CAMP DIX – JBMDL CHRONOLOGY
1798 – John Adams Dix born in Boscawen, New Hampshire
1812 – Dix serves in War of 1812
1861 – Dix named chairman of the Union Defense Committee in New York and made Major General in US Army.
1872 – Dix elected Governor of New York
21 April 1879 – Dix dies in New York City
1909 – A.D. Irwin and A.O. Leighton form Philadelphia construction company
1915 – Eddystone Ammunition Corporation establishes the Lakehurst Munitions Storage facility for Imperial Russian Army.
6 April 1917 – US enters World War I – Congress authorizes the construction of 16 Army Camps to be built.
1917 – Camp Kendrick established at Lakehurst, home of the 1st Gas Regiment, a chemical weapons unit.
19 May 1917 Selective Service Act
12 June 1917 – Major Harry C. Williams named first commander of Camp Dix.
June 1917 – Irwin & Leighton given $13 million contract to convert New Jersey corn fields into army mobilization and training camp.
June 1917 – First American troops arrive in France
28 June 1914 – Construction begins on 1,655 buildings.
16 July, 1917
1917 – Harker family house sold to government and converted to the residence of the base commander.
23 August 1917 – Major General Chase W. Kennedy named commander of Camp Dix.
September 1917 – First 17,000 troops arrive at Camp Dix. Eventually 35,000 troops in training, filling all barracks and tents used to house the rest, including 87th and 34th Infantry Divisions, 349th and 350th Field Artillery Battalions of the 92nd Division, and 15th Infantry of New York (369th). 311th Ambulance Company. 153rd Depot Brigade. British, French and Scottish solders at Camp Dix to advise US soldiers on the role of tanks and trench warfare.
October 1917 – Camp Dix Fire Company organized by soldiers, and the library opens with volunteers from the American Library Association. Howard L. Hughes, Harold F. Brigham librarians.
22 October 1917 – Camp Dix base hospital opens with 61 buildings with 1,000 bed capacity, located east of the Wrightstown Circle.
28 November 1917 – Brigadier General John S. Mallory (ad Interim) assumes command of Camp Dix.
28 December 1917 – Brigadier General James T. Dean (ad interim) assumes command of Camp Dix.
2 January 1918 – Major General Hugh L. Scott assumes command of Camp Dix
May 1918 – 78th Infantry Division, under Maj. Gen. Chase Kennedy leaves Dix and sails to Europe.
May 1918 – YMCA, Red Cross and Knights of Columbus begin providing programs and services to entertain the soldiers.
August 1918 – Fort Dix has 55,000 soldiers in training.
September - October 1918 – 7,970 cases of influenza and pneumonia reported, 774 deaths.
11 November 1918 – War ends.
3 December - Camp Dix demobilization center opens that processes over 300,000 soldiers.
8 March 1919 – Camp Dix becomes Fort Dix – named permanent Army post.
12 May 1919 – Major General Harry C. Hale assumes command of Camp Dix
1919 – Contractors and workman arrive at Lakehurst to begin the excavation for the world’s largest aircraft hangar, the first to be built in America.
1920 – 26 men, eight officers and eighteen enlisted men sent to England for training on British airships.
1920 – Congress approves military budget that includes construction of two rigid airships, one to be built in this country and the other in UK, along with a “station in which to erect and operate a dirigible.” With this directive the US Navy took over the Army’s Camp Kendrick.
31 July 1920 – Commander Hale promoted to Brigadier General.
1 August 1920 – Thomas Buchanan McGuire, Jr. born in Ridgewood, N.J.
3 September 1920 Brigadier General William S. Graves assumes command of Camp Dix
1 October 1920 Brigadier General Clarence R. Edwards assumes command of Camp Dix
1 November 1920 Major General Charles C.P. Summerall assume command of Camp Dix
10-11 1920 – 1st Infantry Division observes first anniversary of end of WWI at ceremony presided over by Gen. John J. Pershing.
1920 – Camp Dix used as a training center for Army Reserves, National Guard and the Citizens Training Camp.
1920-21 – Design studies initiated for the construction of airship – ZR-1 – Zeppelin, Rigid #1. Basic parts constructed in Philadelphia. Commander Ralph Weyerbacher named project manager, assisted by Anton Heinen, a German airship expert.
