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Rated: E · Short Story · Entertainment · #2208096
The Mojave desert.
         Recently I learned a little something new and special that I wasn't aware of before in my life. Everything has to start somewhere, and war heroes are no different than anyone else. No one would have ever thought that the great legendary Major General George S. Patton Jr. would have gotten his start outside of Needles, California in the Mojave desert, but he in fact did.

         At first I thought that this was a rather strange thing, but after hearing all of the facts it made all of the sense in the world to me. Ten divisional camps were established on approximately 18,000 square miles, which encompassed three states making this the largest military training area in the entire world. This was a perfect area, which was suitable for training soldiers for combat against the German Afrika Korps in the North African desert.

         General Patton commanded large scale training maneuvers in the Mojave desert for six months in 1942, before he was dispatched to North Africa in World War Two. The high temperatures, and the sandy terrain of the Mojave desert made this area perfect for the conditions necessary to properly prepare General Patton's troops.

         General Patton became the very first commanding General of this massive desert training area. He declined executive housing, and he stayed in a tent on post, and he also provided radios for the troops with money out of his own pocket. He flew in a small plane to over see the training operations of his troops.

         Close to one million troops were trained here until when the direction of World War Two changed in favor of the Allies. Finally in 1944 these desert training centers, and maneuver areas were closed.

         Today people still have to be careful, because military explosives can still be found in areas of the Mojave desert. There still remains some areas of the Mojave desert that are used for maneuvers, and bombing by the military services. It's really amazing how even war heroes like the famous General George S. Patton had to first start out somewhere like in the heat of the Mojave desert.

         I also learned a little something else new and special that I wasn't aware of before in my life, while I was in this very hot area of the world. It seemed that everywhere we went in the town of Needles, California we saw Snoopy. His photo was on signs around town. Stuffed animals of his likeness were sitting on counter tops at area motels, and even in display cases under the counters of local restaurants. It really didn't make a whole lot of sense at the time. It wasn't until after I returned home that a friend explained to me that Spike, who was Snoopy's older brother lived in the hot town of Needles, California. All of those Snoopy sightings suddenly make sense to me now! Needles, California was home to Snoopy's mustached older brother Spike, as well as to some other rough and tumble folks out there in the middle of the hot Mojave desert. You see you can learn something new everyday.


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