Biography of James T. Twine
Enrollee, Company 424, Camp BS-3-NC, New Holland North Carolina & Company 5492, Crystal Springs Camp, Grant Grove Village, Kings Canyon National Park, California & Company 5492, Camp MA-2, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
MSGT, WWII, USAAF, USAF
Shortly after my 17th birthday (Aug 17,1939) I enrolled, and was assigned to Company 424 (N.C. BS-3) at New Holland N.C. . The company's primary responsibility was the protection and preservation of Lake Mattamuskeet, a major water fowl flyway and habitat. Lake Mattamuskeet is a large shallow body of water about 7 miles wide and 15 miles long. Thousands and thousands of South bound geese and ducks either come by or winter over.
Our work was installing fences, clearing undesirable under growth and distributing grain. The cause way dividing the lake was started while I was there, but I had no part of it. New Holland was a year round camp in a some what remote area, so there were plenty of off duty activities, a nice canteen, hobby shop's, recreation hall etc. On Saturday afternoon's trucks would take us to Englehard, a town with a movie theater. Our company consisted of about 200 enrollee's, 4 or 5 Army officers and 8 or 10 civilian foremen who directed the work.
In the early spring of 1940, a call went out for volunteers to join a new company going to California. I jumped on it. The company, # 5492, assembled at the Fort Bragg, N.C. Army base. After about a week, we boarded a train for California. Arriving in Fresno, we could see snow on the high Sierra peaks. From Fresno, we were trucked to our new home in Grant Grove village of Kings Canyon National Park. Surely a wonderful place to spend the summer. My first assignment was switchboard operator at Ranger Headquarters. I didn't like being cloistered in a small windowless room. Wanting to be out in the hills with my friends, I soon got my wish.
At the time it was thought that a wild goose berry was detrimental to the giant Sequoia trees. So a lot of time was spent pulling up these bushes. Other work was trail clearing and camp site up grading through out all of King's Canyon N.P. . We had some fire fighting training, but I only saw one small brush fire the whole summer. Here, I got my First Aid certificate.
Crystal Springs camp, in Grant Grove, was a summer only camp. Sleeping quarters were 6 cot tent covered frames. None of the amenities like New Holland, but neverless a very comfortable and enjoyable setting. Only a short walk to the comunity store that sold food food stuff and souveniers. In early October, the snow flies at 7000'elevation, so its time to go below. Good to wildlife, cool meadows and big trees. Hello Los Angeles.
A train ride from Fresno to Los Angeles put us in the Union Station, a beautiful edifice then and now. Then a short ride to our new home in Griffith Park. At that time Griffith Park was the the largest metropolitan park in the U.S. Our company was #5492 MA-2. The camp had been used before so only required some cleaning up. The present day Travel Museum was the the exact site of the camp. Some of our work was around the old zoo, some land scaping near the new Griffith Observatory and the most pleasant of all in Fern Dell canyon. Fern Dell , a long narrow canyon filled on either side with blooming flowers, nice foliage and of course fern's. I thought it then to be the most beautiful place in all Los Angeles. Horse riding trails went right by our barracks, we often saw celebrities passing. Some movie makeing was done in Griffith Park, and our camp was used for an army type movie setting on at least one occasion. By spring of 1941, I had been away from home for a year. Also the draft preceding WWII had started. I chose not to enroll for a fourth term and went home.
In summary - I liked the 3 C's. I liked the Travel, the comradery, the adventure. In June 1941, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps. During basic training at Maxwell Field (n2ow air Force Base) those that had been in the CCC was all but excused from basic training.
----- James T. Twine
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