Monday, April 10, 2017

Fort Dix History Chapter IX - Post WWII - 1950s

Chapter IX


As the war swung decidedly in favor of the Allies, thoughts were directed to future dismantling of America’s powerful war machine.

As a start, a small separation center was ordered into operation at Fort Dix by the War Department in April 1944 to hasten the discharge processing of enlisted men.

An experiment at the time, this embryonic organization was the first of a series to be established in each service command in the United States. The center was charged with processing and discharging enlisted men within 48 hours after their arrival. This program was a marked improvement over earlier discharge procedures, which had required several weeks.

All men on the East Coast eligible for discharge were transferred to Fort Dix, where original induction procedures were reversed. First, the soldiers underwent physical examinations. Then they were classified for civilian occupations according to their Army duties and former civilian positions. They also received orientation and, in some cases, civilian clothing. Lastly, they received discharge papers, final pay and travel tickets home.

To provide operating personnel for these centers, a school was activated in July 1944 at Fort Dix. The school trained officers and enlisted men for duty at separation stations planned throughout the nation. Training consisted of a four-week course in interviewing and counseling soldiers being separated from the service. After the school operated at Dix for about six months, it moved on 22 January 1945 to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where it became part of the Adjutant General’s School. While at Dix the school graduated a total of 746 officers and enlisted men and women.

Separation centers were not the cold impersonal disassembly lines one would imagine. Several personal guidelines were considered at all times. Before individuals were returned to civilian life, center operators attempted to bring the separate face-to-face with the realization that their home communities were probably changed by war, and that their own interests also may have changed. Men wishing to use Army-acquired skills in civilian life were informed how these skills could be used. Each separatee was provided a record of his military experiences to help him get a job. Those with handicaps or physical limitations, who needed rehabilitation or development of a proper mental outlook, were given counsel. Thus, those operating the centers guided soldiers from the world they knew before the war into the post-war contemporary world. This was the humanitarian approach followed during the maximum 48 hours allotted each individual prior to his release from active service.

The system was set up none too soon. Separation activities steadily increased until it seemed they would be overwhelmed by the hordes of troops returning from the war. Separation Center 26, which had begun operations at Dix in April 1944, processed only 323 men that month. The volume slowly increased, and at the year’s end, 38,554 officers, enlisted men and WACs had been separated. This number was but a trickle preceding the later flood.

With the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Fort Dix took on a new prominence. During that year, the Separation Center expanded and became the largest in the nation. “R” (Redeployment) Day, 12 May 1945, was a notable date at Fort Dix when more than 2,000 troops in process for overseas shipment were screened for eligibility and placed in the separation stream. In order to separate as many eligible men as possible that day, all military and civilian personnel who could be spared were put to work in the Separation Center. Separations on R-Day were given worldwide coverage by news and motion picture services with two national radio hookups.

In September 1945, the Separation Center was placed on a 24-hour schedule, with 16 hours of actual processing and eight hours preparation of materials and administrative work. This was made possible by the assignment of additional military personnel to the Fort Dix Personnel Center and station complement. During the following month, daily discharges passed the 4,000 mark. The all-time national high for one month was reached in October when 113,401 personnel received their releases. 

The present Post Headquarters Administration building played a key role in the separation process.
In March 1946, the 1262nd Reception Center returned to Fort Dix, and this Army post was not the site of the Second Service Command’s only reception and separation center. The famous 1262nd formerly had been located at Dix but was moved to Fort Hancock on 17 October 1945 after Fort Dix became inundated with a flood of returning servicemen awaiting separation. During its previous five years at Dix before moving to Hancock, the 1262nd had processed 712,740 inductees. When the tide of returning personnel had receded, there was again room at Dix for the 1262nd Reception Center. There also was room for the 1220th Reception Center from Fort Monmouth. This unit was inactivated and its personnel transferred to the 1262nd.

Fort Dix discharged 508,069 in 1945, and another 556,697 were returned to civilian life in 1946. In September 1946, Staff Sergeant Albert Cuchessi of Newark, New Jersey, a veteran of five and one half years and a prisoner of the Japanese for three years, five months, became the 1,000,000th World War II veteran to be separated at Fort Dix. Altogether Dix separated 1,182,118 World War II vets. Even this was a costly venture; total disbursements at the post for only a two-year period ending 31 March 1947 amounted to well over a half-billion dollars ($556,415,450.92) 

With the cessation of hostilities in Europe and the evacuation of fewer casualties from that theater of operations, the number of admissions to Tilton General Hospital from overseas dropped markedly during the last half of 1945. However, the work load of Tilton Hospital remained at capacity because of the rapidly increasing activities at the Fort Dix Separation Center. The daily tally at the hospital rarely fell below 4,000 for 1945, and the average was closer to 4,500 each day during the later months.

In 1945, cadet nurses of the Army attended the Second Service Command Nurses Basic Training School at Tilton to complete their final six months of training. Although the average number of cadets attending was 90, the graduating class of May 1945 numbered 400. Upon graduation some were assigned to Tilton and the remainder transferred to other medical facilities throughout the world. The program at Fort Dix was completed in the spring of 1946.

During the post-war years, Tilton General Hospital suffered an extremely high turnover among enlisted personnel when many qualified for overseas duty were so assigned. Replacements returned at a slow rate from overseas theaters.

The most rapid turnover in officer personnel came in the latter months of 1945 with the cessation of hostilities. Large numbers of Medical Corps officers returned from overseas, but many were eligible for release from active duty. Because of this, difficulties were encountered in filling hospital vacancies. This led not only to a critical shortage of medical officers at the hospital but difficulty in disposition of patients.

Towards the end of 1945, almost every chief of service, chief of section and qualified specialist became eligible for release from active duty, resulting in the assignment of practically a complete new staff. For quite some time, a definite shortage of personnel continued to exist in many specialties, including the Orthopedic Section, which alone had a monthly work load of 1,200 to 2,100 patients. 

The history of the Tilton General Hospital shows a peak load in January 1946 when there were 4,250 admissions and 3,650 dispositions. However, because of the sharply reduced level of activity in spring of that year, some of the converted ramp wards were closed and the remainder held ready for emergency use. But, the closed wards at Tilton had to be reopened late in 1946 because of a sudden increase in hospital admissions and the closing of other general hospitals in the East.

