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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ: http://kjzz.org/science

Yuma Proving Ground Nears Its 75th Anniversary

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Maya Springhawk Robnett
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KAWC Colorado River Public Media
Bill Heidner explaining the history of Camp Laguna beside some remains from the Camp

Yuma Proving Ground, the U.S. Army’s weapons testing and training military installation near the city of Yuma, is coming up on its 75th anniversary in February.  And the proving ground has already begun preparations.   For the Arizona Science Desk, Maya Springhawk Robnett reports…

During World War II, 1.5 million combat troops trained at what is now known as Yuma Proving Ground.  But Bill Heidner, museum curator for the Heritage Center of YPG, said including all the support personnel somewhere in the area of 10 million people were trained at YPG in total during the World War II era. 

"Over 50% of the war effort was tied to people that trained here to go fight..."

“Over 50% of the war effort was tied to people that trained here to go fight.  It’s pretty impressive,” Heidner said. “I get—sometimes, especially when I’m driving my Jeep—I just have that connected feeling, you know, that I’m driving through the middle of an area that had WWII Jeeps and at any given time, 15 thousand people living here in a tent, getting ready to go to war…”

YPG, for the first time, is offering tickets to the public to tour what remains of Camp Laguna, the WWII training camp that later became Yuma Proving Ground.  Tickets can be purchased on the Yuma Visitor’s Bureau website.

YPG will also be hosting a celebration on February 3rd.

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