Biography of Ralph P. Wilcox
CCCman, Company 849, Camp P-35-WY, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Meadowlark Lake Dam, Big Horn Mountains
USS Shangri La, USN
My dad Ralph Wilcox joined the CCC when he was 16 from a starving existence in Wellington, Kansas in 1933. He had to lie about his age to get into CCC...probably the only lie he ever told in his life. He looks like a full grown man in his CCC pictures, when in fact he was only 15. If not for the CCC he would have starved. The CCC in the west during the dust bowl was not a means of getting a job, it was a means of survival. Because he joined up, he was able to send money home to my grandmother. Its hard to believe today how much money a dollar a day was back then.
He was assigned to Company 849. This Company was assigned to Camp P-35-WY near Ten Sleep Wyoming in the Big Horn Mountains, which he called Tent City. There he earned a dollar a day and room and board while building Meadowlark Lake Dam.
With much, pride he took me to Ten Sleep when I was 17 yrs old to see what they had created. Dad died in 1977. With much pride, in 1997 I took my daughter and grandchildren and stood on the dam at Meadowlark Lake. The wind wispers their names.
During World War Two, Ralph P. Wilcox, joined the navy, going to training on the Great Lakes in 1943. He then joined the crew of the USS Shangri La, CV-38. He was a plankowner on this fast carrier. He served proudly aboard her during WWII from her Christening until March 1946. Everything he did from that day forward was measured against that privilege, for truely, a privilege is what he considered it.
The Mystery Ship, USS Shangri La, Son's Webpage about Ralph Wilcox 's service with photos (now linked via Wayback Machine)
The Race, A Story about Ralph Wilcox and His Daughter and the Indianapolis 500 (now linked via Wayback Machine)
Company 849, Ralph Wilcox, Camp P-35-WY, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Meadowlark Lake Dam, Big Horn Mountains
Company 849, Meadowlark Lake, Ralph Wilcox, Camp P-35-WY, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Meadowlark Lake Dam, Big Horn Mountains
Company 849, Ralph Wilcox, Sitting, Camp P-35-WY, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Meadowlark Lake Dam, Big Horn Mountains
Company 849, Tent City, Ralph Wilcox, Camp P-35-WY, Ten Sleep, Wyoming, Meadowlark Lake Dam, Big Horn Mountains
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