Thus, Tilton General Hospital continued to maintain a patient load of approximately 4,000. Difficulties were increased during the latter part of 1946 when turnover figures for the hospital’s medical officers reached a new high. Despite these setbacks, Tilton General continued to perform efficiently with a nucleus of skilled officer personnel and through the untiring efforts of all personnel assigned.

The Medical Administration Branch of the Army had a prominent role in the history of Tilton. It performed the many administrative duties necessary in so great an undertaking. During the first two and a half years of the war, a relatively small number of Medical Administrative Corps officers were assigned to Tilton. As more administrative officers became available upon graduation from Officers Candidate School, the number assigned to Tilton greatly increased until 85 were members of the Tilton staff. They relieved Medical Corps officers of a large share of administrative duties, thus giving the doctors more time to spend on their growing professional commitments. However, buy 31 December 1946, the number of medical administrative officers had been reduced to 52.

In January 1947, the average daily patient load of Tilton General Hospital was 4, 277, but as the year progressed, this figure gradually decreased. By the end of 1947, the daily average had dropped to 1, 590 patients and remained at that figure until the end of 1948. The decrease of patients solved many problems caused during peak periods. Among these had been overcrowding of available bed space for patients and limited housing facilities for duty personnel.

In 1949, Tilton General Hospital was redesignated Fort Dix Station Hospital and its functions as a general hospital terminated. Its area of responsibility for service was limited to that of a station hospital. During the next ten years, little change in the status, buildings or staff organization took place. Even during the Korean War, when large numbers of troops were trained on the post, few changes were made in hospital facilities. Buildings and contents were maintained and repaired. But the aging material and equipment gradually became increasingly more difficult to maintain.

However, a significant addition occurred in October 1958. To supplement the post’s Station Hospital complement, the 4th Field Hospital was transferred from Fort Devens to Dix. Activated on 30 June 1942 at Camp Young, California, the 4th Field Hospital was attached to the Desert Training Center and later shipped to north Africa. Arriving in Cairo, Egypt, on 11 November 1942, the unit saw service in Libya, Tripoli, Tunisia and Italy before inactivation on 10 September 1945. Reactivated 5 August 1949, the 4th Field Hospital completed assignments in Colorado, Canada, Alaska and finally Korea. Inactivated a second time on 1 November 1951, the unit was recalled again on 11 February 1952 and sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama. The 4th stayed there for a year before its transfer to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where it remained until being ordered to Fort Dix.

In March 1946, the Army Service Forces had instituted a basic training program, and Fort Dix, along with its responsibilities as a separation center, was named a Signal Corps Replacement Training Center. Primarily designed to teach military fundamentals to recent inductees who had been assigned military jobs immediately on entering the service, the program included all men who had not received a minimum of six weeks’ basic training.

On a higher training level, a leadership school for enlisted men opened in September 1946. Its purpose was to prepare potential noncommissioned officers for promotion to the top three enlisted grades, which then were master sergeant, technical sergeant and staff sergeant.

The Fort Dix Army Field became an Air Force installation in 1947 when the unification act of that year made the US Air Force a separate department. The modern history of the base began on 17 September 1949, when it was officially dedicated in honor of Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr., one of the leading fighter aces of World War II. Although McGuire Air Force Base is no longer an integral part of Fort Dix, the sight and sound of jet aircraft in the air over the post are a constant reminder of its presence.

On 15 July 1947, the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated and assumed responsibility for all post activities. With this move, Fort Dix and the 9th Division became one and the same. Units of the division had earned fame in World War I at Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Mouse-Argonne and Alsace-Lorraine. In World War II, the division fought in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sicily, Normandy, Falaise Gap, the Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland and the Ruhr. It spearheaded the breakthrough at St. Lo, earning the nickname “Hitler’s Nemeis.”

While at Dix, the 9th Infantry Division’s primary mission was to train newly enlisted personnel of the Army Field Forces in basic military subjects for a period of 14 weeks.

To provide for the continuing influx of troops, several modifications appeared in the structure of units on the post in 1948. In January, the 364th Infantry Regiment, which had been activated at Dix as part of the 9th Division in November 1947, began to cycle individual companies. In June, the 47th Infantry Regiment, which had been returned to the training picture eight months earlier but remained at zero strength, was named as the 9th Infantry Division Specialist Training Regiment. Its mission was to train mechanics, clerks and cooks. The unit had the capability to train more than 1,700 students at a time. Because of the growing numbers of trainees entering Fort Dix, the division increased to six training regiments in July. Later, in November 1948, the first contingent of new Jersey selectees arrived at Dix under the Selective Service Act of 1948, and in the same month, reenlistments at Fort Dix hit an all-time high.

Meanwhile, for months several hundred acres of woodland that surrounded the airfield at Fort Dix were used for target practice by jet fighter units from Andrews Field, Maryland.

In line with an economy program, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, was inactivated and its Personnel Center ordered to Dix in 1949. Upon completion of the move, which started 15 November, the center began operations at Dix as a separate headquarters under the commanding general, 9th Infantry Division. However, following the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950, the Personnel Center closed its activities at Fort Dix and returned in September to a reactivated Fort Kilmer.

Because the Korean War had increased the flow of personnel to the post, the 364th Infantry Regiment, which had been inactive since July 1949, was reactivated at Dix in March 1951 to assist in the training load.

Among the influx of young men reporting to the post were 31 aliens who enlisted in Germany and started basic training at Fort Dix in October 1951 under a rather effective “buddy system.” Upon arrival in their basic training companies, they were assigned to individual trainees who guided and helped them adjust to the American way of life, both in military and in social spheres. In addition, special classes at the Fort Dix Information and Education Center were started in November 1951 to qualify them for citizenship before completion of their enlistments.

During the world tensions of the early 1950s, Fort Dix not only received men in ever increasing numbers but shipped them overseas at a greatly increased rate. Consequently, the installation experimented with a somewhat different overseas replacement concept. Under the system, adopted by the Army in July 1953, trained companies were shipped intact, and once at their new assignments, personnel served together, if possible. It was felt this system would inspire morale, instill men with a higher espirit de corps, and allow them to adjust more easily to overseas conditions.

Earlier, in 1952, President Harry S. Truman announced that men of the Regular Army, Enlisted Reserve and National Guard, whose expiration dates to active service were between 1 July 1952 and 1 July 1953, would be extended for nine months. However, during the closing days of the Korean War, the men were not required to fulfill the entire length of the extension. While some of the men were beginning to serve the extended time, reserve officers from 10 units in New York and New Jersey arrived at Dix in July 1952 to start a 15-day period of Organized Reserve Corps schooling. The schools were established for officers who desired to fulfill their summer camp obligation but for whom no vacancies existed in reserve organizations. 

