January 28, 2020 Yuma AZ

Today turned into a shopping day.  I wanted to swing by a couple of military bases to pick up some food and stuff.  Yuma has both an Army testing area, and a Marine Corps Air Station.  

I started at the Army base as they have a RV camp and I needed to dump and get some water.  While I was in there I asked about availability and they said they had only one spot available so I moved on to the Marines.  

After a run thru their stores it was early afternoon and I had to decide what to do.  I had a couple of options there is a National Wildlife Refuge in the area so I headed over to their headquarters to look at the option.  The nearest place I could camp was about 90 minutes away.  I checked the next option which was to head on to Organ Pipe National Monument and that was over 2 hours away.  I decided to call the Army to see if they still had that spot and they did so I headed over there for the night.

The base does ordnance testing, is the sight of the armed forces High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) parachuting school, which is done by special operations, and interestingly the place where they test bridging equipment despite the fact that it is in the middle of the Sonora Desert.  

A WWII Sherman tank on display at Yuma Proving Grounds.

At the base entrance they have an interesting display of old armor and artillery that I stopped in to take a look at.  This place was a major training area during WWII with three infantry divisions going thru here before heading to Europe.  I wandered thru the old equipment for a while.  Included in the display was an example of the howitzer that I worked on during my first two years in the Marines.

The M101 105mm howitzer that I operated during my first two years in the Marines.

By the campground they had an interesting display of a land train concept that was trialed at this base during the early 1960’s.  The concept was to have a train that did not run on rails and was capable of going across country off of roads.  The thinking was that this would allow for flexible logistics.  The train consisted of a command unit, two power units, and 10 wagons.  The entire thing was over 500 feet long.  They tested it here for 3 years before abandoning the concept.

The command unit of the land train.  The back includes quarters for 6 people.  The wheels are over 10 feet tall.

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