Biography of Natale J. Sabatino
CCCman, Company 3274, unknown camp at La Grande, Oregon & Camp DG-93, Keating, Oregon
I joined the CCC on July 13, 1938. The reason I joined the C.C.C. was that there was no work to be had. Coming from New York City we were sent to Camp Dix, New Jersey. We were assigned to Company 3274, Camp DG-93. The D.G. on our camp number stands for Department of Grazing. Our Commanding Officer was 1st Lieutenant Harry J. Murphy, Inf-Res of the 390th Infantry, US Army. My foreman on the job was Mr. Banister, a great guy.
After two weeks we were on our way to Keating, Oregon. When we got to Oregon we had no place to stay, there was no camp. They broke us up in four groups of 50. They picked out 50 of the Big Boys to build the camp.
My group was sent to the town of La Grande, which had an old established camp. We had a rec hall and a canteen. Our Rec Hall had only a pool table and boxing gloves. We were able to buy candy and cigarettes at the canteen. We had mail call every day.
We would have lunch on the job. It would be either baloney or salami sandwiches. The food was lousy at the beginning. They got rid of the mess sergeant. It had something to do with the food money. In about two months we got regular dishes to eat on. We didn't have to use our mess kits. The best vegetable soup I ever ate was in camp. I don't remember what I did but I got K.P. for 3 days.
We were there for three months. While at La Grande we went on 15 forest fires. Me and my two buddies got lost on our 1st fire.
While at Keating we did experimental plots. Keating had a population of 50 people. The next town which was Baker was 20 miles from Keating. There is where we went on weekends.
We would go to town by truck. The trucks would leave Friday night or Saturday morning. If we stayed over for the weekend we would get a room at one of the hotels. There was three hotels in town. Cost was $2.50 a night. Sex was also available in the hotels, cost $2.00.
I had three buddies, Wally Ager from New York City, Steve Martinez also from New York City, and Mike Rizzo from Brooklyn. They only stayed for one hitch. I signed over. I had a girl friend on my second hitch. So I had it made.
I was honorably discharged on April 3, 1939 as I had obtained employment outside the CCCs.
All I can say is my life in the CCC was one of the greatest things that happened to me. I'm sorry I did not stay longer. God Bless F.D.R.
----- Natale Sabatino
Back to James F. Justin Civilian Conservation Corps Museum
Back to James F. Justin Civilian Conservation Corps Biographies Exhibit