During the closing months of the Korean War starting in April 1953, the number of authorized permanent party personnel with the 9th Infantry Division was increased by almost 350. The Food Service School at Dix enlarged and became the only school of its kind in the First Army area. Immediately, the number of students in this course doubled. Later in October, personnel increased again when the Reception Center at Fort Devens and Camp Kilmer were discontinued and reestablished at Fort Dix.

The basic training mission of Dix further expanded in July when it began to train men scheduled to attend such schools as transportation, quartermaster, chemical and adjutant general. Previously, most men slated for specialty schools of this type received their initial training at the posts that conducted the schools. For example, a soldier going to the Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Virginia, went there directly from a reception center to receive eight weeks of basic training before starting school. Under the revised procedure, a soldier would first come to Dix, complete his basic training, and then be shipped to Fort Eustis. This change insured greater training efficiency and proved more economical.

An important change took place at Dix in April 1954. The 9th Infantry Division was transferred to US Army Europe (USAREUR) to become part of the European Command. The transfer was strictly on paper, the movement of personnel was not involved. At the same time, the 69th Infantry Division was activated at Dix by the Department of the Army. All personnel and organic units previously assigned to the 9th Infantry Division were redesigned and assigned to the 69th Infantry Division.

Originally activated in May 1943, the 69th Division was assigned to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and then sent overseas to the European Theater of Operations in November 1944. Entering combat in the Morichau sector under V Corps of the Fifteenth US Army, the division helped crack the Siegfried Line in that area. On 25 April 1945, the 69th made the war’s first American contact with the Russians at the Elbe River.

In May 1954, the 365th Infantry Regiment was reactivated to assist in training and an expected increased number of inductees assigned to fort Dix due to the stepped-up summer draft and closing down of several other training installations. The 69th Infantry Division was tasked to conduct basic and advanced individual training. Training was divided into two phases, the first, eight weeks of basic combat training and then advanced individual training, qualifying soldiers in Army skills. The second phase of training was divided into two distinct groups, advanced and technical. Trainees assigned to advanced infantry training were molded into well-disciplined, physically conditioned soldiers with sufficient military training to enable them to be integrated into coordinated teams, such as rifle squads, mortar crews or machine gun squads. Trainees assigned to advanced technical training attended one of a variety of schools: administration, supply, bandsman, mechanic, radio operator or cook.

During the year the 69th was reactivated at Dix, the post was the site of several important raining methods research projects. In January, more than 1,000 trainees were involved in a six-month Department of the Army study aimed at discovering more efficient procedures for improving the Army’s basic training program. Several companies of the 47th Infantry Regiment were chosen for the study.

Dix was named one of six posts during February 1954 to organize transitional training units for inductees who in civilian life did not have the chance to raise their education above the fourth-grade level. Men in these transitional units were given two to four weeks of schooling preceding their basic training. This schooling further increased the men’s capacity to assimilate the basic training program.
According to the installation newspaper, the Fort Dix Post, 63 percent more soldiers completed basic training during Fiscal Year 1954, which ended 30 June 1954, than the previous year. But there was more to come. Fort Dix had a November 1954 population of more than 40,000, of which 25,000 were basic trainees in 74 companies. In addition, approximately 3,000 were taking specialized training in various schools. The largest input for any peacetime month occurred at the Reception Station during January 1955, when 8,910 processed into the Army. Of these, 4,310 were draftees, 4, 346 first team regulars; and the remainder enlisted reservists. The busiest day was 28 January, when 717 recruits filled the station – 554 enlisting for service as the Korean GI Bill deadline neared.

In the meantime, a radically different concept to replace major overseas units had been adopted by the Department of the Army in 1954. Dubbed “Operation Gyroscope,” entire overseas divisions and separate smaller units were replaced by like units stationed in the States. To meet the manpower requirements of these units destined for overseas, a great number of personnel was shuttled within the Continental Army Command.

Nine hundred trainees shipped from the Reception Station at Fort Dix to the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during the first week of February 1955. The shipment of trainees brought the total number of off-post shipments since the first of this year to more than 3,500. Earlier, January shipments had gone to the 10th Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas; 101st Airborne Division, Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and the 5th Armored Division, Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. The 10th Division, after receiving additional Dix shipments in March and May, later was transferred to Germany, replacing the 1st Infantry Division.

Late in May, the input of the Reception Station dropped about 30 percent, and only four instead of the normal eight Fort Dix basic training companies began to cycle each week. The deceased number of trainees coming through the center resulted from a cut of Selective Service calls. The nation’s draft call dropped from an average of about 23,000 per month to 11,000, decreasing Fort Dix’ monthly training load of draftees from 4,500 to 2,500. However, the number of enlistees received and trained at the post each month remained at 1,500.

The 331st Military Police (Criminal Investigation) Detachment, which had been at Dix since March 1951, was transferred to Fort Smith, Arkansas, in Feruary 1955. The 40th Military Police Detachment (CI), a unite that would stay at Dix until its reassignment to Vietnam in August 1965, was activated in its place.

The Fort Dix Noncommissioned Officers Academy opened its first class on 23 May 1955. Designed to train noncommissioned officers as cadre and junior leaders, the six-week course offered refresher or preparatory training to its classes. The first four weeks consisted of academic study and the final two weeks practical training in a unit.

When first activated, personnel of the NCO Academy, which included students in the Advanced Leaders Course, were housed in the 879th Field Artillery Battalion of the 69th Infantry Division Artillery. In retraining top three-graders, who were in overstrength noncombatant fields, to a combat military occupational specialty. The next month, the NCO Academy was placed under supervision of the Specialist Training Regiment.

Meanwhile, it was announced that Camp Kilmer’s Personnel Center activities would shift to Fort Dix around the first of July 1955. Making the move to Fort Dix gradually and without a massive influx of personnel, the center took over areas formerly occupied by the inactivated 271st and 273rd Infantry Regiments.

