A History of Camp Phillips, Kansas

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe

THE CAMP PHILLIPS STORY

On June 4, 1942 The army released a map showing that they were going to condemn about 45,000 acres of Saline County, Kansas, farm land on which they were going to build a "Triangular Division" training area. This action caused 107 farm families to hurriedly leave their homes and over 300 people had to sell their land at reduced Government prices. The farmers had to get rid of their livestock and farm implements at rock bottom prices and move out as quickly as they could find some place to go. These people, some of them third and fourth generation farmers on this land were called on for quite a sacrifice.

Something like seven thousand construction workers moved in and began the large task of constructing the camp (Such as it was). Work was around the clock and at one time 9,700 workers were employed. On 3200 acres of this land more than 3,500 buildings were built, including housing for 45,000 troops, 11 chapels, 100 recreational buildings, 5 theaters, 35 warehouses, cold storage plants, large laundries, a complete water and sewer system, 54 miles of roads and all kinds of training and target areas. a special area to store ammunition was built. The army records show that it was built at a total cost of less than 23 million dollars. (If it were done today would probably be in Billions). Work was far enough along that the first Post Commander and troop train arrived on September 24, 1942. less than five months (almost unbelievable, especially if you didn't have to live there and see the place, Tar paper shacks, but still an enormous job in such a short time)

During its short existence, just over two years, Sept. 24, 1942 until Nov. 16, 1944, Camp Phillips was an active army post with over 45,000 soldiers and 5,000 civilians at one time. It is estimated that over 150,000 troops trained at Camp Phillips. Four Infantry Divisions trained there the 94th, 80th, 79th, and the 44th. In addition, nineteen non-Divisional units were trained there including the 405th Artillery Group of which the 275th was a part.

Tar paper covered barracks, home for the 275th at Camp Phillips

Pvt. Leroy Johnston
"Service" Battery

275th Field Artillery

Pvt. Johnston & Pvt. Caratelli
Service Battery

Pvt. Louis A. Caratelli
checks out the duty assignments.

Tom Dobinski, Glenn Reeves and 2 friends - A Battery

"A" Battery
 Pvt. Glenn Reeves, ?
Pvt. Tom Dobinski, ?

"C" Battery
Pvt. George Grago

Camp Phillips, besides troop training, there were many special projects such as a huge army tank repair and rebuilding depot covering sixty acres. Another site of forty acres was covered by huge pilings (poles) about 150 feet long, these were to be used in Europe or Japan in harbors if needed.

After Nov. 1944 Camp Phillips became a prisoner of war camp and surplus storage depot. They had about seven thousand German PW's imprisoned there, and they used them to dismantle most of the buildings.

Camp Phillips was considered a good place for a special depot, about half way between Europe and Japan. The camp was named for Colonel William A. Phillips who was born in Scotland and came to the United States as a youth. He achieved a glorious career during the Civil war and built the first building in what is now the town of Salina, Kansas. Salina has at least one claim to fame, it is considered to be the exact geographical center of the United States of America

A History of Camp Campbell

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