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Memories of Lawrence P. Belmont, A Battery — Part III

What were some of the experiences you recall from Camp Davis?

"We left Fort Sheridan on June 2, 1943 and arrived at Camp Davis on June 4, 1943. I could remember going through Alabama and seeing a lot of tin shacks with Cadillacs out front. When we got off the train, we didn't go directly to Camp Davis, but we bivouaced right on the beach in pup tents until we went to Burgaw on July 1, 1943. We finally got to see Camp Davis after we left Burgaw on September 9, 1943. The part of the camp we were in must have been the oldest part — we weren't in the two-story-type barracks. Instead, we were in one-story barracks with tar-paper roofs, and they looked like they'd been built in a hurry."

"I can remember they had a football team at Davis and a couple of us were going to go out for it, but we couldn't because it was for guys stationed there permanently. I remember all the rifle ranges and the obstacle course, and the hospital. It was small, just a station hospital. I had to get an exam for dysentery while I was there."

"We were not really around Camp Davis that much. We were sent out to a town called Burgaw, about 40 miles from the camp. Now, when a searchlight battalion deploys, the batteries are scattered all over the place to form a good defense. If you wanted to protect New York City, say, you'd put Battery A over on the Palisades, maybe, and Battery B might be in Central Park, and Battery C over in Brooklyn somewhere, and so on. Burgaw was a small town and the countryside around it was all swampy. We all thought we were going to the Pacific because we were training in the South, during the Summer, in these swamps. Once I had a three-day pass, so I went on the bus to Richmond to visit Charlie Evans, a family friend. Knowing little about life in the South at the time, I sat in the back of the bus with the black travelers, drawing plenty of stares from the Southern white riders. We left Camp Davis on December 5, 1943, so when you think about it we weren't their very long." [ In the picture above, Lawrence is pictured on bivuoac outside of Burgaw; a larger version of the picture appears below. ]

AT CAMP DAVIS, 1943 (13 K)

Lawrence at Camp Davis, 4 November 1943,
two weeks shy of his 20th birthday.

AT BURGAW, 1943 (67 K)

Lawrence (third from left) on bivuoac outside of Burgaw, July 1943.


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