The move of the 1264th Service unite from Camp Kilmer started on 18 June 1955, as 128 officers, 15 warrant officers and 1,083 enlisted men arrived at Dix on a permanent change of station. With the move, Fort Dix’ 1299th Service Unit was disbanded and its personal and activities made a part of the 1264th. While at Camp Kilmer, the 1264th had processed men en route to Europe and the Caribbean, received returning troops from those areas, and processed them for leave, reassignment or separation. The same missions remained with the unit while at Dix. The move to inactivate Kilmer, a temporary World War II camp near New Brunswick, New Jersey, was expected to save the Army about $1,400,000 with manpower reduced by 1,150 military and 400 civilian personnel.

In July 1955, Dix transferred approximately 1,000 operating personnel to the 74th Infantry Regimental Combat Team at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The move was made in an attempt to bring all general reserve unites in the First Army area to full strength and combat readiness.

Early in January 1956, Department of the Army issued orders directing major units and installations to reclassify or retrain enlisted personnel in the top three grades (master sergeants, sergeants first class and sergeants) holding military occupation specialties in excess of the Army’s needs. The Armywide program transferred thousands of NCOs into the combat arms, e.g., infantry artillery, armor. At Fort Dix this reclassification affected administrative and military police NCOs and specialists. In line with this action to balance skills with requirements in the upper pay grades, the top three specialist grades, whose military functions were in the excess category, had an opportunity to regain noncommissioned officer status by volunteering for a number of critical specialties. Volunteers for the critical fields were either retrained or reclassified administratively if their previous training or experience qualified them for another job.

With the weeding out of excess personnel, a reorganization of the post’s Service Troops, 1262nd Area Service Unit, went into effect on 16 January 1956. The major change was the redesignation of two detachments and the discontinuance of two others.

Under the reorganization, Service Troops consisted of a Headquarters Company, a Faculty Detachment, the 69th Military Police Company and a WAC Detachment. Two other units were attached to the 1st Battalion – the 40th Military Police Detachment (CI) and the 19th Finance Disbursing Section, included in the 2nd Battalion were a Headquarters Company, 69th Replacement Company, first US Army Training Aids Subcenter, 1195th Service Unit, 664th Ordinance Company (Ammunition) and the 553rd Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Demolition). Under a separate organization, and on a battalion level was the Post Stockade. The 716th Military Police Battalion, which was assigned to Vietnam in early 1965, and the 86th Engineer Battalion, a unit that remained on post until embarkation for Vietnam in September 1966, also were subordinate units of Service Troops.

This organizational structure, however, was short-lived, for in April 1956 another change occurred in Service Troops as the two battalion headquarters and their detachments were discontinued. All subordinate units, regardless of size, were placed directly under the commanding officer of Service Troops.

Shipments of recruits to Dix dropped off sharply and “Operation Gyroscope<’ which sent many men from induction centers in the East directly to the 8th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. Because of the basic training reduction at Fort Dix, gradual suspension of training activities was ordered in February 1956 as each company of the 272nd Infantry ended its cycle. After the March closure of the unit, the 364th and 365th Infantry Regiments assumed the full training load.

Meanwhile, on 16 March 1956, all Army training center divisions, including the 69th Infantry Division at Fort Dix, surrendered their numerical designations. On this date, the Army installations at Wrightstown became the United States Army Training Center, Infantry, Fort Dix, New Jersey, and the 69th was inactivated. 

The change in terminology provided a designation that clearly indicated the center’s basic mission of training, and in no way affected the strength of the post. The three training regiments took on other numerical designations, with the 365th becoming the 1st Training Regiment, the 364th and 2nd Training Regiment, and the 272nd and 3rd Training Regiment Operation of common specialist courses was taken over by the Specialist Training Regiment. In July 1957, because of the increased number of recruits to arrive on the post, the 4th Training Regiment was formally activated. The increase was partly due to an added option of the Reserve Forces Act of 1956k - - the six-month program for reservists and guardsmen. A new era had begun at Fort Dix earlier in August 1956 when the first Reserve Forces Act trainees arrived to start basic training. The initial figure of 315 men arriving that month was greatly multiplied during the ensuing years as the six-month program grew in popularity and scope.

Meanwhile, a welfare committee was organized at Fort Dix in July 1957 to study and eliminate local regulations found to be unnecessary and particularly irritating to officers, enlisted men, and their dependents. The committee was established to implement an order issued to all installations in the First US Army area. According to the order, the committee must pay “special attention to those directives which are irksome and tend to take the joy out of life in the military service.” It was thought these unnecessary regulations seriously impaired the reenlistment program and that young officers were returning to civilian life for more enjoyable and rewarding careers.

Previously, in April 1956, the post’s NCO Advisory Council had been established. Its main function was to serve as a means of presenting to the commanding general problems, suggestions and recommendations concerning the welfare of enlisted men. Later, in November 1956, the First Army commander had directed installation commanders to take vigorous action to cut down on the high rate of resignations among junior officers by assigning these officers to duties commensurate with their rank, experience and educational background. Typical of the problems such committees considered were the allocation of post housing and excessive requirements to sign certificates indicating completion of a responsibility. Married personnel received special consideration from the committee.
Fort Dix was chosen in October 1957 by the Department of the Army to test the formation of “carrier companies,” which were shipped overseas intact upon completion of advanced military training. The companies were built around four-man teams, whose members were chosen by common backgrounds. Although the companies were sometimes dismantled upon arrival overseas, the teams normally remained intact.

An important phase of today’s basic training requirements originated in June 1958. Introduced for the first time was a training area called “Proficiency Park,” where basic trainees were tested on subjects they had learned during the previous weeks. The part placed trainees in an environment similar to the subject matter, such as barbed wire enclosure to simulate a miniature prison and a station to test aptitude with weapons. Each of the 15 stations at Proficiency Park was as realistic as possible.

A revised and accelerated eight-week basic combat training program returning bayonet and hand-to-hand combat instruction to the trainee was reintroduced to Fort Dix in January 1959. While the length of the cycle was not extended, the hours were readjusted to place greater stress on fundamentals of military training. Emphasis was placed on motivational training, (and) in (the) history and traditions of the Army and country.

Also stressed was increased proficiency in the use of weapons, drill and ceremonies and the physical fitness program. Tactical training, including anti-guerilla warfare, anti-infiltration warfare, and camouflage and concealment, was condensed into 14 hours. This enabled recruits to spend more time, from eight to 16 hours, on marching and tactical bivouac training. Dismounted drill (today known as Army drill) also was emphasized when training in the subject increased from 16 to 25 hours.
Because of disturbing reports concerning reports concerning poor marksmanship per volume of fire in World War II and Korea, Continental Army Command officials in 1953 began studying proposals to revives rifle training in the interest of realism and motivation.