1921 – Navy establishes Lakehurst Naval Air Station
1921 - Animal Transportation School operating.
June 1921 – ZR-2 completed in England. 695 feet long, 85 feet in diameter, and six engines, the airship was designed by the British, who basically followed the German design. Design flaws resulted in buckling, and with American Naval Commander A. H. Maxfiled, broke apart on a test flight and crashes into the Humber River in the City of Hull, England. Maxfiled and 43 crew killed. Crewman Charles Broome of Toms River, was not aboard, witnessed the crash and took a boat to the scene, swimming into the sinking ship in an attempt to rescue survivors. Broome awarded a medal for heroism, but died in the crash of the Shenandoah four years later.
July 1921 – Major General David C. Shanks assumes command of Camp Dix
November 1921 – Major General Charles T. Meneher assumes command of Camp Dix.
December 1921 – Major General Harry C. Hale returns to command of Camp Dix
November 1922 – Brigadier General William S. Graves returns to command of Camp Dix
17 January 1923 – Captain Noe C. Killian commander of Camp Dix
16 May 1923 – Brigadier General William S. Graves returns to command Camp Dix
4 September 1923 – First test flight of ZR-1, Frank R. McCrary and Anton Heinen joint commanders.
5 September 1923 – Captain Noe C. Killiian commander of Camp Dix
1923 – Camp Kendrick is open at Lakehurst Proving Grounds
11 September 1923 – ZR-1 makes publicity flight over New York city and Philadelphia, huge crowds watched and cheered from the streets.
10 October 1923 – ZR-1 officially christened the Shenandoah by Marion Denby, wife of the Secretary of the Navy, Edwin Denby. “Shenandoah” is an American Indian term meaning, “Daughter of the Stars,”
16 January 1924 – Shenandoah breaks away from the mooring mast at Lakehurst during a storm and sustains nose damage.
8 April 1924 – Lieutenant Colonel James T. Watson commander of Camp Dix
19 May 1924 – Brigadier General William S. Graves returns to command Camp Dix
21 June 1924 – Colonel Charles Gerhardt commander of Camp Dix
26 June 1924 – Colonel John J. Bradley commander of Camp Dix
3 July 1924 – Brigadier General Frank Parker assumes command of Camp Dix
26 July 1924 – Lieutenant Colonel James T. Watson commander of Camp Dix
8 August 1924 – Shenandoah makes the first mooring to a Navy vessel, the USS Patoka, a tanker ship outfitted with a mooring mast. Lt. Charles Rosendahl was in command.
7 October 1924 – Shenandoah begins trip across the USA flying over the Rocky Mountains.
October 15 1924 – ZR-3 Los Angeles delivered to Lakehurst from Germany as part of post-war reparations agreement, carrying highly volatile hydrogen fuel, declared unsafe by Navy standards. The hydrogen fuel vented off into the pinelands air and refitted with helium from the Shenandoah. The transoceanic flight of 5,000 miles took 81 hours with an average speed of 61 mph.
27 April 1925 – Colonel Stanley Ford commander of Camp Dix
21 May 1925 – Brigadier General Preston Brown assumes command of Camp Dix
10 August 1925 – Lieutenant Colonel James T. Watson commander of Camp Dix
25 September 1925 – Major Nicholas W. Campanole commander of Camp Dix
2 September 1925 – Shenandoah embarks on flight to Midwest, runs into storm over Ohio and breaks apart. The control cabin plunged to earth killing Commander Zachary Lansdowne. The bow section descends safely to earth under guidance of Lt. Cmdr. Rosendahl. 21 of the crew of 43 survive.
Charles H. Broome of Toms River and George C. Schnitzer of Tuckerton die in the accident.
15 October 1925 – Captain Herbert D. Gilison commander of Camp Dix
16 November 1925 – Captain Richard L. Pemberton commander of Camp Dix
25 November 1925 – ZR-3 flown to Washington DC where the President’s wife, Grace Coolidge,
christened her the Los Angeles. Navy Lieutenant Charles E. Rosendahl boarded her for the return flight.
1925 – Mock Invasion staged at Fort Dix – first landing of an airplane on base.
