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Camp Kearny, California

Editor's Note: During my research of the photographs supplied by Barry Fitzgerald, Eddie's grandson, I was surprised to find that photos of Camp Kearny and Rockwell Field are almost non-existant. Many museums have asked for copies of these historic photographs including the Army, Navy and Marine museums in California and throughout the country. I have therefore included a brief background of each of these historic locations and the associated photographs.

During World War I the US Army purchased the 2,130 acre Mirimar Ranch for an infantry training center and named it Camp Kearny after General S. W. Kearny, the former military commander and later governor of California. Although Army aircraft occasionally landed on the camp's parade ground, an official airfield was established at nearby Rockwell Field, also on the North Island, near San Diego. It should also be noted that the Ryan Aircraft Company weight tested Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis at Camp Kearny in 1927. Mirimar, now a Marine Corps air station, was part of the original Camp Kearny site which was expanded to over 8,000 acres. Opening on July 18, 1917, Camp Kearny could accommodate over 32,000 army recruits and hosted the 40th and 16th Divisions and the 157th, 158th, 159th and 160th Infantry Regimants. after the war, Camp Kearny served as a demobilization and convalescent center before closing as a training camp on October 31, 1920.

 

 

Troops in training march to the beach in California.

Rockwell Field, California - Page 1

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Page 3

Camp Kearny, California

Page 2

France - Peace Accord

 

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Camp Kearny - gas mask varieties (above). Getting a shave with a gas mask (right).
Link to Wikipedia - Edward N. Jackson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jackson_(photographer)

On April 2, 1917, President Wilson asked the Senate permission to go to war with Germany, which was overwhelmingly approved by both the Senate and the House on April 6, 1917. It is interesting to note that war was declared on the German government, not its subjects.

Many years past the draft age, Eddie Jackson joined the Army Signal Corps at the age of 32 and reported for training on October 22nd to Camp Alfred Vail in Little Silver, NJ. Upon completing training, and with his extensive photography background, Eddie was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Here is a portion of Eddie's journal entries:

"After months of training of military work at Camp Alfred Vail I received orders to proceed to Washington, DC reporting on arrival in Washington to the Adjutant Geberal of the Army. My first duty in the army as a soldier was to go out with my camera taking pictures for the Committee of Public Information. About a dozen ex-newspaper cameramen were assigned the same work. I was assigned to travel from army camp to army camp taking photographs. The work for the army was almost the same as in civilian life - covering a military camp was much like a Presidential Inauguration."

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Letter of permission from the War Department for Lt. Edward Jackson to take whatever photographs he cared to at Camp Kearny and Rockwell Field.
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