Unsung amid the traditional array of February holidays, one particularly historic anniversary approaches to rekindle pride among Jackson County Veterans. Once hastened by the horrific, sneak attack at Pearl Harbor, original construction of Camp White began on Feb. 25, 1942. According to brochures tendered by Camp White Museum personnel, the military training facility’s completion day arrived not quite a full ten months later.
“It covered about 77 square miles,” said Curator Al Inlow, whose memory stores volumes crammed with military history surrounding the base. Each artifact that comes in, adds to the wealth of information Inlow will impart to guests who tour the museum’s displays.
“That cross-cut saw with the painted scene on it was used to cut wood needed in constructing the buildings here,” Inlow continued. “Everything you see in the next section,” he says of some recent acquisitions “was made by veterans once stationed here.” One eye-arresting painting that adorns a wall shows a Vietnam era F4 Fighter plane. “The artist drew and painted this without looking at the plane or a photo of one,” Inlow says. “He did it all strictly from memory.”
He called attention to another new addition—a large, multi-shelved glass case. “This was built by a patient to house a collection of donated plates depicting military scenes.” A lower shelf boasts crafts that members of the manual arts therapy program fashioned. These include an outstanding wood-sculptured caricature of a lanky cowboy.
Another well-crafted attention-getter by a WWII Vet features the replica of a German tank, complete with bottom tracks assembled from silver-painted Popsicle sticks.
A different showcase contained several ornate pillow cases from WWII days. Appearing above them, however, an item inscribed,”1917 and 1918, America’s World War,” clearly dated its origins back to WWI.
Located in Building 200 of White City’s V.A. SORCC Campus, the Camp White Museum welcomes visitors Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more information, please phone (541) 826-2111 X 3674.