Sunday, February 20, 2011


I just got back from a few days in Arizona with my parents, and both sisters. We were visiting my brother and my nephew and his wife who live in Phoenix. On Saturday we made a pilgrimage, one we've made for the last five or six years.
Several years ago, I joined my folks while they were visiting my brother, and we took a side-trip to San Diego. On the way we stopped in Chiriaco Summit, CA to visit the General George S Patton Memorial Museum. My father had trained under Patton during WWII. Patton oversaw a large area including parts of CA, NV, and AZ. Dad had trained in the desert outside of Bouse, AZ with 9th and 10th Armored Tank Group.

Twenty miles east of Bouse in the remote Butler Valley, a group of young men trained in secrecy with a new weapon planned for use in North Africa. They trained in secret, mainly at night, on the Canal Defense Light Project. This tank had a bright light with enormous candlepower to temporarily blind the enemy. When the war in Africa was over before the affectionately called "gizmo" was ready, it was rarely used in the terrain of Europe.
A few years ago my Dad, brother, nephew and I drove to Bouse, and out into the desert to look for remnants of the base. While in Bouse we visited the small museum, where they were thrilled to be able to ask questions of one of the soldiers who had trained there. They also informed us of an annual dedication ceremony in Bouse's "monument row". We've gone back with Dad every year to visit the museum, the monuments, and take part in the ceremony honoring veterans, specifically WWII veterans, and especially those who trained at Camp Bouse.

I love that this little town, in the middle of nowhere, realizes the importance of preserving our history, and remembering the young men who came here "where heroes trained", and saying thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff. I was very interested to locate this site. My father worked on the canal defense light in the Harquahala desert area with a tank battalion. He spoke about a burro they cared for. He said it was killed on night by a sentry and they held a military funeral for it. Do you know if this is related to the monument for "Eight Ball"? Daddy died in 1971 and there is so much I wished I had asked him. I have a health issue which I think may have resulted from his exposure to something connected with this project because the doctors believe it is genetic and came from him. I did get a lot of informtion from the government after I wrote our Senator and he became involved. Give my best wishes to your father.
    Patti Bauer Pelham, Alabama