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Near Yuma in Yuma County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Italians at the Yuma Test Branch

 
 
Italians at the Yuma Test Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 14, 2010
1. Italians at the Yuma Test Branch Marker
Inscription. During World War II, the Yuma proving ground of the United States Army Corps of Engineers was known as the Yuma Test Branch, which was used as a floating-bridge test facility. By 1944, more allied troop support was needed to conduct the bridge tests at the Yuma Test Branch. By this time, Italy had surrendered to the United States. A group of Italian prisoners-of-war, who were captured in North Africa, pledged their loyalty and support to the United States. These Italians were then formed into two Italian service units and were stationed at the Yuma Test Branch from 1944 to 1945 to assist in testing floating bridges. In addition to their bridge-building capability, they were talented in fine art, culinary art and stonemasonry. This concrete-lined stone-faced paint shed, decorated with three castles bearing the United States Army Corps of Engineers insignia and one castle inscribed with the word "Italy" was constructed by them to facilitate the safe storage of paint at the Yuma Test Branch. Because the temperature was cooler underground, the paint was stored below ground under all of the stone decorations, a method which was free of fire hazards.
 
Location. 32° 52.553′ N, 114° 27.799′ W. Marker is near Yuma, Arizona, in Yuma County. Marker is on Laguna Dam
Italians at the Yuma Test Branch Marker and Paint-Shed image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 14, 2010
2. Italians at the Yuma Test Branch Marker and Paint-Shed
The nearby World War II Bridge Test Site marker is seen on the right. This marker is on the left.
Road 0.1 miles east of California / Arizona border, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is west of Interstate 95. At the California/Arizona Border Laguna Dam Road changes name to Imperial Dam Road (County Hwy S24). Marker is in this post office area: Yuma AZ 85365, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World War II Bridge Test Site (here, next to this marker); Site of Mission San Pedro (approx. 5.1 miles away in California); Camp Laguna (approx. 5.4 miles away); Picacho Mines (approx. 12 miles away in California); Fort Yuma (approx. 13.4 miles away in California); Fray Francisco Hermenegildo GarcÚs (approx. 13.4 miles away in California); Site of Mission La Purisima Concepcion, 1780-1781 (approx. 13.4 miles away in California); Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge (approx. 13.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Yuma.
 
Also see . . .  Yuma Proving Ground - Arizona. Two units of the Italian prisoners were assigned to the camp. All were paid $9.00 per month, regardless of rank, and had pledged to assist in the war against Germany and Japan. Permitted to visit the town of Yuma once each week, most continued to avidly dislike the southwestern desert that bore such a close resemblance to the deserts in which they had been captured in North
Concrete-Lined Stone-Faced Paint Shed image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 14, 2010
3. Concrete-Lined Stone-Faced Paint Shed
Africa. (Submitted on March 27, 2010.) 
 
Categories. Notable PlacesWar, World II
 
Italians at the Yuma Test Branch image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, March 14, 2010
4. Italians at the Yuma Test Branch
Castle inscribed with the word "Italy"
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 980 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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