Goffs
 
 














  Goffs

Goffs was apparently the temporary location of the 7th Infantry Division.  Goffs was a railhead where the army leased portions of the track and built additional tracks.  There were several temporary buildings used by the army at Goffs, including one at the campsite.  The actual campsite could not be found, although the foundations of several buildings remain immediately east of Goffs. Goffs was the location of the 58th Quartermaster Regiment beginning sometime in 1942.  The 58th, like other units, was stationed in pup tents. The unit was located somewhere adjacent to the siding. [1 pp: 128]

Goffs consisted of a railroad siding, ammunition storage area, and a campsite.  The War Department leased an area of track from the Santa Fe Railroad and constructed 2,675 feet of tracks branching off of the leased track.  The site was used by the 7th Infantry Division at some time.  Established in 1942, the site also included three administration buildings (100 by 20 feet), two warehouse buildings (96 by 40 feet), and two sheds (96 by 40 feet).  A temporary building measuring 100 by 20 feet was located 1 mile east of the siding and represented the location of the campsite. Ten ammunition-storage igloos were located near Goffs Butte.  The 198th Ordnance Battalion Headquarters with the XV Corps was stationed at Goffs for an unknown length of time. [1 pp: 133]

Current Condition
Little can be found today indicating the presence of a camp at Goffs. Figure 138 (above) is a map of the Goffs area.  The remains of the siding can be seen, as can associated refuse.  There is otherwise no trace of the tent camp that existed at Goffs.

There are two airstrips at Goffs.  The photograph of Goffs Intermediate Field, at the left, was taken May 22, 1998, and shows what remains of the airstrip today. 
The Goffs Intermediate Field was triangular in layout, and it is still faintly visible today.

Click the photograph to view a satellite image of the Goffs Intermediate Field
 

Camp Goffs Army Airfield, a northeast-southwest oriented 1,500' strip, was located about two miles west of triangular Goffs Intermediate Field.  Goffs Army Airfield is still visible also.
 

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Narrative:
Named after a railroad official, Goffs became an important railroad siding on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in 1883.  A two-story station and turntable for the helper engines that pulled trains up the long grade from Needles were built.  The population fluctuated during the mining and railroad eras, and today only a few homes remain.

Goffs Rail Head and Campsite
In 1942, the War Department acquired, through five leases, approximately 426 acres for Goffs Campsite.  It is likely that leases were secured from the Department of the Interior and a variety of private parties, including the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company.  Within the organization of the Desert Training Center, Goffs Campsite is not listed as one of the divisional camps.  However, according to local historian and land owner, Dennis Casebier, the entire 7th Infantry Division, consisting of 15,000 troops, trained at this location. Goffs provided a rail head, ammunition storage area, campsite, and air strip, all located in an undeveloped region of San Bernardino County, California, approximately 35 miles west of Needles, California.  The exact location of the Goffs Campsite cannot be determined, but it could lie on either side of the railroad, east of the former rail head area.  The rail head diverted freight from the passing track of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway into a leased area measuring 200 feet by 1,320 feet, and containing 990 feet of track. An additional 2,675 feet of track, which branched off the leased rail head, were constructed by the government.  This rail head area supported two sheds and two warehouses, each providing 3,840 square feet of floor space.

Unlike other, more substantial camps of the CAMA, Camp Goffs was a small, improvised field encampment. It consisted primarily of the Goffs Railhead, with a surrounding encampment, the Goffs Army Ammunition Depot #4, and the Goffs Rifle Range. The prewar Goffs civil airfield was apparently reused as a military field, as a 1998 Army Corps of Engineers report on Camp Goffs includes the statement that "Goffs also had a 1,500' x 150' sand/gravel landing strip about two miles to the east (Army Ground Forces 1943)."

Another area associated with the campsite is located about 1 mile east of Goffs, but its exact whereabouts could not be determined.   An ammunition storage area, located three miles to the south of Goffs, near the base of Goffs Butte, supported ten ammunition storage igloos.

Another areas was devoted to the actual campsite.  The exact location and boundaries of this campsite could not be determined, but photographic evidence, personal interviews, and investigation of the site indicates that the campsite was located on either side of the railroad, to the east from the rail head area.  This campsite supported three administration buildings each encompassing 6,000 square feet.  There is no record of any other temporary or permanent facilities being constructed on the site.  Real estate information indicates that another building was placed one mile east of Goffs.  However, there is no evidence which indicates how this building was used.

The tracks and buildings associated with the rail head have all been removed.  However, the rail alignment leading from the main tracks, can still be discerned.  Railroad ties, spikes, and connecting hardware are still scattered along the former rail head route.  From a distance, the former location of the warehouses and sheds can also be identified.

Aerial photographs, taken during military use of the campsite area, indicate that the encampment area was located on either side of the main railroad tracks.  A portion of the campsite north of the tracks is on property now owned by Mr. Dennis Casebier.  During a sit survey, Mr. Casebier pointed out a number of empty fuel drums, scattered ration cans, broken bottles, and rubbish still on his property.  On adjacent public lands on either side of the railroad there are rock alignments and asphalt pads typically associated with the other Desert Training Center camps.  Several owner-occupied home sites are now scattered throughout this area.

At a two acre residential area, supporting three trailers, located less than one mile directly south of the former rail head/encampment area, a long concrete foundation was found that could have supported one of the structures used by the military during desert training.   Aerial photographs of the campsite confirm this claim and suggest that this structure may have been one of the administration buildings associated with Goffs Campsite.  Real estate information states that another building was constructed approximately one mile to the east of Goffs.  However, the remains of that building could not be found.

Three miles south of Goffs is a rock-lined area immediately to the west of Mountain Springs Road and near the southern base of Goffs Butte.  The layout of this area resembles a typical Desert Training Center location.  War Department documentation indicates that ten ammunition storage igloos were located in this area.

An incident report, dated 15 September 1980, supports the evidence that this was an ammunition storage area.  Approximately 200 ordnance items were found on 28 April 1980, not far from the rock-lined area, by San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies associated with the Search and Rescue Team.  The area where the ordinance was found is fairly level desert terrain which lies below Goffs Butte.  However, the exact location of the ordinance dump site was not disclosed.  The ordnance items included land mines, practice mines, rifle grenades, rockets, and practice rockets.  According to the report, this ordnance had been buried during the war and was apparently uncovered by the effects of rain and erosion.  Representatives from the Explosive Ordnance Detachment at Fort Irwin, the Bureau of Land Management, and a local construction company from Needles began to remove the materials.  The project took two days to complete and ultimately recovered 80 tons of explosive material including 43 expended 2.36" practice rockets, 51 M19 rifle grenades, and 67 empty M1 practice D-P land mines were uncovered during recovery operations.  The materials were subsequently transported to a BLM-owned site and reburied. The original site was left free of ordnance and graded to conform with the natural landscape.  
 

 

 

[1] The Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area,1942-1944 HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXTS; Matt C. Bischoff
[2] The 369th Engineer Regiment _SS_

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Date of last edit: August 28, 2011 05:30:20 -0700
Copyright: L. Dighera, 2011; All Rights Reserved: LDighera@att.net