Biography of Clarence H. Carroll

Food Service Manager, Camp Baker, CCCMan, Nine Mile, MT & Company 1999, Ekalaka, MT & Augusta, MT & Port Angeles, Washington & Camp Haugan, MT & Winfried, Montana & Yellowstone, Wyoming

My name is Clarence H. Carroll. I enrolled in the CCC in 1934 at Troy, Montana at the tender age of 16. This was slightly under the age limit to do so, something I later corrected on my records.

I spent the summer there engaged in picking up rocks in the process of building an airport. This was no problem for me, although I was only 5 ft. 6 in. tall and weighed 115#. I had lived on a farm in my childhood and was lean and mean.

We were moved to a camp at Nine Mile located out of Missoula, Montana for the winter. There were 3 camps there. I have very little information regarding the camp numbers, as that was a long time ago.

During my winter stay there I became the camp baker. And my first pie crusts were a disaster, never having made one before. But with tutoring afforded me I became very proficient and the camp of some 200 men enjoyed many delicious pies and cakes.

Spring came and the company was moved to Ekalaka, Montana, located in the South East corner of Montana. Here the crews were building small dams to create holding areas for the spring run off of water from the melting snow. The farmers would have water for their cattle as this was during what came to be known as the Dust Bowl, during the Great Depression with extreme Drought Conditions in the midwest and beyond.

Ekalaka was located some 45 miles from a railroad and during the winter of 1935 it suffered an extreme winter with the temperature down to 50 degrees below zero for three weeks straight. Even with large construction equipment we were unable to get to the railhead to get food and other supplies. We were down to one meal per day before the trucks could get out. We had a common saying that the wind blew all of the snow from the Dakotas one day and blew it all back again the next day. This created conditions where it was impossible to see ones hand held a couple of feet away from the face.

I continued as the Company baker through the summer and part of the winter. I then did a stint outside cutting wood in order to heat the buildings. Later on I transferred to the infirmary as a first aid attendant, having completed my first aid courses. During the long winter months I also took correspondence courses in aircraft engineering which later stood me in good stead. I never to this day forgot the savagery of the winter weather there and when we moved from there in the spring of 1936, I never returned there until some 50 years later. The camp number there was 1999, and it was almost that many years for me to forget the place that even God Forgot.

Our next move was to Augusta, Montana where I served as First Aid Attendant for the summer. I then transferred to Port Angeles, Washington, for a few months stay as I had decided to go to Barber School. My intention was to become a barber and then work my way though college, aiming to become a doctor. In the fall of 36 I left the CCC camp in Port Angeles and went on to become a barber, but found that trying to pay my way through college that way was not feasible.

The story doesn't end here as regards the CCC, as in the Fall of 37 I again enrolled in the Corps and was stationed at Nine Mile where I had been once before. New officers and new Corpsmen, with me again being the Camp Bakerů I had now come full circle, this being the place where I started as a Baker. I remained there for most of the year being a cook the latter part of my term there. My next stop was to a camp some 30 miles from there known as Camp Haugan, Montana. They needed a Camp Baker there and I agreed to fill the spot.

In the fall of 1939 the Corps was starting a new company at a place in Winfried, Montana. All the food service positions were open so I volunteered to transfer there. On the train ride there I met the man who would be in charge of setting up the camp food service and he chose me to be their food service manager. This entailed buying all the food, making up the menus 30 days in advance as well as the filing of all reports five copies each with Army Headquarters in Fort Missoula, Montana. It was also necessary to supervise all food service personnel in the daily preparation of the meals.

From there I moved to a camp in Beautiful, Yellowstone, Wyoming assuming the Food Service Managers Job. After getting it organized I left the Corps, moving to Southern California where I was able to use my previous studies to gain employment in the Air Craft Industry.

----- Clarence H. Carroll


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