In 1942 the first soldiers arrived at Camp Young, California, to begin the build-up of the California-Arizona Maneuver Area or CAMA. This area, chosen by General George S. Patton, was to become the training area for over 1,000,000 soldiers from approximately 400 units. In a period of two years and three weeks men from 13 Infantry Divisions, 7 Armored Divisions and many other service units were trained here in the art of desert warfare. There were 12 major camps: Young, Laguna, Coxcomb, Horn, Hyder, Rice, Bouse, Pilot Knob, Essex, Granite, Ibis and Iron Mountain. Camp Clipper was washed away by a flash flood shortly after it was established. It was quickly reestablished a short distance to the south and renamed Camp Essex. CAMA stretched from Pomona, California, eastward 350 miles to just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It extended from Yuma, Arizona 250 miles northward to Searchlight, Nevada. The actual training was conducted in three maneuver areas covering approximately 18,000 square miles. These maneuver areas and camps are clearly marked on a large map in the right wing of the Heritage Center.
The synthesis of the Heritage Center follows chronologically from Camp Laguna and CAMA, to the Korean War, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Bosnia. A visitor can step into the Post Commander's office as it appeared in 1954; inspect the large array of shells and munitions; admire prize-winning models of military vehicles; study Army uniforms, equipment and photos from WWII up to the "21st Century Soldier;" and examine a vast array of photos and information on military vehicles, equipment and munitions that have been tested at YPG over the years.
Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center Mission
The U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center has been established to depict the military history of Yuma Proving Ground from its inception in 1942 as Camp Laguna to Yuma Test Branch, Yuma Test Station and the present day Yuma Proving Ground with its role in the development of the "21st Century Soldier." The purpose of the Heritage Center is to identify, collect, research and preserve historically significant properties and maintain them as usable resources for scholars and other interested individuals. The Heritage Center will instill and maintain visitor interest, further community relations and enhance esprit de corps among YPG's military and civilian workforce. It will also provide educational services to include programs, classes, audiovisuals, exhibits, and publications for the military and civilian populations.