Camp Laguna: "I Served My Time In You-Know-Where"

Camp Laguna: "I Served My Time In You-Know-Where"

Author: Chuck Wullenjohn/Friday, February 02, 2007/Categories: News At YPG

Camp Laguna was established in January, 1943, as a training installation to prepare soldiers for duty on one of World War II's combat fronts. Established on what is today U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, the camp was a harsh place where everybody lived in tents and there was no refrigeration or electricity.

For soldiers who were coming to the Arizona desert for the first time (and they were the majority), Camp Laguna provided a healthy dose of the hardships to be expected in combat. Everyone sweated during the stifling summer temperatures, froze on cold winter nights and ate canned rations. As many as 15,000 troops at a time were trained at the camp, on six month rotations.

One soldier wrote a poem about life in the camp that was found, by chance, in the desert many years later. It was provided to historical personnel at the proving ground by Mrs. W.E. (Jean) Stevens.

The Battle of Camp Laguna
(Author Unknown)

We are the boys from Camp Laguna,
Earning our meager pay.
Guarding the people's millions
For one sixty-five a day.

Out in the windswept desert
Camp Laguna is the spot.
Fighting the terrible dust storms
On the land that God forgot.

Out in the desert with rifles,
Eating and drinking the dust.
Doing the work of a chain gang
And too damn tired to cuss.

Out with the snakes and lizards,
Here's where the boys get blue.
Out in the windswept desert

Three thousand miles from you.

No one cares if we are living.
No one gives a damn.
Where we came from is soon forgotten,
For we're loaned to Uncle Sam.

All night the wind keeps howling.
It's more than we can stand.
Hell, folks, we're not convicts.
We're the defenders of the land.

For the duration we must take it.
Many the years of life we'll miss.
Don't let the draft board get you,
And for God's sake, don't enlist.

We wash a lot of dishes
And peel a million spuds.
We have our hands all blistered
From washing dirty duds.

And when life is over
And we will work no more,
We will do our final dress parade
On the bright and golden shore.

Then Saint Peter will greet us,
And suddenly he will yell,
"Come in you boys from Camp Laguna.
You've served your time in Hell."

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