Historic Hempstead Plains - Nassau County, Long Island

The Hoboken Port of Embarkation staging areas. (I/P)

Camp Mills was one of the four Port of Hoboken staging areas. The four staging bases were Camp Dix, Camp Merritt1, Camp Mills and Camp Upton. Camp Mills and Camp Merritt2 are now housing developments. Camp Upton is now Brookhaven National Labs. Camp Upton was used during both World Wars. Camp Dix is now Fort Dix and is diminished in size from its World War II days, but its operation continues to this day.

Soldiers on arriving at the port would be fed and given safe arrival cards to be filled out. These cards would be sent home after their arrival. They would be given no information. At the Hoboken port soldiers would board ships for Europe. On boarding they would be sent below deck, until they were out to sea they would not be allowed topside. After leaving the sight of land soldiers would be allowed back on deck. They would rotate in shifts looking for torpedoes or submarines.

The Port of Embarkation commander was Major General David Shanks. He was transferred to head up this effort and in the final analysis did a brilliant job of it. He also wanted to be part of the "real" war effort and was finally successful in mustering enough political muscle to get himself assigned to command a division to go over. One month later he was back in action as the commander of the Port of Embarkation. He was the only person who could successfully handle the monstrous 24X7 efforts. He served where he was needed most and did so in an outstanding way.
 1) Camp Merrit - the link is a sub page of J. Hartwells site..

2) Camp Merritt - Bergen County Historical Society.


Back to main page.