188th at Desert Rock, Nevada / Manzanar Relocation Center

 

One last mention of the 188th Regiment/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock – at least for now….   🙂

 

I located this newsletter from the National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc., published in 2013.  It might better answer many of the questions some of the readers had from the previous posts.

http://naav.com/assets/2013_03_NAAV_Newsletter.pdf

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Manzanar Relocation Center  – east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Manzanar covered an impressive 540 acres of land in Owens Valley. Yet the desert was not a welcome home for most of the camp’s internees. The arid landscape made for blistering hot summers and harsh, cold winters.

While some large-scale farming helped keep the concentration camp self-sufficient, most of the internees were forced to hold industrial jobs at the camp’s garment and mattress factories. Wages for their work often topped out at less than 20 dollars a month.

Though it was surrounded by barbed wire and a series of guard towers, Manzanar comprised a variety of buildings, including churches, shops, a hospital, a post office, and an auditorium for schooling. Men and women shared bathrooms and bathing facilities, and living assignments were frequently random, meaning that a woman might be assigned to live with a man other than her husband. All in all, mess halls and residences were crowded and sparse.

Manzanar and the other internment camps closed after World War II, but many of the internees had nowhere to go. While the economic impact of their imprisonment was devastating, the social and cultural implications were likewise detrimental.

It wasn’t until 1988 that the U.S. federal government provided redress to these citizens, and offered each survivor $20,000. In 1992, Manzanar Relocation Center was declared a National Historic Site. President Bush offered a formal apology the following year.

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During the camp’s four years of existence, photographers were invited there to capture what daily life was like for the relocated citizens. Famed photographer Ansel Adams was one of just a few individuals to photograph the internees, though censorship no-doubt shaped his photos. Still, the images above provide a small glimpse at what life was like in the concentration camps.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Emery Arsenault – Dennisport, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO

James Ayala (100) – Ellsworth, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO, tank gunner, 2 Bronze Stars

Lawrence Bunts – Nampa, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO

James J. Cansler – Bolivar, MO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. C/1/28/8th Infantry Division, KIA (Germany)

Gordon Duggan Sr. – Enfield, CT; US Coast Guard, WWII, USS Glendale

John “Red” Gartner – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, submarine tender USS Beaver

William Myers – Munday, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO,23rd HQ “Ghost Army”

Joseph Pelliccio – Bayonne, NJ; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowa / Korea, USS New Jersey

Charles “John Boy” Smith – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force & Navy, # 4312868

Rosalind P. Walter – NYC, NY; Civilian, Corsair aircraft riveter.

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 9, 2020, in Home Front, Post WWII, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 100 Comments.

  1. The past will never be forgotten gp, as long as those who remember are still alive, some great yet sad memories must be still haunting many families history to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My goodness! Those troops were there an hour after the blast? Knowing now how serious it really was, made this sad to watch. Thank you, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a humbling thing to visit Manzanar, which I’ve done more than once, both in freezing cold and broiling summer heat. A genuinely harsh environment, set against a stunningly beautiful view of the Sierras. The drive up US Route 395 through the Owens Valley is one of the most memorable trips one can make in the U.S. One should stop at Manzanar, even if only for a few minutes, and bring to mind what happened there.

    Two miles from me here, south of Los Angeles, are nature preserves with trails that overlook the Pacific, out toward Santa Catalina Island. Before the war, those lands were family farms, almost all owned by Americans of Japanese descent. Lands seized by the U.S., citizens sent to Manzanar and other camps. Manzanar’s essentially the only one of the camp sites you can tour.

    One can draw one’s own conclusion as one stands there, but it’s worth thinking about. Thanks, GP. Carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gen. Swift sure looked a little gimpy getting off that transport! 🙂

    This is the very first time I watched the entire newsreel of this event. I had only seen snippets (and of those, many times over) from this newsreel and was fascinated by the preparations and logistics. I wonder if any of those participants showed signs of radiation exposure later in their lives.

    As you know, all of my Hiroshima cousins were exposed to the blast in ’45 and all had been soaked in black rain; when you see the troops seven miles away in the newsreel and while this blast was many times larger, my cousins were all within a mile of the blast albeit somewhat shielded by Mt. Suzugamine.

