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Camp Cooke

Camp Cooke (120.53W 34.79N) was a U.S. Army division camp in the coastal mountains of southern California. Land in the area was purchased between March and September 1941 and the still uncompleted camp was activated on 5 October. Construction of facilities continued well into 1942. By June 1944 the camp had an area of 88,803 acres (35,937 hectares) and barracks for 2346 officers and 35,288 men. Curiously, almost none of the troops that passed through the camp were ever deployed to the Pacific.

The camp quartered a significant number of Italian and German prisoners of war. With the Italian capitulation in September 1943, many of the Italian POWs volunteered to work for the U.S. Army as unarmed service troops, while the German POWs were assigned to agricultural work in the surrounding communities.

Postwar, Camp Cooke became Cooke Air Force Base and then Vandenberg Air Force Base.

American engineer units arriving at Camp Cooke

1138 Engineer Combat Group     
Arrived 1943-5-15

Railroad connections

Ellwood

Guadalupe


References

Stanton (2006)

U.S. Air Force (accessed 2013-5-9)


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