Camp Bouse (1943-1944) - A World War II desert training camp established in 1943 near Bouse in La Paz County, Arizona. During WWII the camp site was located in Yuma County and that area became a part of La Paz County when that county formed in 1983. The Camp was abandoned in 1944.
Established in August 1943 as one of fifteen temporary World War II training camps in the southern California and Arizona desert areas. These training camps formed what was initially known as the Desert Training Center and then as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area after 20 Oct 1943. As the war entered a new phase in 1944, the camps were closed and training was discontinued on 30 Apr 1944.
Camp Bouse was constructed as a temporary facility by the 369th Engineer Battalion and included only one building, the hospital, pyramid wood tent frames, and a 500,000-gallon water tank. Water for the site was provided by deep well pumps. Construction began in August 1943.
Grant Tank CDL (Canal Defence Light) Project
In practice, the mission of the post was to develop the Top Secret Canal Defense Light (CDL) project. This project used M-3 Grant tanks mounted with 13 million candlepower strobe lights flickering six times per second. The intent was to blind and confuse German troops and tank crews. The technology was apparently successful but never used in combat because it put the CDL-equipped tanks at great risk.
Camp Bouse hosted the 9th Armored Group's six CDL battalions. (701st, 736th, 738th, 739th, 740th, and 748th) and the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion, 150th Station Hospital, 554th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Company, and the 166th Quartermaster Battalion.
Camp Bouse was declared surplus on 1, Apr 1944 and was transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior on 30 Apr 1944. Leased land was returned to the various owners.
Restricted use of the land continued after the war while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supervised the cleanup of the hazardous material and the removal of temporary facilities.
Camp Bouse is about 25 miles from the town of Bouse and is accessible by four-wheel drive or ATV. High-profile passenger vehicles might be able to make the trip, but there is some deep sand along the way.
The old campsite is East of Hwy 72, drive northeast on Main Street to the stop sign. Turn left on Rayder, which turns into Swansea Road. Go 2.2 miles to the Bouse Y trailhead (look for the BLM information sign on the left) and continue on the Swansea Road (left fork).
An annual Camp Bouse dedication is held every year in the town of Bouse on the second Saturday in February. The Camp Bouse Monument park is located at the intersection of Plomosa Road and State Route 72 (Broadway Ave.) in Bouse