Motorcoach Country Club

Desert Training Center and General Patton Memorial Museum

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Did you know?

From the years 1942-1944 the area 25 miles east of Motorcoach Country Club in the Mojave Desert became the temporary home to over million service men being trained to survive the gruelling conditions to be faced for the planned invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch).

General George Patton grew up in San Gabriel, CA and knew the perfect place to train for surviving the Sahara Desert was this barren area that ultimately contained eleven named camps. Given the task of turning 18,000 square miles of desert into a training facility, Patton considered the existing roadways, rail lines and the Colorado River Aqueduct as assets. These camps were located in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Camp Young, near the existing General Patton Museum at Chiriaco Summit was the main administrative headquarters for the complex of camps and had the most permanent structures…the other camps had little or no permanent buildings as the goal was to prepare the troops for fighting in the worst conditions that desert warfare could provide. The area was so large that the various armies could use live ammunition in war games and never be near men from any of the other eleven camps. Air strips were built, tent cities and reservoirs for water. Several of these tent cities were laid out with streets up to three miles long. The average stay for a soldier in training was around 14 weeks.

With most of the fighting over in North Africa by 1943, the focus of the camp shifted and was ultimately closed in April 1944, ending the largest simulated battle operations in the history of military maneuvers.
As a side note, Palm Village, now known as Palm Desert was set up as the maintenance facility for the thousands of trucks, tanks, Jeeps and other vehicles necessary for these camps…this motor pool was located in the area of Portola and El Paseo, south of Hwy 111…now an exclusive shopping area near Palm Springs.
Besides being one of the greatest Generals of all time, Patton was well known for his love of animals, especially dogs…he adopted his English Bull Terrier, “Willie” when in London in 1944. Naturally Willie had his own military issued dog tags and a collar with bells so everyone knew when he was coming. General Patton even made him “second in Command.”
The General Patton Memorial Museum is a tribute to General Patton, the soldiers who trained at the Desert Training Center, and all U.S. soldiers and veterans. It is located at Chiriaco Summit off Interstate 10, 25 miles east of Indio, California and from Motorcoach Country Club. For more information visit

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