It was noted during the Korean War that as many as 50,000 rounds were expended for every enemy casualty. The study resulted in the Trainfire system, which later became the Army’s Basic Rifle Marksmanship Course, replacing the Known Distance (KD) system. Under the old concept, a soldier would fire at a standard bull’s-eye from distances of 100, 200, 300 and 500 yards – which was great for precision shooting but not for combat practice. The combat-type silhouette Trainfire targets of the new system were concealed in woods and seen only fleetingly. Electrically operated, they popped up unpredictably at ranges from 50 to 350 meters.

The first part of the four-phase program was the 60-point and 110-point, 25-meter range. Without the aid of slings, trainees fired at semi-circular bull’s-eyes from sitting, kneeling and standing positions immediately after learning each position.  The next part was the 35-point, filed firing range. Here the trainee fired at silhouette targets, which popped up in full view at 75, 175 and 300 meters. The third area of instruction was target detection in which trainees scanned the woods for concealed human targets that they detected by sight, movement and sound. The final phase was the 16-point, record-fire range which tested the trainee’s ability to use the instruction received during phases two and three. This 480-meter firing line simulated an actual combat firing line. Each firer was responsible for concealed pop-up targets in a 30-meter wide sector. Sixty-four first-round hits on 112 targets qualified a firer as an expert.

Construction of the Trainfire ranges at Fort Di began late in 1958, and they were ready for use on 11 May 1959. Located along Range Road, the ranges were from five to eight miles from the post headquarters. Trainfire permitted an eight-hour reduction in rifle training and saved man-hours by eliminating pit details. When all of the programmed ranges were in operation, five companies could be handled each week with no problem.

Between the years 1952 and 1959, the 1387th Replacement Company underwent several redesignations before assuming its present nomenclature. In 1952, the unit was designated 9th Replacement Company, 9th Infantry Division, only to be renamed two years later the 69th Replacement Company, 69th Division. It remained the 69th until 1956 when it was redesignated Replacement Company, United States Army Training Center, Infantry. The year 1959 saw the unit renamed Replacement Company (1387-1), USATC, Infantry.

The 60th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Squad was activated 27 January 1952 at Raritan Arsenal, Metuchen, New Jersey. On 15 March, shortly after completing basic unit training, the squad moved to Fort Dix, where it was attached to Detachment 13, 1262nd Area Supporting Unit. On 8 March 1954, the 60th took on an added duty of providing explosive ordinance disposal support for Burlington County as well as Fort Dix. In June 1954, the unit was reorganized and its name changed to the 60th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

As Fort Dix gained in importance as a training center, a considerable amount of capital improvement was undertaken. In September 1945, a post-war utilization study of Fort Dix by the Office of Chief of Engineers concluded that the post was considered “satisfactory for post-war retention.” The report noted that major improvements considered essential to maintain a permanent active installation with a strength of 25,015 men would include installation of concrete curbs and sidewalks and drainage structure as part of soil erosion control. Bridges needed to be strengthened and roads improved. The cost of providing permanent troop barracks, housing for married officers and NCOs, and remodeling of existing mobilization-type billets for post-war use was estimated to be in the neighborhood of $16 million. At that time, 90 percent of the post’s facilities had been constructed hastily during World War II and were of a temporary nature, made of wood and not meant to last more than five years. But with diligent maintenance, the five years were stretched to 20 and today many still are being used.

In the early post-World War II era, Fort Dix was bustling with activities of the Separation Center, Reception Center, and the training of new troops. But little construction activity took place. During the summer and fall of 1945, five tent areas housing 11,000 men were used. By the end of the year, the Separation Center included 223 World War II temporary barracks, 333 hutments, and 142 other buildings.

Other signs of the times were apparent at Dix as the old began to give way to the new. The Fort Dix narrow-gauge railroad, which had been constructed during World War I to move troops to the firing ranges and used during World War II, was retired from service after its last run in 1945. This miniature railroad was considered too costly to repair and maintain.

In October 1948, the Army attacked the housing shortage at Fort Dix by proposing construction of permanent facilities for both training and permanent party. The Army wanted to replace existing wooden barracks with permanent structures. The old barracks not only lacked comfort but required costly rehabilitation every few years. The new barracks, it was decided, should offer reasonable privacy, with troop bays divided into “units” of four to eight persons each. Existing open barracks housed 52 or more persons.

Nest to be considered was construction of sufficient permanent quarters for officers and senior NCOs. More than 700 officers had been forced to live off post, some as far as 65 miles away. More than 100 families of officers and enlisted men were living on post in trailers. Aside from new construction, the program called for a general rehabilitation and modernization of facilities then in use.

During the Korean War, actual construction began on new barracks and homes and continued at a rapid pace. An additional 398 family units were provide in June 1951 by converting unused facilities of the old Station Hospital (Tilton Annex) to accommodate enlisted personnel and their dependents. In addition, in the fall of 1951, natural gas came into use for kitchen appliances and water heaters, replacing coal. While only in the testing stage, utilization of gas was studied carefully for possible post-wide use.

To meet the continuing need to relieve crowded housing conditions caused by the swelling military population, Department of the Army authorized the addition of 300 family quarters for married personnel at Dix. These homes, built in the northwest sector of Fort Dix in the vicinity of Hanover Homes under the Wherry Housing Act, were opened for assignment to post personnel with families in February 1952. The Wherry complex, known as Sheridanville, was named after Private First Class Carl V. Sheridan, who was awarded the Medal of Honor while serving in Germany in 1944 with Company K of the 47th Infantry Regiment. Private Sheridan was killed while making the final assault on Frenzenburg Castle, Weisweiler, Germany, on 26 November 1944. As a bazooka gunner, Sheridan advanced alone under constant fire across the castle courtyard to the drawbridge entrance. There he calmly blasted the great oak door by firing three bazooka shells into it. As a final gesture he beckoned to his comrades to follow and charge through the opened entrance. Although his .45 cal. pistol was blasting, the was cut down by enemy fire that greeted him.

Other construction completed during the early ‘50s included a new officers open mess, a new fire headquarters, a civilian personnel building and a 21-classroom school for dependents, near the junction of the Juliustown Road and the Pemberton-Pointville Road.

In December 1952, construction of garden apartments at Fort Dix was completed, and 300 units became available to military families. This development, constructed under provisions of the Wherry Housing Act and named Nelson Courts, is located on Lexington Avenue between Sheridanville and the warehouse and railroad siding.

