Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Camp Young

World War II's command headquarters for General George S. Patton's huge Desert Training Center, established for the training of troops in desert warfare, was established sometime in 1942. It was located not far south of Indio, Riverside County, near the present junction of U.S. 10 and State Route195, where the Cottonwood Springs Road runs up through the Joshua Tree National Monument.
Camp Young's Cantonment Area
In early March of 1942 the War Department ordered Major General George Smith Patton, Jr., U.S. Army, to locate, create, equip, and command a desert training center in California to prepare troops to fight the Nazis in North Africa. These Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces were to become skilled in desert warfare.

The area chosen in the Mojave Desert was ultimately 350 miles wide and 250 miles deep. On 20 June 1942 the War Department acquired the land from the Department of the Interior by Public Land Order No. 1. The area included several sections in Riverside County, ranging from Indio, California to Arizona and from Las Vegas to Yuma. On May 12, 1942, by announcement of General Orders No. 7, the Desert Training Center was named Camp Young. On January 27, 1943, by announcement of General Orders No. 8, Camp Young "proper" (3,279.89 acres) became the Headquarters of the Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area (DTC/CAMA). By November 1943 CAM had enlarged and included Camp Young, Camp Coxcomb, Camp Iron Mountain, Camp Granite, Camp Essex (later renamed Camp Clipper), Camp Ibis, Camp Hyder, Camp Horn, Camp Laguna, Camp Pilot Knob, Camp Bouse and several bombing and artillery ranges.
CAM was divided into a Communication Zone and a Combat Zone. The Communications Zone surrounds and entirely encloses the Combat Zone. Those areas within the perimeter of the Communication Zone are not really maneuver areas. Camp Young was located outside the Combat Zone, within the Communication Zone (Desert Area Recreation Survey, Geography of Desert Training Center 1943).
Between 800,000 and 1,000,000 soldiers prepared for warfare at the CAM. Camp Young was the administrative headquarters and the focal point of the maneuvers area for General Patton's 3rd Armored Division. The overwhelming focus of the training was on tank warfare. Camp Young remained the focal point for the CAM until the closure of the center in 1944. In January 1943 per General Order No. 9, First Headquarters Special Troops was organized to supervise training and administer non-divisional units, except Field-Artillery, in the desert. Due to the large area of the CAM, three additional Special Troops Headquarters were created to control and supervise. The 601st Engineer Camouflage Battalion was assigned to Camp Young December 1942. Also, stationed at Camp Young was the IV Corps Command Headquarters. From October 1943 to January 1944 the primary mission of the headquarters transitioned from purely training activities to almost 100% Preparation and Movement of units for Overseas Shipment.
A series of 13 ranges was constructed south and west of Camp Young. The ranges were designed for small caliber arms and for mortar fire including 37mm, 75mm, and 155mm. Shaver's Summit Army Air Field (a small runway) was built east of and adjacent to Camp Young.
Almost all the land acquired for the California - Arizona Maneuver Area was declared surplus by the War Department on 16 March 1944. The land acquired for the Camp Young site was relinquished on 14 January 1947 to the Department of the Interior by Public Land Order No. 342. The Camp Young site consists of 3,279.89 acres.
Source: Los Angeles District, US Army Corps
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Updated 27 July 2015