General Hospital. Activated 5 Apr. 1944.
Redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit, Wakeman General Hospital,
Patients Section, 1 Feb. 1945.
Wakeman General Hospital. Activated 5 Apr. 1944. Com. officer, Col.
Haskett L. Conner. Redesignated 1560th Service Command Unit, Wake-man
General and Convalescent Hospital, 1 Feb. 1945.
ROSTER OF UNITS ARRIVING AFTER MARCH, 1945
54th WAC Company. Arrived 1946.
80th Field Hospital Company. Arrived late in 1945; redesignated 279th
General Hospital Company, Dec. 1945.
108th WAC Company. Arrived 1946.
3597th Service Command Unit, formerly part of 1560th SCU, of Wakeman
hospital's technician and reconditioning section, 1946.
Wakeman General and Convalescent Hospital. Activated 1 Feb. 1945;
continued under this title until 20 Apr. 1945.
Wakeman Hospital Center. Activated 20 Apr. 1945; continued until Dec. 1945
when the Wakeman General Hospital was reactivated and continued until Dec.
E. J. Kahn, Jr., and Henry McLeinore, Fighting Divisions (Washing-ton, D.
C., 1945) , 102-4.
Kahn and McLeinore, Fighting Divisions, 122-23.
See Robert L. Hewitt, Work Horse of
the Western Front, The Story of the 30th Infantry Division (Infantry
Journal Press, Washington, D. C., 1946).
(4) Kahn and McLeinore, Fighting Divisions, 148-49; Combat Divisions of
World War II (War Department, ).
A portion of the material presented in this chapter is from the official
record of the internment camp in the Kansas City Army Records Center.
newspaper was printed on the Star presses, the Star doing all composition
and press work and furnishing all newsprint and providing all costs of
publication, except engravings which were paid for by the Army. All
editorial matter and news and art work were provided by the public
relations office of Camp Atterbury, which had all responsibility for news
content and proof reading. The Star received as its only compensation all
advertising revenue. At the highest point over 36,000 copies were printed.
Letter from Robert A. Todd of the Franklin Star to the Historical Bureau,
April 28, 1948.
(8) From The
Atterbury Crier, September 10, 1942.
Copied from Camp Atterbury Official Records at the Kansas City Records
Center, 1946. The list appeared in an abbreviated form in the Camp Crier,
June 2, 1945.