1. My father (grandfather, uncle, etc.) was stationed at Camp Croft during World War II. Where can I get records of his activities while at Croft?
Man, I wish. I continue to search but I have not been able to figure out where records from a closed military facility would be sent. Assuming approximately 250,000 soldiers trained and the camp and another 50,000 came through the induction station during the 5+ years of operation, it would be a huge volume of records. Perhaps some were destroyed and I know some lesser items went home with departing soldiers. So, at least for now, we don't have access to individual records. For starters, you can try looking in the National Archives World War II Electronic Army Serial Number File. If this link does not take you directly there, select "PEOPLE" and then "Title: World War II Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 6/1/2002 - 9/30/2002". The NARA's National Personnel Records Center and Center for Electronic Records collaborated in a project to convert the Army Serial Number microfilm of computer punch cards to electronic form to support the military records reconstruction project. Although the majority of US Army and Air Force personnel records were destroyed by fire back in the 1973, it doesn't hurt to check. Instructions for requesting records can be found in this brochure (attached in Adobe format): ww2-participation.pdf
Were you told there were (pick one or more): ammunition, M1 rifles, canons, tanks, motorcycles in crates, chemical weapons, works of art, gold coins, buried German PWs, V-2 rockets, or B-17s? I have heard most all of them and all I want someone to find is a bunch of paperwork (see FAQ #1). There is undoubtedly unexploded ordnance which infrequently turns up. Most is found on the firing ranges but sometimes an entire crate or a small stash of mortar rounds, 30.06 ammo, or other items is uncovered. More than one veteran has told me it was very difficult to turn in ammo, so if you didn't expend it during the training session, you dug a hole and buried it or otherwise got rid of it. That certainly accounts for some of the larger finds. There are only two "underground bunkers" I know of. One was a "gun shed" in the 28th ITB area which was used to store 37mm and 57mm antitank weapons. It is still around, but the current owners have no idea if it is empty or not. The entrance was sealed and it appears to have partially caved-in. The other, more commonly talked about "bunkers", were actually metal ammunition igloos that were covered over with earth as a means of fire protection and (probably) aerial concealment. I am sure these were empty when they were turned over to the state park system in 1949, and they remain so today, except as storage for the park and the UXO cleanup contractors. As far as other items, there are many who say they have either seen or were part of efforts to dispose of or store military equipment at various points within the boundaries of the camp. I have yet to see real evidence of anything to date.
Hah! It would be nice to have some funds but I host and maintain the web site in pursuit of my personal research on the subject, both as a "hobby" and as my personal tribute to the veterans who served during WWII. I have many friends who help out with information, photos, and artifacts but the cost of hosting the web site and domain is pretty reasonable so I have not tried to obtain any additional funding. I also am a volunteer with the Spartanburg County Historical Association so I get help from them in terms of contacts and other information. I don't think I would ever be interested in looking for monetary donations but if you want to send anything else, either for my collection here on the web or for the Historical Association, please CONTACT US.4. Are you interested in my story?
You bet! We are always looking for information and, if you were a soldier stationed at Croft, a civilian who worked there, or perhaps someone who helped build or tear down the old camp, we would like the opportunity to arrange a telephone interview with you to discuss your service. If you would be willing to share your recollections, please send us an phone number and a suggested time to call. Contact us by following this link: CONTACT US
5. Are you a Camp Croft "expert"?
Are there any military accommodations
for lodging at Camp Croft?
No, the former camp area has been completely converted to civilian use, as residential housing, businesses, and manufacturing. A significant portion is now a state park (Croft State Natural Area) which offers camping but there are no military accommodations in the area. I suspect the closest may be at Fort Jackson in Columbia, about 100 miles to the south.
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