While ceremonies are appropriately being conducted here in the U. S. and in Europe comemorating the 60th anniversary of the WW II and in particular the Allied storming of the beach in Normandy, France, the thought came to mind that young Virgin Islanders are not aware about the part by the Virgin Islanders played during the war. Since the Virgin Islands was as it is now, a U. S. territory, the islands role was prominent. First, a group of Virgin Islands petitioned the War Department to allow Virgin Islanders to become subject to the draft and that was accomplished. They were patriotic and wanted to make a contribution to the war effort.
The Department of the Navy practically took over St. Thomas for Naval Operations. The current Cyril E. King airport was a Marine Corps and Naval Air Station; Water Islands was a munition testing and development station. The University of the Virgin Islands now occupies the officer quarters for the Navy and Marine Corps. The Bourne Field housing which is now operated by the Port Authority housed military personnel. Sub Base was in fact a submarine base and its units patrolled the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans. The Carib Beach Hotel was the Sick Bay or hospital for the Atlantic Theater of Operations. The land at Mandela Circle was known as Camp Harwood, and housed military personnel who were concerned with security for the island. Crown Mountain was the site of a radio tower for transmitting messages.
Eric E. Dawson
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