“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Vidal in San Bernardino County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Rice Divisional Camp

Camp Rice


— Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area —

Rice Divisional Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 26, 2010
1. Rice Divisional Camp Marker
Inscription.  Camp Rice was established at this site in the spring of 1942. It was one of twelve such camps built in the southwestern deserts to harden and train United States troops for service on the battlefields of World War II. The Desert Training Center was a simulated theatre of operations that included portions of California, Arizona and Nevada. The other camps were Young, Coxcomb, Granite, Iron Mountain, Ibis, Clipper, Pilot Knob, Laguna, Horn, Hyder and Bouse.

A total of 13 infantry divisions and 7 armored divisions plus numerous smaller units were trained in this harsh environment. The training center was in operation for almost 2 years and was closed early in 1944 when the last units were shipped overseas. During the brief period of operation over one million American soldiers were trained for combat.

The 5th Armored Division, nicknamed "The Victory Division," began combat operations in France in July 1944 and quickly gained a reputation for combat excellence, spearheading the Normandy breakout of the 3rd Army.

It was the first division to reach the Seine River, first to enter Belgium, first to reach and liberate
Rice Divisional Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 26, 2010
2. Rice Divisional Camp Marker
Luxembourg, first to fight on German soil, first to plunge through the Siegfried Line. V-E Day found the 5th AD on the Elbe River 45 miles from Berlin.

Campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

The 5th Armored Division was the 1st unit trained at Camp Rice.

This monument is dedicated to all the soldiers that served here, and especially for those who gave their lives in battle, ending the Holocaust & defeating the armed forces of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.
Erected 1991 by the Billy Holcomb Chapter-E Clampus Vitus, the 5th Armored Division Assoc., and in co-operation with the Bureau of Land Management, Indio Resource Area and the Vidal Maintenance Staton, Caltrans. (Marker Number 63.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, World II. In addition, it is included in the Desert Training Center, and the E Clampus Vitus series lists.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 34° 5.071′ N, 114° 45.776′ W. Marker was near Vidal, California, in San Bernardino County. Marker was on Aqueduct Road (Route 62 at milepost 112.4), on the right when traveling east. The marker is located about 70 miles
Rice Divisional Camp Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, December 26, 2010
3. Rice Divisional Camp Marker
east of Indio. Take I-10 to exit at SR-177 (Desert Center). Take SR-177 north about 27 miles to SR-62 and turn right. The marker is about 25 miles east of the SR-62/SR117 junction and is about 5.1 miles east of the railroad tracks at the site of Rice. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Vidal CA 92280, United States of America. Touch for directions.
More about this marker. Camp Rice is known by many as Rice Army Airfield. After the dedication of this marker to the brave soldiers who trained here, a very loud salute to the troops was heard by many. Some desert wags claimed they had seen an abject shaped like an anvil flying through the air. Perhaps they saw a desert mirage when their ears were startled by the loud salute.
SOURCE: Billy Holcomb Chapter 1069 35th Anniversary Plaque Book by Phillip Holdaway
Also see . . .  Desert Training Center, California-Arizona Maneuver Area. This was the largest Army base in the world covering some 18,000 square miles. It stretched from the outskirts of Pomona, California eastward to within 50 miles of Phoenix, Arizona, southward to the suburbs of Yuma, Arizona and northward into the southern tip of Nevada. It existed primarily to train U.S. forces in desert warfare for the North African campaign. (Submitted on January 4, 2011, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.) 
Event Patch image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, May 15, 1991
4. Event Patch
DTC Camp Rice
5th Armored Div.
Billy Holcomb Spring 1991
Credits. This page was last revised on August 9, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 4, 2011, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 869 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on November 3, 2014, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 4, 2011, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   4. submitted on August 8, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 6, 2021