Camp Young (1942-1944) - A World War II desert training camp established in 1942 near Indio in Riverside County, California. Named for Lieutenant General Samuel B.M. Young, who had campaigned in the region and who later became the first U.S. Army Chief of Staff. Abandoned in 1944.
Established in 1942 as the first of fifteen temporary World War II training camps in the southern California and Arizona desert areas. These training camps formed what was initially known as the Desert Training Center and then as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area after 20 Oct 1943.
General George S. Patton, Jr. (Cullum 4795) established Camp Young and trained the 3rd Armored Division in desert tactics and maneuvers until he departed in August 1942. The camp remained the Administrative Headquarters and the focal point of maneuvers training until the California-Arizona Maneuver Area was closed in 1944. Camp Young was the first camp established and came to be the largest in terms of infrastructure.
A series of 13 firing ranges were constructed south and west of Camp Young. The ranges were designed for small caliber arms and for mortar fire including 37mm, 75mm, and 155mm.
The camps were closed and training discontinued on 30 Apr 1944. Recovery of government property and removal of hazardous munitions and other materials continued well after the end of the war.
Almost all the land acquired for the CAMA Area was declared surplus on 16 Mar 1944. The land acquired for the Camp Young site was transferred on 14 Jan 1947 to the Department of the Interior by Public Land Order No. 342. The Camp Young site consists of 3,280 acres.
The U.S. Army built Shavers Army Airfield near Camp Young to support the training operations. The airfield opened in April 1943 and had a single paved runway. Also Known as Shavers Summit Army Airfield.
US Army Corps of Engineers History (1994)
"The Shavers Summit Airfield was used by the Army Air Force as an emergency auxiliary landing field in connection with activities at the Blythe Army Air Field. Improvements included an east-west runway approximately 200-foot wide by 6,000-foot long, constructed of hard black top, a parking apron approximately 100-foot wide by 300-foot long, constructed of hard black top located adjacent to the runway, a 12-foot by 18-foot frame house used as a guard house, nine or ten tent frames, a small latrine and shower room, a 50,000-gallon above-ground water tank, and a beacon. The airfield contained no housing or gasoline storage facilities."
Restricted use of the land continued after the war while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supervised cleanup of the hazardous material and the removal of temporary facilities.
Surface remains only, the outline of the camp road structure and the airstrip can be see from satellite views. One marker inside the camp area (use IH-10 exit 168). Several other markers located at the George S. Patton Memorial Museum (use IH-10 exit 173).
The Shavers Army Airfield is still active now as Chiriaco Summit Airport (use IH-10 exit 173). Now a county-owned public-use airport with one asphalt surface runway measuring 4,600 by 50 feet and designated runway 6/24.