AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE IN THE DESERT (Abstract from Project D-1, Air Forces Guide of Desert Operations) Eglin Field, Florida: SAADC Personnel Training Department, reproduced April 1943
A report prepared by the Artic, Desert and Tropic Information Center about the maintenance of aircraft in desert conditions illustrated with real photos of military personnel and equipment in the Mojave Desert. The copy of this report belonged to a Lt. Col. Garber, whose name is written on the front cover, and it is likely his unique production. Of the 47 photographs in the album, 30 are 8 x 9 1/4 inches and 17 are 5 x 3 3/4 inches. All bear a caption within the image and show a variety of desert maneuvers taken between October of 1942 and January of 1943, which correlates with the time that the Desert Training Center (DTC), later known as California/Arizona Maneuver Area (CAMA), was a World War II training facility.
Established in the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert, the DTC’s mission was to train United States Army and Army Air Forces units and personnel to live and fight in the desert, to test and develop suitable equipment, and to develop tactical doctrines, techniques, and training methods. Its first commanding general was Major General S. Patton Jr., who commenced training exercises in late 1941. The DTC was a key training facility for units engaged in combat during the 1942-43 North African campaign. The center encompassed 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.
The seven pages of text accompanying the photos is concerned with airplane maintenance in desert environments: “The desert can be a greater destroyer of your aircraft, your armament, your equipment and your supplies than the enemy himself. Sand and heat are your foes. Remember that good maintenance calls for the eternal vigilance against the abrasive, destructive presence of dust and sand. It may me a tactician's paradise, but it is a maintenance man's hell.”
Quarto: title leaf, 7 pages of text (rectos only), and 47 original silver gelatin photographs (on 47 leaves). Original canvas-backed post-binding (bound at the top). Some edgewear to binding; else very good.
[Offered together with] Photographic Panorama of The Desert Training Center, California. Santa Monica: Thompson Photo Service, circa 1943. 43 x 13 inches. Slight ripple and browning to the verso, likely from contact with cardboard; otherwise very good. Showing a large view of the Desert Training Center with a squadron of planes in the sky and Jeeps mounted with 50 caliber guns. Item #74403