Past, Present and Future of U.S. Military Intelligence - Symposium to Commemorate 70th Anniversary of World War II Training Center in Maryland

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   June 18, 2012
Contact:   Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager National Parks Conservation Association, P: 202.454.3332; C: 202.384.8762
Joy Oakes, Mid-Atlantic Senior Regional Director National Parks Conservation Association, P: 202.454.3386; C: 202.329.6815


Past, Present and Future of U.S. Military Intelligence - Symposium to Commemorate 70th Anniversary of World War II Training Center in Maryland

WWII veterans share personal experiences about their time at Camp Ritchie in Maryland, overseas, and their contributions to U.S. military intelligence practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nation’s leading voice for our national parks, the non-partisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), in partnership with the National Park Service, The OSS Society, Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan, the Friends of Camp Ritchie, the United States Navy Memorial, and the International Spy Museum, will host a Symposium to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Camp Ritchie Military Intelligence Training Center in Cascade, Maryland. The event recognizes the contributions made by the World War II (WWII) soldiers who trained there, known as Ritchie Boys. In addition to the Symposium today, there will be a field trip to the camp, now known as Fort Ritchie, on Tuesday, June 19, where stories and legacy will continue to be explored by those who served there.

“Camp Ritchie was the training ground for many military personnel who then were assigned to Fort Hunt in Virginia,” said Joy Oakes, Mid-Atlantic senior regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association.  “The National Park Service works to protect and preserve sites important in America’s military history, which includes interpreting and collecting of oral histories of our WWII veterans who trained at Camp Ritchie and served at Fort Hunt.”

More than 19,000 servicemen known as Ritchie Boys went through military intelligence training at Camp Ritchie in Maryland between July 1942 and September 1945.  Servicemen with language skills, especially German, Italian and French, were recruited for training at Camp Ritchie, and approximately 80 percent of the graduates served our country overseas.  In addition, many Ritchie Boys were assigned to P.O. Box 1142, a top-secret military intelligence installation near Mount Vernon in Virginia and known as Fort Hunt Park today, which is located on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and managed by the National Park Service.

Highlights of the symposium include discussion about the contributions made by the Ritchie Boys to military intelligence practices, including panel discussions and personal testimony from Ritchie Boys.   National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and Site Manager and historian Brandon Bies will address the group of veterans and will share the Park Service’s efforts to preserve our nations WWII history. 

“Now more than ever, the National Park Service plays a lead role in protecting and preserving our American heritage,” said Oakes.  “Congress must provide adequate funds for the National Park Service to protect these special places for our children and grandchildren to experience, understand, and enjoy.”

About National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA): Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard our National Park System. NPCA, its more than 600,000 members, supporters and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren. For more information, visit: www.npca.org.


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