15 March 1926 – Lt. Commander Rosendahl replaced Commander George W. Steele as skipper of the Los Angeles.
6 May 1926 – Captain George Rankin commander of Camp Dix
1 June 1927 – Brigadier General Frank McCoy commander of Camp Dix
25 August 1927 – while moored to the mast at Lakehurst, strong winds lift the tail of the Los Angeles until it stood vertically from its nose.
22 July 1928 – Colonel Arthur Poillon commander of Camp Dix
1928 – The Los Angeles attempted a landing on the aircraft carrier Saratoga, but high winds prevented it from doing so, though Lt. Commander Herbert Wiley jumped aboard the Saratoga deck and was left behind.
21 September 1928 – Brigadier General Otho B. Rosembaum commander of Camp Dix
11 October 1928 – The Graf Zeppelin (LZ-127) begins transatlantic flight from Germany to Lakehurst. Built at Friedrichshafen, Germany, where the Los Angeles was built, as a private venture by Hugo Eckener, who believed in the commercial success of airships for passenger, mail and cargo. US Navy Lt. Commander Charles E. Rosendahl was on board when violent storm damaged the horizontal stabilizer, and repairs were made over the rough seas.
15 October 1928 – Graf Zeppelin arrived at Lakehurst after 112 hours at sea, flying 6,200 miles.
7 August 1929 – Graf Zeppelin, financed by American publisher William Randolph Hearst, began an “Around the World Cruise” from Lakehurst. It flew to Germany, over Russia, Tokyo and across the Pacific to Los Angeles.
29 August 1929 – Graf Zeppelin arrives back at Lakehurst after circling the globe.
November 1929 – Construction of the fourth airship authorized by US Navy began by Goodyear Zeppelin Company, in Akron, Ohio. 785-feet long.
1 October 1930 – Captain Charles Perfect commander of Camp Dix
20 October 1930 – 1st Lieutenant Richard T. Mitchell commander of Camp Dix
17 December 1930 – Major Andrew G. Gardner commander of Camp Dix
1930 – Federal Bureau of Prisons establishes prison on site.
1930s – Citizens Military Training Camp (CMTC) offers signal, infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineering training. After 4, 30 day courses qualify for commission in Army Reserve.
5 August 1931 – the Akron, designed to carry airplanes within its framework, was christened by the wife of President Herbert Hoover. It carried five Navy scouting planes on initial test flights under the command of Lt. Commander Charles Rosendahl.
December 1931 – Captain Samuel L. Metcalfe commander of Camp Dix
March 1932 – Lieutenant Colonel Lewis H. Watkins commander.
8 May 1932 – The Akron flies west.
11 May 1932 – Akron arrives at Camp Kearney, San Diego, California. Two ground crewmen killed in an accident while mooring and a third left dangling until rescued.
June 1932 – Brigadier General Howard L. Laubach commander
June 1932 – The Los Angeles was retired during the Great Depression for economic reasons, after making 331 flights and 4,320 flying hours.
September 1932 – Captain Horace K. Heath commander
November 1932 – Major Alexander C. Sullivan commander
March 1933 – Lieutenant Colonel Lewis H. Watkins commander
March 1933 – Wife of Navy Admiral Moffett christens the Macon, built by Goodyear, the fifth airship to join the US Navy fleet.
31 March 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs bill creating CCC that continued until 1942 – Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) planted trees, controlled soil erosion, constructed roads, dams, bridges and fire towers, operates reception, training and discharge center with two forestry companies, a physical conditioning company and cook and baker’s school. The CCC built the first airplane runway at Camp Dix.
April 1933 – Brigadier General Howard L. Laubach commander
3 April 1933 – Under command of Commander Frank McCord, with Admirla W. A. Moffett, Chief of Navy Bureau of Aeronautics as a guest, the Akron left Lakehurst on test mission, was caught in a storm and plunged into the sea. Only three of the 76 aboard survived, two enlisted men and Lt. Commander Wiley.
October 1933 – Macon assigned to the new Moffett Field airbase at Sunnyvale, California.
December 1933 – Lieutenant Colonel Torrey B. Maghee commander
March 1934 – Brigadier General Howard Laubach commander
August 1934 – Brigadier General John L. DeWitt commander
October 1934 – Major Ford Richardson commander
1934 – The German company that built the Los Angeles and Graf Zeppelin began construction of the Hindenburg, with much improved aerodynamics and speed of 80 mph, a library, bar, individual cabins, dining room with a grand piano and smoking salon sealed off from the rest of the ship.
