Soldiers don't die

"A man dies only when he is forgotten"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Desert Training? Camp Lagoona, AZ 1943

During 1943, the 8th Infantry Division was moved cross country to Arizona for desert survival training.  This was done because at the time, High Command thought grandpa's unit would be sent to invade North Africa with Patton's Third Army.  The men lived in sandy tents for a few months and were scorched by the heat in their heavy canvas combat gear.  Mel showed very little detail of what they were doing out there, but he did find time to go sightseeing and took some color Kodachrome slides of the things he found...

Their campsites were surrounded by giant saguaro cactus.

Marksmanship qualification at the rifle range.  Mel himself earned an Intermediate level Sharpshooter pin for the rifle that he could wear on his uniform.  It is the iron cross with the target in the center we see on his left breast pocket. It had a small tag hanging beneath it which said "RIFLE"

Some of Mel's buddies standing around a Jeep.  It is clearly hot out there as one man is stripped to the waist.

Mel also liked to take some nice pictures of the local flora and fauna.  Here is a tiny prickly pear cactus. The picture below is a barn owl that they found while climbing a nearby mountain.

...And while exploring a cave Mel found, he carried out a live bat! (Notice the Staff Sergeant chevron and rocker bar on his shoulder patch)

Grandpa liked bats.  Why? Because of his last name. I imagine "Batman" or something along those lines was probably his Army nickname.

Below: There were many "ghost towns" out there.  Here is an abandoned cattle ranch he spotted while they were riding in a Jeep to go someplace.

For doing such an outstanding job out there in Headquarters Company, keeping the operational maps in order and coordinating his squad actions in the field during the desert maneuvers, Staff Sergeant Batt was awarded an Army Commendation on the 27th of July, 1943.  He was clearly a competent soldier who had leadership abilities.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful set of war time color kodachrome slides ! congradulations on such a little treasure ! I am a big collector of war time colorm slides and if you are ever interested, I have many on my photo site
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful old color photos.
    Ian :-)