At the onset of World War II, new naval stations were needed to train the numerous recruits expected to enlist. The area that is presently Sampson State Park was a desirable inland location for the station. It had sufficient level land situated near a body of water that could accommodate a small-craft fleet, was close to a city large enough to serve as a liberty port, and had railroad and highway service capable of moving large numbers of people.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the construction of the Sampson Naval Training Station on May 14, 1942. A few weeks later, construction began. During the station's peak construction period in September 1942, 15,500 people were employed here. The first naval recruit, James K. Boyle, walked through the doors on October 17, 1942.
[Photo captions, clockwise from top left, read]
· Before Sampson Naval Training Station closed on May 31, 1946, 411,429 naval recruits had received training here. After their physicals, recruits were assigned to companies consisting of 112 men. Service schools at Sampson trained recruits to become storekeepers, stenographers, cooks, bakers, electricians, gunners, and firefighters. Classes took four to sixteen weeks to complete.
· Sampson Naval Training Station was named for Palmyra native, Rear Admiral William T. Sampson. Completed
in just 270 days at a cost of $56 million, the center covered 2,535 acres. Units were named after naval war heroes; roads and walks were named after naval war heroes born in New York State.
· Map of U.S. Naval Training Center, Sampson, N.Y.
July 1, 1944 [with key]
· Over 16,000 officers and enlisted men and women gather on the parade ground to participate in a large field mass.
· This large drill hall was 600 feet x 120 feet and housed six basketball courts and a swimming pool. In this photograph, 8,000 officers and enlisted men and women take part in a World Communion Service.