April 1935 – Lieutenant Colonel Albert S. Williams commander
12 February 1935 – While engaged in a fleet drill off California, a squall tore the upper fin and rudder and debris punctured three rear helium cells. The crew donned life jackets as the ship settled into the sea. As the helium gas was inhaled by the crew’s vocal cords, “bass voices turned soprano and strong men sounded like babies. The men clinging to the sinking aircraft suddenly exploded into uncontrollable laughter at the strange sound of themselves, despite their perilous condition. Only two of the 83 men aboard were killed. The ZR-5 sank. (Note: On June 24, 1990 the wreckage of the Macon was found by US Navy three man submersible Sea Cliff, off Point Sur, at depth of 1,450 feet).
4 March 1936 – Hindenburg takes maiden flight, then makes ten trips to Lakehurst that year.
22 March 1936 – Graf Zeppelin and the recently completed LZ-129 the Hindenburg, take a duel flight across Germany.
November 1936 – Colonel Robert S. Knox commander
1936 – Telephone switchboard installed.
3 May 1937 – Hindenburg began first ocean crossing of the year, to Lakehurst, Captain Max Pruss flying over New York City to give passengers view of Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. Commander Charles Rosendahl at Lakehurst radioed Captain Pruss to delay scheduled landing because of high winds.
6 May 1937 – 7:25 pm Hindenburg dirigible disaster at Lakehurst. 13 passengers, 22 crewmen and one Navy ground crew, Allen Hagaman died, 72 survived.
23 October 1937 – Colonel Arthur Poillon commander
1938 – Works Progress Administration and Public Works Administration funds construction of new buildings – Building 5416 – housed field grade officers.
8 March 1939 – Camp Dix named a permanent installation and renamed Fort Dix
1940 – Graf Zeppelin retired from service and dismantled. In nine years it made 590 flights over 1,033,618 miles.
9 January 1940 Colonel Bernard Lentz commander
13 May 1940 – Colonel John W. Downer commander
1940 – Federal government purchases 17,000 additional acres of adjacent land and constructs new runways.
8 September 1940 – President Roosevelt declares limited national emergency and approved the first peacetime draft.
16 September 1940 – Peacetime draft inductees begin arriving at Fort Dixreception, training and deployment center. 44th Infantry Division assigned to Fort Dix for training. Ten other divisions trained at Fort Dix before being deployed overseas.
25 October 1940 Major General Clifford R. Powell commander
1941 – Pointville cemetery and town acquired by government for base expansion.
18 March 1941 Colonel Cassius M. Dowell commander
1941 – McGuire leaves Georgia Tech to join US Army Air Corps, Randolph Field
14 January 1942 – wartime airship K-3 under command of Lt. Walter Keen, made the first MAD (Magnetic Airborne Detection) contact with a submarine along the eastern shipping route, diverting a convoy away and marking the spot by flare so a nearby destroyer could drop depth charges.
May 1942 – Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps established
15 July 1942 – K-9 under command of Lt. Commander Raymond Tyler, rescued survivors of the torpedoed merchant ship S.S. Moldanger, who had been adrift at sea for 18 days.
April 1943 – Dodgers and Giants play a baseball game at Fort Dix baseball field.
July 1943 – Auxiliary Corps renamed Women’s Army Corps (WACS), working as administrative clerks, truck drivers, photographers and mechanics.
18-19 August 1943 – McGuire with 431st Fighter Squadron Wewak, New Guinea, shoots down five Japanese Ki-43 and Ki-61 fighters, eventually scoring 38 aerial victories, second only to Maj. Richard I. Bong, US AF all time ace (40)
1 October 1943 – Colonel Holmes G. Paullin commander
25-26 December 1943 – McGuire downs seven Japanese fighter aircraft over Luzon, Philippines, and earns Medal of Honor for action on these days.
19 January 1944 – Brigadier General Madison Pearson commander
7 Jan 1945 – McGuire killed when his P-38 crashes over Fabrica aerodrome, Negros Island.
1945 – At war’s end Fort Dix becomes demobilization center processing 1.2 million soldiers back to civilian life.
