Ron Croft
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Camp Croft, South Carolina
US Army Infantry Replacement Training Center

Ronald Lloyd Croft
Ron Croft submitted an excellent recollection  of his experiences while stationed at Camp Croft.  Not included in the summary on the Reminiscences page are his insights, recapped below in his own words, into the minds of the trainees, especially the pride they took in their training.

"The training cycle commenced in January 1945, and it was not lost on anyone (Trainees and Cadre alike) that the preceding training cycle was cut short by a few weeks, and the "Graduating Trainees" were hurriedly deployed to Europe in December 1944 as replacements for Divisions fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  Everyone took the training extremely seriously, since at that time, the war hung in the balance and everyone's future was a big question mark.

One interesting aspect of the experience was that the trainees came from all walks of life, from all areas of the eastern states, with completely divergent social and educational backgrounds - and all ages between 18 and 36.  The age groups were highly skewed toward the 18 year olds but there were many men 35 and older, who had answered the call, leaving wives and children at home.  It was most difficult for the latter group - both emotionally and physically.  However, it was significant to note how quickly every individual began to mold into a common mosaic, where each individual realized the importance of teamwork, and recognized that in the life of an Infantryman, each person was dependent on both himself and upon each other.  A strong camaraderie among the trainees took shape early on and developed as the training progressed, and each man recognized that we were all in it together and we needed each other to succeed.

The training was hard and exhausting - Reveille sounded well before dawn - formations and strenuous physical training long before marching to the mess hall for breakfast, and then on to the training - close order drill, field and personal hygiene, discipline, PT, squad and platoon tactics, weapons training, the rifle range, machine guns, Browning Automatic Rifles, Grenades, scouting, camouflage, fire and maneuver, first aid, more PT, the Gas Mask drills, bayonet training, hand to hand combat, the long field marches, and on and on, ad infinitum.

One of the more significant highlights of the Basic Training was getting physically conditioned and gearing up to accomplish lengthy field marches - culminating in a twenty-six mile forced march with full field pack and equipment.  This usually occurred near the end of the 17 week training cycle through the nearby peach fields and through the usually muddy red clay which always seemed to stick to ones boots and add an extra two or three pounds to the already heavy load to be carried.  As tired as the company was, and as much as feet and muscles pained, there was a great feeling of pride as the company marched back into the Camp - singing and chanting and showing the world that morale was high and the troops could do it.

Another significant accomplishment of the training was completing the five or six day field maneuver and bivouac.  In addition to seemingly endless forced marches, it involved applying everything that the trainees had learned.  Bivouac areas were set up, pup tents pitched, field messes established, sudden orders to break camp in the middle of the night, saddle up and move out in the dark, night attacks, dig a new fox hole big enough yet strong enough for a tank to roll over it.  Such adventures and experiences gave all of the trainees a feeling of confidence - to be carried forward into their forthcoming combat assignments."

The Trainees - 1st Platoon, Co. C, 32nd Battalion, 6th Regiment

The Trainees - 1st Platoon, Co. "C", 32nd Battalion, 6th Regiment
(January - May 1945)
Included in this picture are:
1st Row
Harvey Denson, Pennington Gap, VA - 2nd from left
2nd Row
Bill Davidson, Platoon Guide, New England - 1st from left
Cagle - 6th from left
Cravo, Rhode Island - 9th from left
Finnegan - 11th from left
3rd (Back) Row
Diamond - 2nd from left
Chick (?) Squad Leader - 3rd from left
Ron Croft - 4th from left
Beane, NC - 5th from left
Dyer - 6th from left
Bob Day, Portland, ME - 9th from left