Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


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Back in Time: Camp Kilmer

For a while now, I’ve been busy with getting all my family photographs and memorabilia sorted, organized, and put in their places. This project has been going on for a few years already. So much to still do—

Following are several postcards from Camp Kilmer, New Jersey that was in my uncle’s boxes. He served with the United States Army just after The War (that’s World War II), and he was also stationed overseas in Germany to help with rebuilding.

Camp Kilmer was activated in June 1942 as a staging area and was in New Jersey. It was named for the poet, Joyce Kilmer, who was from New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was killed in World War I (by sniper) during the Second Battle of Marne/Ourcq while serving with 69th Infantry Regiment.  He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his bravery.

The camp was part of an installation of the New York Port of Embarkation. It was organized as part of the Army Service Forces Transportation Corps. During World War II, troops were quartered at the camp to prepare for transport to the European Theater of Operations. In fact, it became the largest processing center for troops heading overseas and returning from World War II; there were over 2.5 million soldiers processed through there. Camp Kilmer officially closed in 2009.

Besides my uncle, New York Yankees Joe DiMaggio and comedian Red Skelton, all served with the Army, and were temporarily assigned to the Camp. DiMaggio autographed baseballs for wounded soldiers and gave hitting and fielding lessons, while Skelton made unannounced visits to the hospital. Knowing my uncle, he probably had a grand time playing guitar and making his fellow soldiers laugh with his fun sense of humor.

I hope you enjoy the following postcards and this peek into the past:

And here is a photograph of Kilmer in uniform:

Joyce Kilmer: December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918.

(General information on Camp Kilmer and Joyce Kilmer was gleaned from the National Archives and from the Poetry Foundation.)

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

 

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