In 1955, Nelson Courts was dedicated in honor of Sergeant William L. Nelson, who had been posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during World War II. Sergeant Nelson was mortally wounded at Djebel Daydys, northeast of Sedjenance, Tunisia, on 24 April 1943. Nelson had led his section of heavy mortars to a forward position. He then crawled alone to an advance observation point and directed a concentrated mortar barrage that repulsed the initial enemy counterattack. After sustaining a mortal wound during that action he advanced to another observation position and directed additional mortar barrages. He died only 50 yards from the enemy.

The problem of housing during the Fifties was an ever-present one. In December 1956, construction of a bachelor officers’ quarters on the corner of Maryland Avenue and West First Street was completed. Four hundred Wherry family units also were completed in 1956, taken over by the Army, and paid for by occupants from their monthly rental allowances. This project, known as Kennedy Courts, is located northeast of the post school in the area bounded by West 17th Street, New Jersey Avenue, Juliustown Road and Pemberton-Pointville Road. It was named in honor of Major General Case W. Kennedy, the first commanding general of Camp Dix and commander of the 78th “Lightning” Division when it was mobilized at Dix in August 1917.

Three years later, a 702-unit Capehart duplex housing development, located in a triangular section between the Pemberton-Pointville Road and Juliustown Road, to the rear of the post school, was completed. The 702 units, together with 90 company grade officers’ quarters and 100 NCO quarters were constructed earlier, brought to 892 the total number of units in the development. This complex, known as Garden Terrace, was the last housing project prior to 1960.

Meanwhile, during the middle Fifties, Fort Dix began a long-range troop housing project under the Military Construction Army (MCA) Program. Twenty-seven permanent barracks with mess facilities were constructed in two different complexes, as part of $31 million expansion program. Included were 11 barracks between Alabama Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, which are now occupied by Special Troops, its attached units, and Committee Groups.

The second complex includes 16 permanent company-sized barracks and a motor pool along Texas Avenue, currently occupied by the 1st Advanced Individual Training Brigade. Each dormitory-type barracks in the two complexes houses a complete company, equipped with a game room, stereo room and TV lounge. The barracks offer a greater degree of privacy to the soldier than the old open barracks. Platoons are housed in bays, which are divided into eight-man cubicles. Banks of wall lockers divide the bay down the center. 

In 1955, a $3.1 million improvement program to modernize 181 temporary wooden barracks at Dix took place. Automatic heating and hot water systems were among the improvements.
The construction of other capital structures during the latter half of the Fifties accounts for several of today’s large buildings. In October 1956, the quartermaster administration building, which now houses the clothing store, was completed. In addition to its normal stock of military attire, the store services the First US Army area for WAC uniforms.

In August 1956, groundbreaking took place for the Lakeside Service Club in the 1st Training Regiment Area at Nashville and Tennessee Avenue. Dedicated 22 November 1957, the 27,000-square-foot, air-conditioned structure included all up-to-date service club facilities. At the same time, ground was broken for the $322,000 John S. Marshall Dental Clinic, which was opened 7 June 1958. The Main Post Exchange on New York Avenue was completed in October 1957. Another 60-man bachelor officers’ quarters was constructed at Maryland Avenue and First Street. Holly Crest, a development of 17 family housing units for colonels, and Grove Park, family housing area for 66 lieutenant colonels, also were built in 1957 and 1958. Groundbreaking for the new modern 500-bed Walson Army Hospital took place on 18 February 1957. Completed in 1960, this nine-story structure originally contained a gross floor area of 327,820 square feet.

In August 1959, a newly constructed theater with seating capacity of 1,004 was dedicated to the memory of First Lieutenat Karl H. Timmerman, Infantry. The air-conditioned theater contained the largest stereophonic and cinemascope facilities, plus a large stage completely equipped for live performances.

Lieutenant Timmermann had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his action at Remagen Bridge, Germany, 7 March 1945. During the action he was commander of Company A, 27th Armored Infantry Battalion, 9th Armored Division. Timmermann’s leadership was instrumental in Company A securing Ramagen Bridge, the first bridge over the Rhine River to fall into Allied hands. He received little personal publicity, though much has been given to capture of the bridge and its strategic consequences.

In The Battle at Ramagen, Ken Hechler vividly relates Lieutenant Timmermann’s heroic efforts and lack of national recognition. To quote in part from the final chapter: “The first officer across the Rhine, Lieutenant Karl Timmermann, returned to his hometown of West Point, Nebraska, after the war, a lone figure trudging into town with his barracks bag slung over his shoulder. His reception committee consisted of one little dog who snarled and snapped at his heels. The silence was oppressive. Lieutenant Timmermann rejoined the Army in 1948, fought in the Inchon Invasion of Korea, but then cancer struck him down and he died in an Army hospital in 1951. West Point, Nebraska, has no tablet to his memory. 1 (Kenneth W. Hechler, The Bridge at Remagen, pp. 189-190)

In the way of range facilities, 11 small arms ranges, three projectile ranges, and a Trainfire range were built during the post-war era and 1950s.

In March 1953 a new moonlight firing range, the first of its type to be built in the United States, was placed in operation at Dix. The range was created to train soldiers to fire accurately at night under simulated battle conditions. An automatic electronic firing course, including stationary and moving targets, was put into operation in May 1953 on Range 1A, the small arms night marksmanship range. The 1959 construction of the first Trainfire range marked the beginning of the Army’s Basic Rifle Marksmanship Course, which replaced the Know Distance system.

Much of the post maintenance and construction was handled by the 86th Engineer Battalion, a unit that supported engineering requirements of the First US Army. Assigned to Dix in March 1954, the 86th was stationed here until September 1966, when it left for Vietnam. During its 12 years at Dix, the unit constructed and maintained the post’s ranges and repaired utilities.

In September 1954, two companies from the 86th, then a construction battalion, saved the Army more than $100,000 by building two ranges themselves instead of contracting for outside firms to do the job. Not only were the ranges built for less money than was originally estimated, they also were finished in record time. In 1956, the battalion gained recognition by rapidly refurbishing Camp Kilmer for use by Hungarian Revolt refugees.

The 15 years after World War II saw the building of 48 storage facilities and warehouses, two dispensaries, 17 administration buildings, approximately 2,000 family housing units, 20 detached garages, 27 troop barracks with messes, and other miscellaneous projects and major structures already mentioned.

