The problem which General Keating faced in June 1942 was to set up an entirely new kind of special training command in the shortest possible time. The XXX Plan demanded that training be started without delay and expedited to the fullest extent. The problem was more serious because there was no precedent to follow in organizing the new command.

The initial organization of the Amphibious Training Center, outlined by General Keating, was published 12 June 1942.1 General Keating fully realized that the organization he had prescribed was subject to change in accordance with the developing situation.

The original organization of the Amphibious Training Center provided for a Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Provisional Headquarters Detachment, Staff Section, Faculty Section, And the 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion which was the demonstration unit for the Center. All the various sections were responsible directly to the Executive Officer, who was, of course, responsible in turn to the Commanding Officer.

The Staff Section was composed of an Administrative Division, Operations and Training Division, and Supply and Logistics Division. Each of these Divisions had a "Chief" who was responsible directly to the executive officer.

The Faculty Section was composed of the Amphibious Division and the Commando Division, each of which consisted of an Administrative Section, a Basic Training Section, and a Tactical Section. The Chiefs of the Amphibious and Commando Divisions were also responsible directly to the executive officer.

There was also a Joint Planning Board in the original plan of organization. The Board was to consist of the Executive Officer, Chief of the Administrative Division, Chief of the Operations and Training Division, and Chief of the Supply and Logistics Division. These officers were to be assisted by the Chiefs of the Amphibious and Commando Divisions. The Board's function was to recommend tactical doctrines and principles and training technique, and examine and pass on all special equipment proposed for training or tactical use. In actual practice, the officers comprising the Board were far too busy with their own Divisions to functions as a group. (The Board's work was accomplished by its members functioning as individuals.)

The general nature of the duties envisaged for the Staff and Faculty Sections was "to render professional advice and assistance to the Commanding Officer of the Amphibious Training Center and the troops undergoing training; harmonize all plans; supervise training; conduct amphibious operations; develop training technique; insure close liaison with all agencies participating in joint operations and coordinate their activities; prepare instructional material for publication; issue detailed instructions for the execution of all plans; make continuous research for improvements in tactical methods and equipment; and establish an efficient training unit."2 In order to carry out these functions, each responsible officer was assigned definite duties for his particular office.

1. ATC GO 1, 12 Jun 42. Hist Off files.
2. Ibid.


The executive officer was the principal adviser and assistant to the commending officer and was charged with transmitting the directives of the commanding officer to the appropriate staff and faculty members for compliance, and with directing and coordinating the work of the staff and faculty. His duties were wore nearly those of a chief of staff than an executive officer.

The duties prescribed for the chief of the Administrative Division of the Staff Section were (1) general supervision of the Provisional Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment; (2) supervision and control of all administrative matters pertaining to the operation of the Amphibious Training Center; (3) formulation of administrative doctrines, principles, and policies pertaining to training (except those matters concerning supply) and supervision of the execution of such training; (4) coordination and publication of all instructional material prepared by the various divisions of the staff and faculty; (5) in the absence of a special staff officer, and when applicable, supervision or assumption of the duties pertinent to the functions of a Headquarters Commandant, Provost Marshal, Judge Advocate, Chaplain, Special Services Officer, Inspector, and Liaison Officer.

Operations Officer

The Chief of the Operations and Training Division was charged with (1) preparation and supervision of the execution of all tactical doctrines, principles and policies; (2) development of training methods and technique; (3) formulation and preparation of all training programs and schedules; (4) coordination of all matters pertaining to tactical training and operations; (5) control of activities of boat units attached to the Center, and maintenance of liaison prior to their attachment;


(6) research and development of training aids; (7) preparation of appropriate tables of organization and proposals for special types of equipment for amphibious operations; (8) contact and coordination with U. S. Naval and Air units engaged in amphibious training, and with foreign officers detailed to participate; (9) preparation and coordination of all orders and plans normal to the functions of an Operations and Training Division; (10) in the absence of a special staff officer, assumption or supervision of the duties of an Air Officer, Antiaircraft Officer, Artillery Officer, Chemical Officer, Intelligence Officer, Engineer Officer and Signal Officer.

The Chief of the Supply and Logistics Division was responsible for (1) preparation and supervision of the execution of all doctrines, principles, and policies pertinent to supply and logistics of amphibious warfare (except those peculiar to the Administrative Division); (2) general control of all arrangements for supplies, evacuation, transportation, and other administrative matters related thereto; (3) coordination and supervision of the technique of supply and logistics of the Amphibious and Commando Divisions: (4) planning and supervision of activities normal to the fourth section of the general staff as outlined in FM 101-5; (5) preparation and distribution of maps, aerial photographs, aerial mosaics, and similar type material; (6) expenditure of special training funds; (7) in the absence of a special staff officer, supervision or assumption of the duties of an Ordnance Officer, Surgeon, Finance Officer, and Quartermaster Officer.

