Sunday, December 5, 2010

Desert Training Centers

'Get it out this minute, get it in in under ten.’ Imagine a 108 degree day, an angry drill Sgt., full uniform, pack, and rifle, and the command to run your chain smoking self the distance of a mile in under 10 minutes. Welcome to General Patton’s training center of WWII.

California State Historical Landmark No. 985
Desert Training Center California - Arizona Maneuver Area
Plaque inscription:  The D.T.C. was established by Major General George S. Patton, Jr., in response to a need to train American combat troops for battle in North Africa during World War II. The camp, which began operation in 1942, covered 18,000 square miles. It was the largest military training ground ever to exist. Over one million men were trained at the eleven sub-camps (seven in California).

Location:  General Patton Memorial Museum, Chiriaco Summit, from I-10 exit N at Chiriaco Summit, 28 miles E of Indio. Second plaque located 0.2 miles N of I-10 on Cottonwood Springs, then 7/8 mile E on dirt road. (from California Historical Landmarks)
GPS Coordinates:  33º39.697 N - 115º43.334 W

Yep, a little Bardhal helped pull the DeSoto up the grade out of the Coachella Valley just fine, all the way to Desert Center and the Stonehenge of dead palm trees to the Patton museum and the state landmark. The photo is from a second trip in 1995. Seven years later a song is coming together using the 85th infantry division as a base. Later, when putting together material for the booklet, actual photos of the 85th surfaced and the owner was kind enough to lend use. These were my characters, just as they were envisioned.

TRAINING CENTER BOOGIE   © Radio Flier Music                 
Well the sun’s gone down I got a minute to write
A letter to you mama here by candlelight      
No sheets on my cot in this tent we’re in
Somebody said today it was 110
No refrigerator no electricity
At Desert Training Center that’s the way it has to be

You know I joined this army to get into the war
Dancing the desert, June of 1944
Waltz with the cactus do the shuffle with the sand
Swing with the buzzards jitterbug when we can
But there’s a special one we do and it’s a goodie
A little jive dance we call the Training Center Boogie

Ch) Training Center boogie’s not a dance you see
A mile run in the sun when it’s 103
Full pack and a rifle here we go again
Get it out this minute, get it in under ten

We’re getting up tomorrow at a quarter to four
Marching to the boarder on the desert floor
Then it’s rations with a passion in the noonday sun
Can’t wait to get started it really sounds like fun
March back to camp in the afternoon
Thank you Mr. Sergeant for this lovely day in June

 It won’t be long we’re hearin’ when the order comes around
We’re going of to Europe, put old Hitler down
This 85th division of the infantry
Gonna dance on Hitler’s grave for everyone to see
Cause there’s a special one we do and it’s a goodie
A little jive dance we call the Training Center Boogie

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