Not the least to be recognized was creation of the giant, charging infantryman known as “The Ultimate Weapon,” who stands tall in Infantry Park across the street from Timmerman Theater. The 3,000-pound statute of a foot soldier in action was unveiled by General Bruce C. Clarke, commander of Continental Army Command, on 20 March 1959.

The statute was created by two soldier-sculptors, Specialist Four Steven M. Goodman and Private First Class Stuart J. Scherr of Headquarters Company, Specialist Training Regiment, who worked for nine months to create The Ultimate Weapon from a photograph and an 18-inch clay model. They were assisted by Private Emilio V. Gamba and Theodore Dittmer, both of the same unit. The statue memorializes the modern infantryman in attack and stands 14 foot tall. On its 11-foot pedestal is inscribed, The Ultimate Weapon – The Infantryman.” Statistics of The Ultimate Weapon statue note a 13-inch broad forehead, a 40-inch neck, a 90-inch chest, 56-inch arms, 70-inch waste and six-foot legs. He carries 185 pounds of combat equipment, including a six-foot M-14 rifle and ammunition. This Fort Dix landmark honors infantry soldiers past and present.

The 1950s saw much of the construction that transformed Fort Dix into a permanent concrete post. However, this changeover still is not completed, and it may be left to the decade of the Seventies to see it finished.

During the Fifties, Fort Dix headquarters made greater efforts to encourage those who wished to improve their education. Opportunities for schooling were improved and library facilities enlarged.

In June 1950 plans were made to open an extension of Rutgers University at Fort Dix. Rutgers agreed to organize and conduct a program of schooling in liberal arts and business administration. Open to all Fort Dix personnel, excluding trainees, classes started in September 1950. To further the cause of advanced education on the post, it was announced in September 1956 that Temple University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, would offer extension courses in education, investments and mental hygiene at the Army Education Center.

In support of the post’s expanding educational program, a Special Services Post Library had been opened in the fall of 1950. It was located in former Chapel #6 on Pennsylvania Avenue, which had been redecorated and furnished with the latest library equipment. The early Post Library offered more than 15,000 volumes, with thousands more in various branch units throughout the post. By 1956, the entire Post Library system contained 50,000 volumes. A system of bookmobiles supplied patients in Fort Dix Station Hospital wards with books. The library provided its avid readers with 56 newspapers plus magazines and duplicate subscriptions that numbered 386. Twelve hundred classical and light classical phonograph records were available for listening.

The Post Library moved its facilities on 15 August 1957 across from the old chapel site to a renovated building, which it continues to occupy. The new site, located next to the current Pennsylvania Avenue bowling alley, comprised 10,500 square feet and could seat 200 persons. It includes a music room, catalog room, reference room, MOS library, three administration offices and the main book shelf area. Branch libraries also were opened during the post-war period.

Besides libraries, Special Services operated various other facilities for the relaxation of troops, including service clubs, hobby shops and movie theaters. During the 1950s, service club facilities were improved and increased. Four Dix service clubs were completely refurnished and redecorated in 1955, and the new Lakeside Services Club (mentioned previously) was built in 1957. The clubs, enhanced by a pleasant atmosphere, provided television viewing rooms, music rooms with phonograph and musical instruments, games, writing desks, typewriters, branches of the post library, and a snack bar. During one quarter alone in 1955, the four older clubs handled 194,000 visiting civilians and soldiers.

Other forms of Special Services entertainment for soldiers included traveling showmen who performed in the Sports Arena or one of the theaters. Some of the entertainers were Louis Prima and his orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestra, featuring vocalist Eleanor Powell; Dorothy Collins, the sweetheart of Lucky Strike’s “Your Hit Parade”: the famous television personality, Dagmar; number of others. Guy Lombardo and his orchestra; Blue Barron and his orchestra; Stan Kenton’s orchestra; and a number of others.

With the growing number of privately owned vehicles on post, mechanically inclined military personnel at Dix on 1 May 1957, with the opening of a Special Services six-bay Automobile Crafts Shop for use by Dix military personnel. Mechanics were present at the Special Services shop to advise and instruct car owners in the repair of their vehicles. The car owners, however, did their own work, and tools and equipment for all minor repairs were loaned in the shop. In addition, wash racks, grease pits and an outside ramp were available to Dix-stationed personnel. By 1967, an average of 2,500 car buffs made use of the facility monthly.

For those on the post with a spark of creativity, a Special Services Arts and Crafts Center, with 18,600 square feet of floor space, was opened in June 1959. With the opening, personnel discovered the center as a haven for creative activity, and novice craftsmen attended the center each evening. Before trying their hands at one of the crafts, most soldiers visited the center out of curiosity. Many stayed to develop unsuspected talents. Some cut and polished semi-precious stones to give as jewelry to wives or friends. Others tooled leather, made enameled jewelry, printed on textiles, spun potter’s wheels, built model airplanes, developed and enlarged film, painted, worked with wood and power tools, and repaired car radios and television sets.

Visitors entered the huge workshop through a lobby and gallery showplace for soldier art and photography. The gallery was softly lit in contrast to the flouorescent lighting of the main workroom, where benches, cabinets, pottery kilns and show cases were grouped by activity.

Operated by a full-time staff of soldiers and civilians and a few part-time instructors, the opening of the crafts center was fulfillment of an idea that began in 1942 when Special Services and Dr. Boris Blau of the Tyler Art School, Temple University of Philadelphia, organized an Arts and Crafts Center at Dix to sere men facing or returning from World War II combat. In a letter received for dedication of the center on 11 June 1959, Dr. Blau wrote that the idea for a certain center born at Dix was later adopted in many hospitals and centers for the Armed Forces. He expressed his happiness that the idea did not perish as evidenced by the dedication of the Fort Dix Arts and Crafts Center.

During the late Fifties and early Sixties, for movie theaters operated on post, including the modern Timmermann Theater. These theaters were open each night with frequent changes of first-run movies.
Post Exchange facilities expanded to include today’s main exchange, which was constructed in 1957. 

The PX, similar to any civilian department store, adequately served the needs of post personnel. Earlier, in March 1955, more than 300 families in storm-flooded New Jersey coastal areas were evacuated from their homes to safe havens by 22 artillerymen and five amphibious vehicles from Fort Dix’ 9th Infantry Division. They were dispatched to the disaster areas of Sea Bright, Keansburg and the Highlands were more than 1,000 persons were stranded by high waters. While operators were quickly drenched in near-freezing rain and lashed by bitter winds, the huge Army DUKW amphibious vehicles covered more than 30 miles of open highway, stopping at Fort Mamouth, where they were dispatched to the flooded areas to rescue marooned families from their homes.

