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Beale Air Force Base

Beale Air Force Base is named for Edward Fitzgerald Beale (1822–1893), an American Navy Lieutenant and a Brigadier General in the California Militia who was an explorer and frontiersman in California.

In 1940, the "Camp Beale" area consisted of grassland and rolling hills and the 19th century mining town of Spenceville. Then, Marysville city officials encouraged the Department of War to establish a military facility in the area. The U.S. government purchased 87,000 acres (350 km2) in 1942 for a training post for the 13th Armored Division, the only unit of its kind to be entirely trained in California. Camp Beale also held training facilities for the 81st and 96th Infantry Division, and a 1,000-bed hospital. Dredge tailings from the area's abandoned gold mines were used to build streets at the Camp.

As a complete training environment, Camp Beale had tank maneuvers, mortar and rifle ranges, a bombardier-navigator training, and chemical warfare classes. At its peak during World War II, Camp Beale had 60,000 personnel.

Camp Beale also housed a German POW camp, and served as the main camp for a series of satellite POW camps around northern California. Branch camps were established at Arbuckle, in Colusa County (200 Germans); Chico, in Butte County (475 Germans); Davis, in Yolo County (250 Germans); Napa, in Napa County (250 Germans); and Windsor, in Sonoma County (250 Germans). All of the camps provided agriculture manpower to local farms and ranchers. German POWs at Beale also provided manpower for base support operations.

Beale Air Force Base Official Website

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