cotuit . . .

Some of us will refer to this new area as Camp Candoit while others will call it Cotuit. But, Candoit or Cotuit, we did it. Our special position was firmly established and new contacts were being made-shall we say, nightly. There was hard work ahead of us and everything we had learned individually, as technicians in specialized fields, had to be welded into a team effort. While the Shore Companies were concentrating their efforts on acquiring a finesse at road building, beach defense, and cargo handling, the Boat Battalion was very busy learning the rudiments of boat handling, navigation, and running formations. There the two Battalions combined for their first taste of landing operations. The so-called assault troops, made up of Shore Battalion men under the tactical command of the new S-3, Lt. Wendell "General" Lockett, made wet landings on these maneuvers much to the pleasure of the boatmen and the displeasure of the Shore Engineers.


A DUKW in action

Meanwhile, some of us were still in school at Gray Industries at Detroit, General Motors at Flint, Michigan, Engine School at Camp Edwards, Hall-Scott Plant in Berkeley, California, and Higgins Industries at New Orleans. Some of us were navigation students at Harvard University and at Camp Edwards.  Dr. Bok's and Miss Wright's informal classes will be remembered by those who were fortunate to have them as instructors.

Colonel Colby M. Myers succeeded Colonel Esposito as our "Old Man" on 19 April, and it was through his efforts that we received a thorough knowledge of the basic principles of amphibious operations. In fact it was he who prepared the seven technical training guides which served as our bibles.

It wasn't long before we were making excursions to, and raids on, such places as Coonamessett, Coffee House, The Seven Seas, and other elite clubs. Our boots and shoulder patches were trademarks which became even more famous than the Smith Brothers' labels.

Our first baptism under fire came when we were all processed through the infiltration course for the first time. Coupled with the fog, cold wind, rough water, and wet nights at sea in our open boats, this was our life at Cotuit.


Running in Formation

Our training continued into the summer months and on 8 July, Colonel Francis H. Falkner assumed command of the Regiment, when Colonel Myers was ordered to Brigade Headquarters. By this time company maneuvers were working smoothly and individual unit bivouacs out on Sandy Neck had been made in mosquito-infested cranberry marshes. The Medical Detachment was developing into an efficient organization under the vigilant care of Major O'Brien. Already they were making claims that they had the meanest, toughest aggregation of ball players in the Army. It was almost impossible for "Obie" to keep his colts in line-and vice versa.

After we had progressed from company problems to battalion problems the stage was set for big time Regimental problems. They meant "H" - hour, Red Beach, "K " - Beach, rendezvous areas, K - rations, sand flies, and many other things which sounded like real combat talk. Then came the grand-dad problem at Katama Point on Martha's Vineyard in August. The "Old Man" wanted to see his Regiment out in the field in a dress rehearsal before our move South. So on 7 August 1943, the whole Regiment moved by LCM's to Martha's Vineyard where, for 2 solid weeks, we were encamped under pup tents. Mobile maintenance facilities were set up on the open beach and camp life proceeded under the strictest standards of sanitation and police. Simultaneously we established firm beach heads in the neighboring summer resort towns of Oak Bluff, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, and the off-duty social life of our Regiment reached an all-time high.


LCPR Makes White Wake

During the hours when stern duty ruled, many surf landings were made; then on 15 August we held our Regimental problem. The mock landing was planned and executed under field conditions and at times a realistic touch was added by having the enemy shore defenses open fire on our incoming landing party. The mission was successfully completed and a new "esprit de corps" prevailed. We began to talk like seasoned veterans.

We returned to Cotuit, turned over our boats to sister regiments, and set about packing our equipment for rail shipment to our new home-to-be in Florida. Our orders came on 31 August 1943. We were on our way.


Sand Table Model of Beach