World War II Camp Croft Photographs of Joseph Peter Pizzimenti
These pictures of Camp Croft were taken by Joseph Peter Pizzimenti who was from Detroit, Michigan. He was a musician in the jazz and marching bands at Camp Croft from 1941 until early 1945. He had permission to carry a camera on base and used the darkroom on base to do his work. Mr. Pizzimenti went on to Okinawa by the summer of 1945, and spent the last six months of his service in the South Pacific. He died in 1996. According to his son, who has provided electronic images of these pictures, Mr. Pizzimenti always spoke fondly of his Army days in South Carolina.
Click on an image below to see a larger photograph.
|More pictures will be added to this site in the future.|
Camp Croft was a World War II training camp located on 20,000 acres in the Delmar-Whitestone area of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Construction began in December 1940, and in ninety days some 600 buildings were ready for the arrival of the first 16,000 men. Training lasted for thirteen weeks and included all phases of infantry combat. By July 31, 1945, 199,838 men had passed through Camp Croft. During this time there were 483 marriages, 76 baptisms, and 53 funerals.
The camp was named for Major General Edward Croft, born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1874. Croft was an 1896 graduate of the Citadel who went on to serve in World War I as a Colonel and Brigadier General. He was decorated with the Purple Heart and Silver Star. On May 6, 1933, he was appointed a Major General and Chief of Infantry. Upon retirement in 1937 he returned to Greenville. He died in 1938 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
Some 3000 foreign-born soldiers became naturalized citizens at Camp Croft. Most notable was Henry Kissinger, who later became Secretary of State for President Richard Nixon. Camp Croft was also a prisoner-of-war camp for German POWs with about 250 German soldiers held there.
Statistics reveal that Camp Croft was a bustling place:
75 tons of food were delivered daily
over 6,000 loaves of bread baked daily
91 mess halls
68 hospital buildings
4 post theaters
33 million sheets of mimeograph paper used by the publications office
motor pool of 288 vehicles; 129 jeeps
7,241 arrests made by Military Police Officers
daily mail at the camp exceeded 4,800 pounds
The City of Spartanburg welcomed the camp and played host to the visiting soldiers. There were six USO clubs in the city. Many churches opened clubrooms with opportunites for worship and entertainment. Families opened their homes and servicemen were frequent guests to Sunday dinner.
After the war was over, Camp Croft was not converted into a permanent military base, and it fell into disuse. In March 1947, the Spartanburg County Foundation purchased the camp for more than one million dollars. A small industrial park was developed in the area of the railroad and the camps warehouses. The area where the barracks had been is now a residential neighborhood. Original street names such as Headquarters Loop, Patton Aveneue and Pershing Drive are reminders that this area was once a military post.
The State of South Carolina purchased some 7,000 acres of the camp in 1949 for a state park. In 1993, the Army Corps of Engineers began an extensive cleanup of ordnance and explosives from the former camp area, and recreational areas were closed during this process. Most of the park has now been reopened.
U.S. Corps of Engineers. Ordnance and Explosive Waste Archives Search Report for
Former Camp Croft Army Training Facility Spartanburg, South Carolina Project
Number I04SC001603. Rock Island, IL, 1994.
Foster, Vernon. Spartanburg: Facts, Reminiscenses, Folklore. Spartanburg, SC:
Reprint Company, 1998.
Other Links of Interest:
South Carolina Military Homepage: Camp Croft
Zapata Engineering's Web Page on Camp Croft