The Chiefs of the Amphibious and Commando Divisions were jointly charged with (1) all matters pertaining to the actual training of an units detailed for training at the Center; (2) formulation and preparation of training doctrines and principles; (3) development of training technique within their respective divisions; (4) coordination (each within his respective sphere) of all training in combined operations involving land, sea, and air forces; (5) preparation and execution of plans for special training of the 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion and for all details corrected with demonstrations to be conducted by that unit; (6) coordination between these two divisions and with appropriate divisions of the staff of an matters relations to amphibious and commando training.

The Provisional Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment operated under the general supervision of the Chief of the Administrative Division and was responsible for the operation of the Center headquarters and the officers' mess. This unit performed an the clerical and "housekeeping" functions for the Amphibious Training Center. The commanding officer of the detachment was responsible for the performance of all duties incidental to those of a detachment commander, and, in addition, those appropriate to a headquarters commandant as outlined in FM 101-5.

The 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion had been activated on 15 June 1942 by the Commanding General, VI Army Corps upon orders of Army Ground Forces.3 This unit had been requested by General Keating on 19 May and was to serve as the demonstration unit or "school troops" for the Center

The Battalion was organized according to the plan proposed by General Keating when he recommended its activation. It consisted of one rifle battalion headquarters and headquarters company, one rifle company, one heavy weapons company, a battalion medical detachment, and a composite field artillery battery which had two 105 mm howitzers and two 155 mm howitzers.4

3. AGF ltr (I) 320.2/3 (Inf) (5-25-42) GNOPN to CGs Second arid Third Armies, II and VI Army Corps and CO ATC, 25 May 42, sub: Orgn of 75th Composite Inf Tng Bn.
4. Ibid.


The Battalion operated under the orders and supervision of the Chief of the Operations and Training Division, but administrative and disciplinary control were the responsibility of the Battalion commander. The Battalion's initial mission was (1) to conduct all demonstrations; (2) to maintain close contact with boat units; (3) to accomplish authorized experimentation; and (4) to furnish such commissioned officers and enlisted man as might be directed for duty as assistant instructors or for other training purposes.

In addition to the demonstrations it was required to perform, the Battalion did all the "pick and shovel" work for the Amphibious Training Center. Aside from the small number of men in the Headquarters Detachment, all of whom were constantly busy in their assigned jobs, the personnel of the Battalion were the only men available to the Center to do the variety of job incidental to the training mission. The Battalion also furnished frequently up to three-fourths or more of its officers to act as assistant instructors in the training areas. Another function performed by the Battalion wee that of serving as opposing troops for the division landing exercises conducted by the Center.

The strength of the Battalion was augmented in July 1942 by the addition of one platoon. This platoon was ordered intact from Camp Bullis, Texas, where it had been a part of "Krueger's College of Tactical Knowledge"—the Third Army Officers' Training School.5 It consisted of one officer and forty-five enlisted men, are upon arrival at the Amphibious Training Center was designated the Commando Demonstration Platoon and used exclusively for demonstrations and operations corrected with commando training.

The 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion remained assigned to the Amphibious Training Center throughout the life of the latter organization, and when the Center was disbanded in June 1943, the Battalion was transferred to Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet for further demonstration work in amphibious training. It was withdrawn from AFAF on 1 December 1943, and on 10 December 1943, was turned over to XIII Corps and officially disbanded. All officers and men were absorbed by the 77th Infantry Division at Camp Pickett, Virginia.

To assist in the execution of its mission, the Amphibious Training Center was provided with boat-operating units furnished by the Engineer Amphibian Commend with headquarters at Camp Edwards. This Command was not a Ground Forces unit at any time, but under the jurisdiction of the Services of Supply. It was activated at Camp Edwards in May 1942, shortly before the activation of the Amphibious Training Center The purpose of the organization was to train army personnel to operate landing craft for transporting ground forces in shore-to-shore operations.

Engineer Amphibian Brigades were organized at Camp Edwards and trained by the Engineer Amphibian Command. Hurriedly-trained elements of the brigades were then made available to the Amphibious Training Center for use in training infantry divisions in amphibious operations. The Engineer Brigades provided the boats, operated them, and were responsible for the cross-water supply of the combat troops.

The 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade, which had been formed in late May 1942 was the first one to work in conjunction with the Amphibious Training Center. The Engineers were new at the game find were very poorly trained at the time the Center was using then to train the 45th Division.6

5. AGF ltr (R) 320.2/3 (Inf) (5-26-42) GNOPN to CGs Second and Third Armies, II and VI Army Corps, and CO ATC, 4 Jul 42, sub: Orgn of 75th Composite Inf. Tng Bn.
6. Based on Capt Becker's own observations and his informed conversations with General Keating and Colonel George P. Lynch, Operations Officer; see also p. 63.


