Sacramento Signal Depot During WWII
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph F. Healy, Office of Chief Signal Officers in Washington D.C, is interviewed about his direct role in the building of the Sacramento Signal Depot. He traces the Sacramento Signal Depot history from its original location at the California State Fairgrounds at the intersection of Stockton boulevard and Broadway, Sacramento, California to its WWII home (1942-1945) at the leased Bercut-Richards packing plant on 7th & B Street. During this time, the Bercut-Richards packing plant location was also the site for a German prisoner-of-war camp. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, the War Department recognized the urgent need for modern warehousing of general supplies and electronic equipment maintenance and repair facilities on the West Coast. Healy advocated in Washing DC for a purpose-built Signal Depot in Sacramento as part of the 9 million dollar appropriation and approval for Command Construction during World War II. He was not only granted the funding, but was appointed supervisor of the construction. He worked in collaboration with the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, Arthur Dudley, president, and William Stone, industrial manager, along with US Army Corp of Engineers to develop the depot site in Sacramento. Concrete materials would be used for the buildings due to a present timber shortage and Morrison Creek would be diverted/rerouted around the perimeter of the site. In 1945 construction commenced, but was soon halted with the advent of VJ Day. It was Lieutenant Colonel Healy strong and persistent advocacy persuaded the War Department to resume construction, in triple shifts. After completion of command construction, Lieutenant Colonel Healy developed the procedures and directions for operating the Nation’s depots. Now a reserve officer, in 1947, Lieutenant Colonel Healy moved to Sacramento and attended the Sacramento Signal Depot Dedication. He reflected on the formative stages of the depot, described the town of Sacramento at the time of WWII, his interactions with Thomas H. Richards, and the political support from the members of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce throughout the depot project. Lieutenant Colonel Healy recounted Sacramento Signal Depot’s military/civilian relationship,and the employment not only of local residents, but the use of German prisoners of war labor.
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