Order of


Command Post



Division Composition

Fort Wayne

Fort Custer

Camp Claiborne

Camp Howze

Keesler Field

Scott Field

Camp Shanks

Camp Atterbury

410th Anniversary Dinner

Battles & Campaigns

Mortality Statistics


Books Available




Cactus Patch


Camp Shanks, New York, was the final stateside stop for 1.3 million soldiers who processed through this staging area and prepared for departure from Piermont Pier to the European Theater of Operations. Units bound for France were shipped overseas from Piermont Pier, approximately four miles away, where a monument marks their embarkation.

Camp Shanks World War II Museum is located on South Greenbush Road (at the intersection of Routes 303 and 340), Orangeburg, Rockland County, New York 10962 (Telephone 914-638-5244). The museum, located to the rear of the city library, is housed in a quonset hut structure with a lobby. A recreated World War II barracks is the setting for the main body of the museum. At the rear of the museum is a video monitor for viewing several different documentary movies made during the war. There is also a glass wall case displaying the patches of the divisions which processed through Camp Shanks. On display are:

6th Armored Division
7th Armored Division
10th Armored Division
12th Armored Division
14th Armored Division
26th Infantry Division
63rd Infantry Division
65th Infantry Division
66th Infantry Division
75th Infantry Division
82nd Airborne Division
83rd Infantry Division
94th Infantry Division
101st Airborne Division
103rd Infantry Division
XIII Corps
3rd Army

There is no admission charge but donations for the continued operation of the museum are accepted. A large map of the camp is available for purchase. The museum is operated by the County of Rockland Veterans Agency, directed by Jerry Donnellan. The Historical Society of Rockland County published a book in 1991 entitled "Camp Shanks and Shanks Village: A Scrapbook," by Scott E. Webber. It contains photographs and information about life during World War II and in the late 1940s and 1950s. The cost of the book is $37.50 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. Checks may be made payable to the Historical Society of Rockland County. Email address of the Historical Society:



HISTORY: On the evening of 25 Sep 42, over 300 Orangeburg residents met at the Orangeburg School (now the city library) to learn that their homes, lots, and farms (amounting to approximately 2,040 acres west of the museum) were being seized for the immediate construction of a military camp. One hundred thirty families lost their homes. If the United States was to transport troops and equipment to Europe, it had to expand its military facilities around New York City. Colonel Drew C. Eberson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was the Chief Engineer during constuction. Camp Shanks was a rush job, completed between Sep 42 and May 43 at a cost of $44,391,335. Charges of corruption, petty theft, and disorderly behavior by workmen plagued the project. In Jun 46, a federal grand jury cleared the military and the contractors of charges of graft, but acknowledged major problems among some of the labor unions, primarily consisting of a gigantic kickback system. Camp Shanks officially opened 4 Jan 45 under the command of Colonel Kenna G. Eastman. The barracks in which the transient soldiers lived measured 20' x 100', and consisted of two rows of bunks and three coal-burning pot-belly stoves which provided the limited heat. Two WAC detachments, consisting of over 400 women, were assigned to the camp, and filled positions ranging from clerk to mechanic to warehouse staff to armorer. Their freedom of movement on the installation was restricted. Camp Shanks comprised one of three staging areas on the eastern seaboard. The other two, Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, NY, and Camp Kilmer, New Brunswick, NJ, when combined with Camp Shanks, made the area the largest staging area in the world. One of the primary functions as a staging area was to ensure each soldier and WAC left the U.S. fully equipped before crossing the Atlantic. The final field inspection at Camp Shanks identified any problems, made any necessary repairs, and replaced anything which could not be repaired. At the beginning of the war, no large depots existed in England from which soldiers could get their equipment. They carried their essentials with them in their backpacks or barracks bags. During the second half of 1944, Camp Shanks was sending tens of thousands of troops overseas. Staging peaked in Oct 44, when 78,354 troops arrived while 85,805 troops departed. By the end of Nov 44, all staging areas in the U.S. stopped their final field inspections. Shortages and replacements could be handled from supply depots in England. When the soldiers were notified that they were on "Alert" status, they knew they would be shipping out within twelve hours. The soldiers removed their division sleeve patches, and their helmets were chalked with a letter and a number, indicating the proper marching order from the camp to the train and the railroad car to ride in. It was a short train ride to the New Jersey docks, and a harbor boat ferried troops to a waiting troopship. One source also advised that troops marched the four miles from the camp to the Piermont Pier where they boarded troopships. Camp Shanks also housed 1200 Italian and 800 German prisoners of war between April 1945 and January 1946, with the first Germans arriving in June 1945. At the close of the war, 290,000 POWs passed through Camp Shanks as they were processed for return to their native countries. The last German to leave was on 22 July 46. Camp Shanks closed in Jul 46.


PIERMONT PIER: A total of 419,491 persons (equal to 573 trainloads) embarked and disembarked from Piermont Pier during the existence of Camp Shanks. The pier is located at the east end of Paradise Avenue, Piermont, NY. An outstanding example of reuse, this mile-long dock that once was the eastern terminus of the Erie Railroad is now a tree-lined public walkway jutting out into the Hudson River. The concrete pier is still used by local fishermen. It is open year-round during daylight hours. (1-800-295-5723)

A bronze commemorative plaque is mounted on a large stone at the entrance to the pier with an inscription which reads:

In Memory of
Those Who Never Returned
May God Be with All of Them

The Piermont Village Board
Mayor William Goswick
Trustee Donald Cocker
Trustee Margaret Grace
Trustee Charles Berger
Trustee John Zahn

Special thanks and acknowledgement are expressed to: Janice Greznar, a volunteer worker at the museum, who assisted the author; Patricia Edwards Clyne, a contributor to "Hudson Valley Guide"; Jennifer C. Griffin, Museum Curator; and Dorothy Holmes, a lifetime resident of Piermont, NY, who served as escort and guide to Piermont Pier.


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