* World War II building U.S. military facilites

World War II: U.S. Military Facilities

Figure 1.--Here we see the children of Fort Brag construction workers playing in 1941. Like many military facilities, it was located in the South, facilitating year round usage. It was opened during World War and hugely expanded during World War II. The American airborn units were trained here. There was also a major artillery training activity.

Thee United States, still at peace, had the smallest military of all the the major World War II combatants at the outbreak of World War II. There were a mere 0.3 million men of all ranks in all the uniformed services, about half in the Army (September 1939). This is the military that Gen. Marshall and Adm. Stark (later Adm. King) had to work with to create the massive American military jugernaught. The United States had made some investment in the Air Force (still part of the Army) and Navy duriung the inter-War era, but virtually none in the Army. A few months later, the Germans achieved their great victory in the West and occupied France (June 1940). France had been the great bulwark against the Germans in the West during World War I. Now although many Amerians did not yet know it, Britain and Amnerica would have to confront the Germans in the West without the French Army. The first step was to initiate the first peace time draft in American history (Setember 1940). That was, however, only the beginning. The United States military would have to train the vast number of inexperienced young Americans pouring into military facilities--eventually over 16 million men and women. This was more than three times larger than the World War I effort and they would serve for a much longer period. And this had to be accomplished by the small core of professional soldiers from the peace-time military. This meant that the facilities for inducting and training one of the great armed forces of the war had to be enormously expanded. In addiution to the trainng was a major medical effort. There were some facilities built for World War I, but nothing to accomodate the military that the United States was creating. Many facilities since World War I had been closed or had deteroriated. Some had been slightly rehabilitated to accomodate the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal agency entrusted to the U.S. Army. But the existing facilities would have to be greatly expanded and a host of new facilities ooened and facilities constructed. This meant a massiuve construction effort, one of the largest of the War. Billions of dollars were needed--and these were 1940s dollars. Building the barracks and training facilities were the priority, but only a poart of the massive effort. The Army alone built 30 camps and cantonments handle the several thousands of draftees entering the service monthly. And this was just part of it. The camps needed roads, railroad spurs, sewage, mess halls, headquarters buildings, hospitals, and much more. The Air Firce and Navy needed airfields and port facilities. And they needed to build all of this at once. While no one facility made a key difference in the American military achievemnent, the cumulative effect of the construction effort was a critical component of the Allied victory. The Department of Defense after the War calculated that some 55,000 buildings as permanent and semi-permanent were built constructed during the War II. All of this of course is in addition to the massive effort to produce the weapons of war that the men being trained would need. Of course, here we are taking about the facilities in America itself to prepare the U.S. military to fight the War. The War inself was largely fought overseas which required many other construction effoirts to procecute the War. The construction efforts in the United States were done by civilians through contracting private corporatioins. Overseas the military had to do the building itself.


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Created: 9:05 AM 9/29/2020
Last updated: 9:05 AM 9/29/2020