Camp Adair was one of thousands of facilities that were federalized in Oregon during WWII. Its distinction was that it was one of the largest. Camp Adair created three Infantry Divisions (the 96th, 104th and 70th) and trained another one (the 91st) having over 100,000 people in residence at one time becoming Oregon’s 2nd largest city from 1942-1944.
The troops at Camp Adair participated in the largest war games scenario in Oregon at the Bend Maneuvers in the summer and fall of 1943. The command post for this exercise was at Camp Abbot with a training area that would encompass six counties. This was an opportunity for training as a full division against other full divisions with over 100,000 men training simultaneously. The training at Camp Adair and at Camp Abbot was successful in producing well trained soldiers to fight in the Pacific and the European theaters during WWII.
The 96th “Deadeye” Infantry Division was sent to the Philippines in September/October 1944 where they entered combat at Leyte. They continued their combat mission at Okinawa making an assault landing on April 1st. Okinawa was one of the first instances where the Americans started encountering Japanese civilians and the Japanese resistance became much more fanatical. The 96th captured Sugar Hill breaking a important enemy defensive line. On June 19th Brigadier General Easley, the 96th Assistant Division Commander one of the highest ranking soldiers killed in action during WWII. The 96th was scheduled for the attack into Japan, but the atomic bomb was dropped and the 96th was deactivated in the United States in February 1946. Total casualties were 2,201 killed in action and 7,015 wounded. The Division won one Distinguished Unit Citation and 4 Medals of Honor.
The 104th “Timberwolf” Infantry Division was the first American infantry division to land directly on French soil in September 1944. October led to assaults in Belgium and movement into Germany near Aachen. It crossed the Rhine River in March and trapped German troops in the Ruhr Pocket. They continued crossing the Saale River and captured Halle after a bitter 5-day fight. It closed the pincers on the Germans when they met the Russians at Pretzch on April 26th. The 104th was well known for being dangerous night fighters, a skill not appreciated by the Germans. After 6 ½ months of continuous fighting, the 104th had accomplished its mission and was deactivated in the United States on June 27, 1945. The 104th had 1,447 killed in action and 6,223 wounded. The 104th received 2 Medals of Honor.
The 70th “Trailblazer” Infantry Division named for the first wagon train to arrive in Oregon was officially adopted by the state of Oregon in September 1943. The 70th sent advance troops to France in December 1944; they rushed to the front and were soon heavily engaged in stopping Germany’s last major offensive. The rest of the 70th arrived in January 1945 and fought through the Siegfried Line near the Saar River spending 86 days in combat. The 70th was deactivated in October 1945. The 70th had 835 killed in action and 2,713 wounded. The 70th received a Distinguished Unit Citation.
The 91st “Powder River” Infantry Division was reactivated with a bang at Camp Adair with a 91-mile march in full field gear. This type of training served 91st well when it arrived in North Africa in late April and May 1944. By June the 91st had arrived in Italy landing at Anzio and fighting south of Rome. In July the 91st was fighting for high ground above the Arno River and captured Livorno and Pisa. In September the 91st attacked the German Gothic line, moving the Allied line forward. In April 1945 the final push came and the 91st crossed the Po River and then the Adige River. By May 2nd all enemy forces had surrendered and the 91st was assigned occupation duty, leaving Italy August 31, 1945 and deactivated on December 1, 1945. The 91st had 1,575 killed in action and 7,169 wounded. The 91st received 3 Distinguished Unit Citations and 2 Medals of Honor.