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America’s first West Coast armored and infantry training installation was built in California in 1941 and was named Camp Cooke. It is currently known as Vandenberg Space Force Base. During WWII, more than 400 military units trained at Cooke, peaking at more than 36,000 soldiers. The largest units that rotated through Cooke were the 5th, 6th, 11th, 13th, and 20th Armored Divisions and the 86th and 97th Infantry Divisions. Having honed their fighting skills at Cooke, they prevailed in fierce battles across France and Germany. The 6th, 11th, and 20th Armored Divisions also took part in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau, respectively.

I am the author of CAMP COOKE AND VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, 1941-1966. The book takes you through the war years in a series of notable events transpiring at Cooke and on the war front. It follows a similar path in discussing the Korean War. During both conflicts, visiting USO shows at Cooke featured some of the most popular celebrities and entertainers of the day, including Bob Hope, Bette Davis, the Three Stooges, Susan Hayward, Kay Kaiser, Dorothy Lamour, Orson Welles, Joe DiMaggio, world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, and many more.

In 1957, Cooke was transferred to the Air Force and a year later renamed Vandenberg AFB. In 1959, the first Atlas ICBM missiles, equipped with nuclear warheads, were placed on alert at Vandenberg. That same year, America’s first reconnaissance (spy) satellite was launched from the base. Known as Corona, it used the cover name Discoverer to conceal its true mission. In discussing early launch programs, the book reveals several significant accidents and successes. You will also learn about President Kennedy's visit to the base and the humorous story of Russian Premier Khrushchev's train ride past the base and across America that almost ended in a diplomatic incident.

The book's military theme encompasses more than sixty years of American history and spotlights California’s inextricable role in world events. Through hot wars and a cold war, it is a story about ordinary people performing extraordinary services for their country and fellow countrymen during those momentous times.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN MY OTHER BOOK - "German Prisoners of War at Camp Cooke"

Did you know that we had more than 371,000 German prisoners of war in America during World War II and that we paid them for their labor? But it happened and much more.

GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR AT CAMP COOKE CALIFORNIA is the compelling story of fourteen German soldiers captured during the campaigns in North Africa and Europe, and then sat out the remainder of the war as POWs. The book delves into the lives of these prisoners, exploring their daily routines, interactions with American guards, and the broader impact of their presence on the local communities.

Each former prisoner discusses his pre-war and military experiences, and later as a POW in America - mainly at Camp Cooke and its branch camps - and the indelible impression these events had on him.

The book is well-illustrated and uses a variety of primary sources, including interviews, personal letters, and official documents to paint a vivid picture of life within the camp. The story is told against the backdrop of notable wartime events and the U.S. War Department’s nationwide POW program. By bringing together the personal experiences with a narrative history, you get a complete and authentic account of soldiers who survived the cataclysm of World War II. At the same time, the story highlights the complexities of war, showing how both the prisoners and their captors navigated the challenges of maintaining order and humanity amidst the broader conflict. There are some serious moments in my book as well as funny stories told by the interviewees.

Pick up your copy today by contacting me or go to AMAZON.COM and start reading about this incredible story.

post id: 7757910808



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