Again, in mid-December 1953, 24 men were alerted for a similar mission. However, the new storm narrowly missed the north Jersey coast, and the men were not needed.

Fort Dix, together with other First US Army units, supplied food, equipment and rescue teams on 20-21 August 1955 to aid civilian communities on the eastern seaboard hit by the worst floods in years. Directly responsible for rescuing scores of flood victims were two amphibious rescue teams from the 69th Division Artillery. Consisting of two DUKW’s each, the teams operated in the upstream Delaware area of Pennsylvania – around Doylestown and Upper Black Eddy – and the western part of Trenton.

In addition to the active part played by Dix troops, the post supplied hundreds of blankets, mattresses and cots to the stricken of an area extending from Camden, New Jersey to Lambertville on the upper Delaware River. Trucks also rushed 1,000 cases of C-rations to Hartford, Connecticut, for emergency feeding of flood victims. Fort Dix, together with other First US Army units, won high commendation from General Maxwell D. Taylor, Army chief of staff, for its part in disaster relief work during the floods.

A black Friday the 13th weekend struck the area in July 1956. Fort Dix troops speedily responded to emergencies, which included the crash of an Air Force MATS C-118 in the southwest area of the post during the afternoon and a freak storm which shook the northeast corner of Fort Dix Saturday afternoon.

The plane crash, which took 45 lives and injured 21 others, was responded to by alert troops, medics, military policemen and Fort Dix volunteers, all of whom abandoned weekend plans to offer aid in the tragedy.

Another mishap occurred the next afternoon when a freak storm hit the area of the Fort Dix Bus Station, then located just inside the post entrance at Wrightstown. Swooping down on the terminal, the wind caught a portion of the roof hurling it into Fort Dix Street and causing considerable damage. Several power lines were snapped in the area and a number of drivers trapped in their vehicles until the current could be turned off. Post officials coordinated with the mayor of Wrightstown and state police to render necessary aid. Military police were called on to reroute traffic around the blowdown. Luckily, only a few civilians and no military personnel were injured.

Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who gained world fame with his discovery of polio vaccine, headed extensive field studies at Fort Dix from 1946 until 1954. He is credited by medical authorities with a major contribution to the Army’s battle against influenza. As director of a commission on influenza, Dr. Salk tested the preventive effect of several types of influenza vaccine on hundreds of soldiers.

After months of research and complex laboratory tests, the Salk Commission, in close cooperation with the Fort Dix Army Health Center medical staff, was successful in finding a most effective combination of tested influenza vaccines now in use throughout the Armed Forces. While directing the development of better vaccine in cooperation with the Fort Dix research program, Dr. Salk also carried on his research for a polio vaccine. As success in this field came within reach, the Army released him from his contract as a consultant to the Surgeon General’s Office, and, in July 1954, the influenza study was transferred to Columbia University.

The war against mosquitoes, initiated at Fort Dix in August 1953, reduced the number of winged nuisances by more than 85 percent, in addition to reducing the mosquito population in neighboring communities. To control mosquitoes at Dix, a team operation was necessary. First, the Preventive Medicine Service conducted insect surveys. Light traps were used nightly during the breeding season to check the types and numbers of mosquitoes in different areas of the post. Once the breeding sites were located, the Insect and Rodent Control Section of the post engineer was called to move in with powerful insecticides. The engineers then eliminated trouble spots by filling in water holes, draining ditches and clearing the underbrush.

Best evidence of the campaign’s success was offered by mosquito “traps.” During a check in 1952, the Post Surgeon’s Office said each trap had netted more than 11 mosquitoes on an average night. The 1954 average was one and a half. 

An episode charged with suspense took place on 4 November 1955, when Dix demolition experts of the 60th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) were called to Raritan Beach, South Amboy, New Jersey. Their mission was to remove 164 anti-personnel mines jeopardizing the safety of Raritan Beach. These mines were remnants of a tremendous ammunition explosion five years earlier. They had been buried into shallow water and covered over by shifting sands. They remained hidden until November 1955, when the sea uncovered them. The mines were gently placed in a truck and taken on an extremely hazardous journey back to Fort Dix where they were exploded.

In 1955, as part of a nationwide move to strengthen civil defense units, the explosive ordnance units of Fort Dix conducted a series of lectures for 66 civilian plant safety and security officers from 59 New Jersey industries. The purpose was to develop a nucleus of explosive ordnance reconnaissance (EOR) agents. During an aerial attack, their job would be to spot and report any missiles with time fuses or duds that might land on or around their factories.

During the Fifties, Fort Dix displayed its community spirit annually with participation in the Community Chest fund raising campaign. Contributions by troops and personnel, plus fund raising events featuring famous entertainers, raised $100,000 each year.

The post’s public image was further enhanced during the Fifties by the appearance of Dix personnel on various television programs. In 1955, the all-soldier chorus of the 69th Infantry Division Band and frequently on Gary Moore’s TV show. In addition, the 69th Infantry Division Band, plus the all-soldier chorus, performed several times on Ed Sullivan’s national TV show “Toast of the Town.” The 69th Infantry Division Demonstration Platoon inactivated in December 1955, also performed on national TV several times.

In March 1956, the “Fort Dix TV Show” celebrated its second anniversary. The program was televised over station WFIL-TV, Philadelphia, on time donated by the station as a public service. The show featured musical entertainment and demonstrations furnished by Fort Dix. The year 1957 saw Fort Dix entries dominate the all-Army entertainment competition, with the winner appearing on the Ed Sullivan TV show.

During the post-war era and Fifties, Fort Dix reflected the new role of the United States as a responsible world military power. America, confronted by a cold war, was not allowed to disband her military might and retreat again into isolation. Thus, Fort Dix did not stagnate into the ghost town it had been after the Great War of ’17-18.

The US needed a large standing Army, and Dix became a permanent training center to help provide the necessary troops. By 1960, Dix’ role as a concrete and steel training center was accepted as a vital 20th Century institution. At the close of the Fifties, Fort Dix had lost much of its make-shift World War II appearance. A smoothly operated training machine, it reacted as a seismograph to every tremor in the East-West shift of power. 

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