Camp Cooke (1)
Camp Cooke (1) (1941-1953) - A U.S. Army World War II armored training camp established in 1941 in Santa Barbara County, California. Named after Major General Phillip St. George Cooke (Cullum 492), who served in the Mexican War, the Indian Wars, and the U.S. Civil War, and who died 20 Mar 1895. Deactivated in 1953. Reactivated in 1957 as Cook Air Force Base and renamed Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1958 after General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Air Force Chief of Staff (1948-1953). Active U.S. Air Force Base.
World War II (1941-1945)
Construction on Camp Cooke began in September of 1941 on 86,000 acres acquired by the U.S. Army earlier in the year. The incomplete camp was dedicated on 5 Oct 1941 and armored divisions began arriving for training early in 1942. Some 400 separate outfits passed through Camp Cooke during the war.
Separate prisoner of war camps were established at Camp Cooke for German and Italian prisoners of war. The prisoners were used in various jobs on post and off post. The off post work was mostly on local farms and other agricultural enterprises.
In 1946 a maximum security army disciplinary barracks was established on post to house U.S. Army prisoners. The disciplinary barracks remained open even after the post was deactivated in June 1946 and exists today as the low security Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc (FCI Lompoc).
Korean War (1950-1953)
Camp Cooke was reactivated in August 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War. Infantry training was provided for combat troops headed for Korea. The Camp was deactivated on 1 Feb 1953 even before the truce was signed in Korea on 27 Jul 1953.
Part of Vandenberg Air Force Base, Santa Barbara County, California. Only memorials and static exhibits remain in Heritage Park on Vandenberg, AFB.
Visited: 25-30 Nov 2012