For camp intertainment we had sports, weekly shows, monthly visits from the Chap1an and of corse we would take as many enrollee as wanted to go to town on Saturday nites, then there was a dance hall at North Fork about 35 miles up the river. We had a small band from camp that played at that roadhouse. One night I was walking around the grounds and heard a young woman yell for help, so I ran in the direction of the voice and there was one young lady over the side of the bridge of the northfork river being held by her friend., I got her back on the bridge and sent her back to the dance hall. Never asked her name or bothered to find out who she was. Her friend told me that she had a fight with her boyfriend so she was going to end it all.
We finhod and swam in the river a lot, where the Middle Forks of the Salmon River met the main river was a real strong and deep river and I use to enjoy swimming down along the wall of the canyon it was cold as ice and clear as air. I was a strong swimmer so at Salmon City there were some rapids above the bridge and I decided swim them. . I got tossed around and skined up a bit, but servived it.
At the Camp Our Educational Adviser Mr.Virgil Enke through the auspicious of the federal government provided us with all kinds of education and training. I used to assist him in in the class rooms. We had all kinds of mechanical courses from Auto Mechanic to Diesel Engine repair, Photograghy, typing, carpentry, accounting, bookeeping etc. When the men needed to apply for jobs out side our camp invioriment Mr. Enke would assist them in preparing the letters. Many of our bulldozer operators left camp for jobs at the big dams that were being buildt around the west. By the way there was also a class in aviation which I took and every one of the classes that was available.. I have and envelope full of certificates. Oh yes,I became First Sergeant of the company in 1938 amd served in this position until I was discharged in March of 1940 to take a job as a car mechanic in Blackfoot, Idaho, It was arranged for me by our Chap1an swing Wilson with a Captains rating. He brought religion to the camp once a month and I use to assist him also. Remember all this time our families at home were recieving twenty five dollars a month and as enrollees we received five dollars except in my case I received fifteen dollars which all the leaders of the comnpany received.
Best of all we had a mess Sergeant Paul Musch from near Minot, N.D. who was able to put together tdhe best meals any company ever had. Times like Christma and other major holidays the meals were super. We had a rulling in our Company that you could not go to supper meal without your class A uniform on, on hot summer evenings I think the men hated it and me for inforcing the rule. We did have and orderly group of young men and our kitchen and dinning room were emaculate.
Since we were in a canyon a half mile or more deep we got lots of exercise hiking and playing volley ball and tennis. We had two courts which I personnally dug out of the hillside just above our parade grounds. It took a lot of time because I could only use the power shovel, dump truck and bulldozer on week end and Sundays. Hauling the clay from thirty five miles up the river one load at a time which my buddy Tyson our first aid person and I personally loaded with shovel. Many of the other enrollees when they saw it was a serious project helped make it a success. I think our camp way out there in the wilderness was the cleanest and neatest camp in the whole district.
The Forest Service established a mountain resque team because in the late fall of the year there were so many hunters who came down to the end of the road to hunt dear and would get lost. The forest service would get the call from the families and our team would go out to find them a group leader by the name of Carlson and I were chosen to be members of the team since both of us were avid hikers and endurance men. We would have to trudge through snow up to our waists in some places. Our wool G.I. shirts would have hore frost on them like many of you have seen on sweaty horses in the winter. It was always a great sense of accomplishment when we would find the lost hunters in good health.
The C.C.C.'s increased the wealth of the nation with all the difference projects they completed and I believe most are standing today. We probable were the largest concervation organization in the world we left legions of completed prodjects and some uncompleted e.g. Salmon River Road that I kmow of.
Unbeknown to us was that we were part of the largest pool of young men trained in camp deciplines and ready to go any place. Which most of them did volunteered for service in the Army Navy or Marines. Most of us did not know that Camp David was once a CCC camp and Roosevelt like it so much that it became the refuge for him and all the presidents since. GOD bless Franklin Delino Roosevelt for his vision at that time in the history of our beloved Country.
My six years in the CCC's was one of the greatest times of my life and personal growth. I have no regrets only praise for the officers I served under and the men I served with. Maybe its time we reinstitute the C.C.C. program of Roosevelts’ era yes right now would be the time.
Harold Perry Leland
June 30, 1996
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