In late December 1943 units including the 10559th moved from Screven to the ASF Training Center at Camp Gordon Johnston, near Carrabelle on the gulf coast of Florida. The new camp with its fifteen-mile beach frontage and its widely scattered housing was quite a change from Tybee Island.20 One unit “was somewhat bewildered at the vastness of the new location and found it quite different from the previous station, which was in an exceptionally fine location with all recreational activities easily accessible.”21 Johnston was about sixty-five miles from Tallahassee, with no communities of any size in the vicinity.
In contrast to the first units, which received competent fillers through voluntary induction, the six companies that trained at Camp Johnston in 1944 and early 1945 received a very poor quality of personnel. The last of these units, organized in the fall of 1944, had only one officer with any experience in dock construction and he was classified as limited service. Fillers consisted in the main of “a raft of shipyard workers who did some one job in a production line.” Men had to be trained in base schools for some of the most elementary positions and the commanding officer of the unit despaired of filling the many sergeant positions with qualified men. Of the twelve companies—about three thousand men—that trained at Screven and Johnston, seven went to Europe and five to the Pacific.
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Diver coming out of the water, Camp Gordon Johnston, Fla., is engaged in underwater repair