26 October 1945 – Major General Leland S. Hobbs commander
16 March 1946 – Major general Frederick A. Irving commander
7 August 1946 Major General W. W. Eagles commander
1947 – United States Air Force established and air base transferred to Air Force
15 July 1947 – Fort Dix becomes a Basic Training Center and home of 9th Infantry Division.
8 April 1948 Major General Arthur A. White commander of Fort Dix
September 1948 – USAF names McGuire AFB
1949 – McGuire’s remains recovered and returned to the United States
17 September 1949 – USAF base at Fort Dix renamed McGuire Air Force Base
1 October 1949 – Major General John M. Devine commander
17 May 1950 – McGuire buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery
25 June 1950 – Korean War begins, basic training reduced from 14 to 8 weeks.
1 September 1950 – Major General William K. Harrison commander
January 1952 – Major General Roderick R. Allen commander
July 1952 – Major General Homer W. Kiefer commander
31 July 1953 Major General C. E. Ryan commander
1954 – 9th Infantry Division assigned to Europe and 69th Infantry Division moves in
28 February 1955 – Major General John W. Harmony commander
16 September 1955 – Major Robert W. Ward commander
1956 – Chubby Checker entertains the troops
16 March 1956 – 69th deactivated and Fort Dix renamed U.S. Army Training Center, Infantry
1 November 1956 – Majro General Earl C. Bergquist commander
20 March 1959 – The Ultimate Weapon statute unveiled – designed and constructed at Fort Dix by soldiers Steven Goodman and Stuart Scheer.
1 September 1959 – Major General Sidney C. Wooten commander at Fort Dix
5 June 1960 – BOMARC anti-missile missile catches fire and two nuclear warheads melt in Broken Arrow event.
10 June 1961 - Major General Reuben H. Tucker, III commander at Fort Dix
1 February 1962 – Major General Charles E. Beauchamp commander at Fort Dix
3 September 1964 – Fort Dix chapel dedicated
1 May 1966 – Major General John M. Hightower commander at Fort Dix
1967 – Fort Dix Information Office publishes a History of Fort Dix New Jersey – 50 Years of Service to the Nation 1917-1967
2 November 1968 – New York City students picnic at Wrightstown-Fort Dix
5 June 1969 – 250 prisoners in Fort Dix Stockade riot over conditions and torture. 38 were prosecuted and became known as the Fort Dix 38.
1973 – New brick reception center opened.
1978 – First female recruits enter basic training.
1982 – 10 Stained glass windows installed in the Fort Dix chapel honoring WW I soldiers.
20 May 1982 – Last train to Fort Dix ends rail service that began in 1917.
1985 – Fort Dix Headquarters renamed Sharp Hall in honor of Gen. Richard Sharp
1987 – USAF Security Police Air Base Ground Defense School moved from Camp Bullis Texas
1988 – Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommends ending basic and advanced individual training at Fort Dix.
17 August 1990 – A new The Ultimate Weapons statute constructed of bronze replaces original
1990 – Around the clock operations begin mobilizing and deploying troops for Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
1991 – Kuwaiti civilians trained in basic military skills
1991 – Active Army training mission ends.
1992 – Fort Dix begins mobilizing, deploying and demobilizing soldiers and providing training areas for Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers
1992 – Reception center that opened in 1973 transferred to Air Force as Air Mobility Warfare Center.
1992 – Department of Defense Police replace military police
1992 – US Department of Justice – Bureau of Prisons opens a federal prison
1993 – Somalia
1995 – Bosnia
1995 – Telephone switchboard, installed in 1936 replaced with fiber optic system.
1999 – Albanian, Kosovo refugees resettled.
August 2000 – Range 65 tank training area opens. Bryant Range named after Larry Bryant
2005 – Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst – JBMDL Established
2007 – A memorial to McGuire placed at his fatal crash site on Negros Island by former fighter pilot David Mason
2010 – Census 7,716 people living in 784 households with 590 families residing in CDP
2016 – Cassidy and Associates issue report on the future of the base and the state of NJ grant them another contract to continue their work.
2016 – DOD and USAF Recommend JBMDL as one of the bases for new air refueling tankers.
2017 – JBMDL Tankers refuel B2 bombers that attack ISIS bases in Libyan desert.
July - 2017 – 100th Anniversary of Camp Dix-JBMDL