Biography of Harold E. Nelson

CCCman, Company 1694, Camp SCS-11, Mt. Honeb, Wisconsin

Aviation Metalsmith 3/C, Pensacola NAS, Florida, USN

     I would feel safe in saying that were you to ask what the average person knew about the CCCs or its work projects a dumbfounded expression would be their answer. If, by chance, it were an old timer, an ex-CCCer, you best be prepared to set a spell and attentively listen to what the "Old Boy" has to say.

     There were over 3 million men and in some instances "boys" that stepped over the threshold into bonafide maturity. The apron string, never totally untied but somewhat loosened. They had enlisted and has become enrollees in a preparatory school. A school quite unlike any other.

     Two hundred enrollees were in each company and in most cases one such company made up a camp and was designated as such. I should note that one camp nearby to Chicago was made up of 10, yep ten, companies. At full strength or fully manned there were a total of 2,000 men, plus the civilian engineers and Army personnel. This was Camp Skokie Valley! Their job, task or project was to convert or change swamp land into worthwhile and useable lagoons. That they did with shovels, picks, iron rimmed wheelbarrows and, as usual, the CCCers determination. I must, not really must, but should, make note of the fact that my brother was assigned to Company 608, Skokie Valley, Illinois shortly after the CCCs were organized in 19 & 33.

     My company was 1694 at Camp Mt. Honeb, Wisconsin. SCS-11 was tagged onto it as we was a Soil Conservation Camp with out work projects being established and supervised by the Soil Conservation Service.

     The Army took charge and was responsible for our housing, clothing, feeding, medical attention, behavior etc. plus, oh yes, the payroll. Camp Mt. Honeb was my main home from late July of 1937 through most of March 1938. There was a book published in 1990, Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942, The Way We Remember It, Copyright 1990 by the NACCCA. On pages 160 and 161 are the histories of my brother and myself.

     I later served in the Navy as an Aviation Metalsmith 3/C stateside at the U.S. Naval Air Base, Pensacola, Florida.

     I could go on and on but will choose not to do so.

----- Harold E. Nelson

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