JOSEPH CHARLES FECSKE

Camp Wheeler

Macon, Georgia

29 March 1907 to February 1983

History in Words and Photos

03/31/13

THORNTON GENEALOGY PROJECT 2011

http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/gahistmarkers/campwheelerhistmarker.htm

Camp Wheeler Historical Marker
Located on Joe Tamplin Industrial Blvd. about 100 yards south of Riggins Mill Rd., Macon
32.81155, -83.54163
 
CAMP WHEELER

Camp Wheeler was an army training camp during 1917-19 and 1940-46. It was named for Joseph Wheeler (1836-1906), Confederate Lt. Gen. who was born in Augusta, Ga.

The tent camp was established in 1917 after efforts of local businessmen brought Gen. Leonard Wood to Macon to inspect proposed sites. The 21,480 acre site chosen included Holly Bluff, the home of Harry Stillwell Edwards and formerly the plantation of Col. Andrew Jackson Lane, C.S.A., father of Mrs. Edwards.

Major General F.J. Kernan became the first camp commander in August, 1917, and troop strength reached a high point of 28,960 in July, 1918. A cavalry remount depot was at nearby Mogul, and a range was at Phillips Station. The camp closed in April, 1919. The leased site was returned to its owners, and part later became Herbert Smart Airport.

In 1940 Camp Wheeler was re-opened on 14,394 acres of the original site and was used as a training camp until December 1943. Colonel A.R. Emery was the first camp commander. Troop capacity was 25, 890. A 1,000 bed hospital and a prisoner-of-war camp were included in the new camp. Solders trained during 1941-43 totaled 218,000.

After the war the camp was again dismantled and the leased land returned to its owners.

011-21 GEORGIA HISTORIC MARKER 1987
MACON-BIBB COUNTY INDUSTRIAL AUTHORITY

Note: the text above is transcribed directly from the historical marker itself, but it appears to be in error. People with actual experience at Camp Wheeler assure us that the base was in operation after December of 1943.

Camp Wheeler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Wheeler

 

Camp Wheeler was a United States Army base near Macon, Georgia. The camp was a staging location for many US Army units during World War I and World War II. It was named for Joseph Wheeler, a general in the Confederate States of America's Army.[1]

The War Department used the site area of Camp Wheeler as a mobilization center from 1917 to 1918. It was established on July 18, 1917 as a temporary training camp for National Guard units in federal service and consisted primarily of tents in a cantonment area for the 29,000 officers and enlisted men. The military closed the first Camp Wheeler on April 10, 1919.[2]

The military used Camp Wheeler as an infantry replacement center from 1940 to 1945. The base was re-established on October 8, 1940, with construction beginning on December 21, 1940. Rather than being used to train entire units, the camp was an Infantry Replacement Training Center where new recruits received basic and advanced individual training to replace combat casualties. The camp was divided into three major portions: a cantonment area, a maneuver area, and a main impact area. At the height of the training effort, the camp contained 17,000 trainees and 3,000 cadre personnel. The camp was declared excess on January 19, 1946. Following a decontamination operation in the fall of 1946, the land was returned to the owners.[2]

Among units that staged there was the 7th Infantry Division.

A 1,000-bed hospital and a prisoner-of-war camp were included in the World War II camp.

 

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7F0W_Camp_Wheeler_Macon_Georgia

 

Camp Wheeler had a long a important history. It was a on and off military camp for the US Army in both WW I and WW II.

In addition to its training facility for troops it served as a POW camp in WW II and was the hub of a series of satellite camps through out central Georgia. The camp and its WW II POW status is listed in the below article.

WW II:

In 1940, prudence dictated that America increase its military training. Accordingly, on October 12, 1940, Congressman Carl Vinsonís office announced that Camp Wheeler would be rebuilt and was scheduled to be ready for operation by March 15, 1941. The campís first commander was Colonel A. R. Emery for whom Emery Highway was later named. Although nearly one-third smaller in area (14,394) than the World War I facility, the construction was to be far more substantial. Where wooden floors and tents had been the order of the day during the first world war, steel reinforced concrete foundations topped with wooden buildings were the new standards. The total cost of construction was reported to be $13,550,485.

The camp had a housing capacity for about 24,603 enlisted men and 1,290 officers. Additionally, it was to ís Army Corps. Many of the men working on the huge Great Depression-era archaeological projects at nearby Ocmulgee National Monument were reassigned to Camp Wheeler.

Construction eventually included facilities to house approximately two thousand Prisoners of War. There were also twenty-four branch camps for the POWs in Georgia, with eight of those located in the central Georgia area under the auspices of Camp Wheeler. At one time, the number of prisoners stationed at the Wheeler Camp and its branch camps was about 4,700. At the height of the operation, there were regular Wheeler branch camps at Monticello, Ashburn, Waynesboro, Daniels Field, and Dublin. Seasonal work camps were established at Griffin, Sandersville, Fitzgerald, and Hawkinsville. Some prisoners worked as mechanics, typewriter experts, and tailors, but most worked as laborers in the sawmill or farm areas. They accrued wages at a rate of about eighty cents per day.

Camp Wheeler was built as an infantry replacement center, requiring that troops be trained in virtually all types of small arms used by the military at the time. The troops thus trained could be sent anywhere they were needed by Camp Wheelerís importance to Americaís war effort can, perhaps, best be proved by the fact that in 1942 German spies confessed that Camp

Wheeler was one facility they had concentrated on before their capture. On December 15, 1945, the last graduation parade was held with Pvt. Edward A. Winarski of Baltimore, MD, being the last graduate. The camp was officially closed January 19, 1946.

The whole area is now an industrial park but there are lots of open areas that look like they might have once been training grounds.

Text of the nearby Gerogia Historical Marker

Camp Wheeler was an army training camp during 1917-19 and 1940-46. It was named for Joseph Wheeler (1836-1906), Confederate Lt. Gen. who was born in Augusta, Ga.

The tent camp was established in 1917 after efforts of local businessmen brought Gen. Leonard Wood to Macon to inspect proposed sites. The 21,480 acre site chosen included Holly Bluff, the home of Harry Stillwell Edwards and formerly the plantation of Col. Andrew Jackson Lane, C.S.A., father of Mrs. Edwards.

Major General F.J. Kernan became the first camp commander in August, 1917, and troop strength reached a high point of 28,960 in July, 1918. A cavalry remount depot was at nearby Mogul, and a range was at Phillips Station. The camp closed in April, 1919. The leased site was returned to its owners, and part later became Herbert Smart Airport.

In 1940 Camp Wheeler was re-opened on 14,394 acres of the original site and was used as a training camp until December 1943. Colonel A.R. Emery was the first camp commander. Troop capacity was 25, 890. A 1,000 bed hospital and a prisoner-of-war camp were included in the new camp. Solders trained during 1941-43 totaled 218,000.

After the war the camp was again dismantled and the leased land returned to its owners.

Photo 121st Infantry, formerly Second Georgia Inf., Colonel B. B. Hyer, commanding, Camp Wheeler, Ga. 1918

106th Ammunition Train, Lt. Col. Paul O. Franson, commanding, Camp Wheeler, Ga., Jan. 25th, 1918

Row of Mess Halls Camp Wheeler Macon Georgia Military      1925

 

 

Camp Wheeler was located near Macon, Georgia and opened in April 1943 and closed May 1946. The camp began with Italian POWs and later in 1944 began to take German POWs. Th camp held approximately 2000 POWs. Together with itís branch camps at Monticello, Ashburn, Waynesboro, Daniels Field, and Dublin there were 4700 POWs held. So far only a 1 and 5 cent chit is listed from the camp

 

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