    It was peculiar to me listening to the narrator describe the conditions at Manzanar considering part of my family were “incarcerated” there. I noticed your mentioning Ansel Adams. There was a first generation photographer there called Toyo Miyatake who had a photo studio in Los Angeles before Pearl Harbor. Toyo was the man who brought in a camera lens then secretly built camera around it with scrap wood from when the barracks were built. He secretly took photos but since he was friends with Ansel Adams, Adams convinced the camp commandant to allow him to take photos openly later on.

    Toyo’s grandson, Alan Miyatake, took my first two (ahem) wedding photos as well as my oldest daughter’s wedding. https://p47koji.com/2013/01/28/the-photographer-for-my-daughters-wedding/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the info here and for the reminder. It was great seeing your family pictures again. If you had told me before that Miyatake was friends with Adams, I’m afraid I’d forgotten. So thank you for that as well! You’ve always been a great friend, Koji.

      Like

  5. Looking at Adams’s photos, I couldn’t get over the contrast between the beautiful land and the activities taking place there. I’m glad that the place has been preserved, and that it can help us hold on to pieces of our history many would rather erase.

    And did I enjoy that Redneck poster? Why, of course I did!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey I love this face it looks funny

    Like

  7. I found the article very interesting but I do think that talk of “concentration camps” and “survivors” is very misleading.
    The Americans were well known among German military POWs for the civilised POW camps that they ran, and such people would not have had it in them to run a real concentration camp like Belsen or Dachau.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Two crazy things the US did to Americans in the desert during the 40s…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I know it is controversial and I won’t offer an opinion, but the first thing that came to my mind as I read the account of the camp was the plight of the migrants on the Mexican border and how the children and the parents are sometimes separated.
    “……..a woman might be assigned to live with a man other than her husband…..”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The government’s treatment of the people involved in these tests is very disturbing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I visited the Manzanar site many times when I went fishing in the Sierras as a young man. As sad as it was, I personally don’t see that we had much of a choice so many years ago. Remember times have changed and back then we had no real way to vet “Good Japanese” from “Bad Japanese.” In any event, we cannot revise history to make us feel good.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Definitely worth a visit, G. They have done a good job with the museum in capturing a feel for the times. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh well. Aside from being in the harsh environment of desert the mountain backdrop is beautiful. Abseil Adams truly was an artist.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I just read the memoir “Farewell to Manzanar” not long ago, it was very good. I recommend it if you haven’t read it already! 🙂

    Like

  15. Thank you for adding “Rosie” to the farewell salutes.
    I’m so amazed by, and I so admire, the women of her generation. They deserve to be honored and remembered.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I had no idea Ansel Adams did any kind of military life photography. How sad for the folks that had to live there and that it took so long to re re-compensated so little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was surprised by The photos being from Adams myself. FDR’s Executive Order was illegal, but powerful friends and politics can be a huge influence on a decision – only innocent people paid a hefty price.

      Like

  17. A picture worth a thousand words. Those Ansel Adams photos show how extensive the place was and looked sustainable with farming and community life. With coronavirus running wild, maybe we need something like that to contain the disease.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. A ton of information, GP. Thanks for the slide show and the photos. The newsletter was informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I like the Warning sign

    Liked by 1 person

  20. That was interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mankind really has become too clever for its own good

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sad but significant moments in our history. As we all know, everything was not peaches and cream during World War II; part of the condition of being “human,” I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I love your toons for this post👍😁

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Redneck territory doesn’t sound as bad as atomic veterans. 🙏🤕

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I have done a couple projects for the NPS at Manzanar and Minidoka. It’s so important that we remember what our government did to it’s own citizens.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Interesting info in the newsletter and I enjoyed reading about Manzanar. Funny that the Americans of Japanese descent in Hawaii were not forced to move but those on the West Coast were shipped off to internment camps and their property bought up at discount rates by neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I had no idea the camp was so isolated and large. I always assume they were close to where the people had been living. I’ll have to catch the video later.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Haha loving that warning sign 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Wonder how many felt like relocated “citizens”.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The photographs show a different aspect of Ansel Adams’ artistic eye.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. That Atomic Association is a powerful reminder of that period of testing. And the photos serve to remind us of how so many people were treated after Pearl Harbour.
    Good cartoons too, GP. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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