I’m Palm Desert this weekend, visiting family, so probably not too much in the way of posts. Worse, I won’t have a chance to visit the Desert Training Center, which is just up the road. Of course, there’s nothing there, just desert.
Back in WWII, when it became apparent the Army would have to fight in North Africa, the Army realized they had no experience at all fighting in desert environments. It had just formed the Armored Force, composed of two armored divisions and needed a place to train them. Enter George Patton. Patton bought up an enormous chunk of cheap desert land here in Southern California and parts of Nevada. Pretty soon he had established The Desert Training Center and had tankers driving hell bent for leather over the sandy soil. This training would prove to be of great value when the divisions deployed to North Africa a year later.
The post was little more than some tarpaper shacks and tents. Now, even those are gone. But if you go up the road a ways to Barstow, you’ll find the modern successor to the DTC at Ft. Irwin, home of the National Traininng Center. More on that later.