Camp Haan and Camp Irwin (PDF)



32 pages
Extensive, ever-growing Camp Haan, in Riverside County, California, some sixty-five miles from Los Angeles, has become the largest anti-aircraft artillery training center in the nation and the growth has taken place in little more than a year. It was early in 1942 – shortly after Pearl Harbor, when Haan was activated into an anti-aircraft artillery training center. Today, it can claim first place in size of all similar camps in the United States. Here soldiers are born. In an amazingly short time, officers mold civilians into hard-fighting and accurate-firing anti-aircraft gunners. In a few weeks men who were office workers, students, cigar store clerks, aircraft workers, elevator boys, movie actors, and followers of a hundred other occupations and professions are trained to shoot and bayonet and march, and become ready to serve alongside all branches of the service in any part of the world. As the new soldier assimilates the fundamentals of movement, of firing, of living in the field, of camouflaging, of becoming a fighting unit, he is hardened physically as well. But there is more to training than just work. Soldiers play, too. Many of the pictures in this booklet will show soldiers as they relax and enjoy shows and motion pictures; as they skate, swim, dance, sing and play ball; as they attend church, as they lounge in their day room and their service clubs and entertain Sunday visitors. For the Army has great faith in the adage which says that all work and no play makes Jack a dull soldier. This huge California camp was named after Genera! William George Haan, commander of one of the most famous divisions of the last war – the 32nd. General Haan commanded the 32nd from its forma tion at Waco, Texas in September, 1917, and directed its activities when it sailed to France and saw action in four fronts: At Alsace; on the Aisne-Marne front; during Germany’s big push; at Chateau-Thierry, and in the Argonne. Today, in 1943, the spirit of General Haan is carried on in the person of Major General Homer R. Oldfield, who is commanding officer of the Anti-aircraft Artillery Training Center at Haan. General Oldfield spent three years in charge of antiaircraft defenses of the vital Panama Canal Zone before being assigned to the Southern California camp, forwhich he was recently awarded the Legion of Merit. He and his capable staff are turning out first rate fighting men who will play a decisive role in winning this greatest of wars. Colonel Charles H. Mason, who has seen battle action in four theaters of war and has carried out many a military diplomatic mission during his more than forty years in the Service, has been commanding officer of Camp Haan since early in 1942. When the final battle of this War of Survival is fought and won for the United Nations, a significant part will have been played by thousands of men who first received their training in warfare at Camp Haan, Riverside County, California.