I first discussed CCC Camp Cable way back in 2015. At the time the remains of the camp were quite visible, although in part this is a matter of visiting on a nice spring/fall day when the underbrush is not too thick. Going back in 2020, and looking for the perfect "hide" for a geocache, it seems as if there is less definition to the remains. Every year frost and thaw nudges those stones just a little further away from where they were placed in the 1930's.....
But mostly I want to take a closer look at the men of the CCC. In the five years that have passed I suspect the last of the guys in these photos have left us. So....who were they? As I mentioned in the initial post Camp Cable was built by a special company, V-1676. The V designation indicates that they were all First War Veterans. Older, smarter, tougher than the young recruits who would follow them.
When you see those guys, the one with tattoos in particular, you realize that they looked at what we now think of as The Greatest Generation and thought: "What a bunch a punks!"
Company 3653 is the best documented of the CCC groups that lived and worked at Camp Cable. Here's a few pictures of them at work and play. These probably are from an earlier camp near Ashland, but are quite representative of activities at all such places.
The 3653 baseball team was good enough to win a sub-district pennant in 1935, the year before they moved to Camp Cable.
Most CCC companies posed for group shots. These two were probably taken at Camp Cable.
The men, but sadly not the cute dog mascot wearing sunglasses, are identified by name. Curious as to whether the stereotype of these guys all going on to Greatest Generation greatness were correct, I spent a little time searching for traces of them. Obviously those with generic names were usually lost. Even the oddball names often come up blank. But consider:
The commander of Company 3653 was the oddly named Lauris Martin Eek. He was a Great War pilot and flight instructor with the 470th Attack Squadron. This photo is from later in life when he went into politics. He had two sons who served in the Second World War. I suspect that both Lauris Jr. and Nathanial Eek spent part of their youth happily roaming the woods around Camp Cable. Lauris Jr. passed away earlier this year, and with him perhaps passed the last direct memories of life at Camp Cable...
The camp's second in command, 1st Lt. Hermann Bieritz rose to the rank of Major, serving in the Pacific with the Signal Corps.
And the rank and file? In no particular order:
Clarence Vanderschaegen moved to Hurley after service in the Navy in WWII.
Peter Karabas seems to have moved to the Madison area and run a restaurant. Because versions of this name appear with and without an s on the end I can't say if it is an odd coincidence or a hidden mystery, but a Peter Karaba was slain by a robber in June of 1931...at Moquah Wisconsin, not far from Cable. Was the young man in the CCC photo a local lad left orphaned?
Jude Wray has a tragic story. Originally of Ocanto Wisconsin he was a private on leave in March of 1941 when he was involved in an automobile accident. He was said to be "critically injured" when he was caught under the wheels of a "slow moving train". I wonder if he was left disabled. The next mention I find of him is from 1950. He was living with his mother and went fishing on the Wisconsin river. When his tackle was found abandoned on the bank the worst was feared. After 30 hours lost in the woods he made it out just as the search was about to be called off.
It would be possible to trace more but I think in general we can assume that most of the "CCC Boys" took the skills and discipline they learned in camp and put them to good use in military and civilian life. They were the kind of people who just went out and got necessary things taken care of. And did not make any fuss about it. Perhaps that was the true Greatness of their Generation.