About halfway through the training of the 45th Division, the 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade was alerted for overseas duty and withdrawn from the Amphibious Training Center. The 2d Brigade, which had been activated in June 1942, was substituted. Shortly after the Amphibious Training Center arrived at Carrabelle, the 2d Brigade was alerted for overseas duty, and another change in boat units was made. The 3d Engineer Amphibian Brigade served with the Center throughout the training at Carrabelle.

Such was the organization of the Amphibious Training Center when it went into business in June 1942. The Center itself consisted of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Staff Section, Faculty Section, and the 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion. Working with the Center, but not a part of it, the 1st Engineer Amphibian Brigade was followed in succession by the 2d and 3d.

The process of change which General Keating had anticipated when he prescribed the initial organization of the Center began to assert itself as soon as the unit started to operate. The changes which came about were due in part to an increase in the number of officers, in part to the realization that certain features of the organization were not practicable, and in part to an attempt to simplify procedure and thereby make the greatest possible use of the limited facilities available. Alterations came about so gradually as hardly to be perceptible. The basic plan of organization and chain of command remained about the same, but the functions of various sections were modified considerably.

The first noticeable change occurred in the Amphibious Division of the Faculty Section. This Division was assigned the task of preparing the instruction for the 45th Infantry Division, both the tactical and technical training of the troops and the theoretical training of the division staff, The Basic Training and Tactical Training Sections of the Amphibious Division trained the troops while the Administrative Section of the Division prepared the division staff course.

It soon became apparent that there was little if any difference between "basic" and "tactics," training for the troops in amphibious operations, and accordingly the Basic and Tactical Training Sections of the Amphibious Division were merged.

During the training of the 45th Division the officers of the Administrative Section of the Amphibious Division found that the problems incident to the conduct of a staff school were not at all similar to those of the remainder of the Amphibious Division. As a result of this discovery, the Administrative Section was removed from the Amphibious Division and established as the Academic Section. The new section was made responsible directly to the Operations Officer and was charged solely with conducting the school for regimental and division staffs.

This left only the now-fused Basic and Tactical Training Sections in the Amphibious Division. Since they had become one, the two names were dropped, and the office was designated simply "Amphibious Division." This change was completed by 15 August 1942.

In the original organization of the Center, there was no clearly defined line of demarcation between purely administrative duties and purely training duties For example, the Chief of the Administrative Division was at the same time charged with the administration of the Center and with the preparation of doctrines, policies, publications, etc., pertaining to training. The same difficulty existed in the Supply and Logistics Division which was charged with administrative supply of the Center and with the responsibilities regarding supply problems in amphibious operations.


By 20 August when the training of the 45th Division was completed, officers of the Center were cognizant of this unsatisfactory situation. Accordingly, changes started to occur. Some were by direction and others "just happened." By the time the training of the 36th Division was completed the situation had been fairly well corrected. Administrative functions and training functions were separated so that neither interfered with the other. As an example, the Supply and Logistics Division concentrated on administrative supply while the tactical doctrines find policies regarding supply were worked out by officers of the Academic Section.

The name of the Administrative Division was changed early in the life of the Center. The first Chief of that Division was Lt. Colonel Donald J. Beeler, Inf., who was relieved shortly after the arrival of Major Stephen F. Tillman, AGD, on 1 July 1942. Major Tillman took over the duties of Chief of the Administrative Division and since he was a member of the Adjutant General's Department in late July he changed the designation of the Administrative Division to "Adjutant General's Section." From that time on the Section was known by the latter title and continued to grow very much along the lines of the Adjutant General's office in an infantry division.

Concurrently with the separation of administrative and training functions, there was a change in the chain of responsibility on the part of the Division Chiefs. All administrative departments became directly responsible to the Executive Officer, while all departments concerned with training became directly responsible to the Operations and Training Officer. This arrangement was far more practicable and worked out to better advantage than had the old system when everyone was responsible directly to the Executive Officer. The new system was well established by late August 1942.

The arrival in June, July and August 1942 of officers who were branch specialists led to the formation of a Special Staff. They were what the name implies and were responsible directly to the Executive Officer and indirectly to the Operations Officer. Their function was to assist the Academic Section in the preparation of doctrine, tactics, and technique peculiar to their branch; to assist in preparing and delivering lectures in the staff school; and to assist the student division staffs in the Solution of problems concerning their branch in amphibious operations. By October 1942, the Special Staff contained an Air Officer, Signal Officer, Surgeon, Engineer Officer, Tank and Talk Destroyer Officer, and a Chemical Warfare Officer.

When the Center first began operating, a group of British officers were assigned to it to assist in the formulation of doctrine, etc. They were also employed by the Academic Section in the staff school. In order to provide them a niche in the organization, they were designated "Foreign Officers' Section" in July 1942, and were assigned a place on the revised organization chart which was published in November.

A development started in July 1942, which eventually grew into the Publications and Photographic Division of the Operations Office. The responsibility for the publication of all literature, which had initially been assigned to the Chief of the Administrative Division, was early shifted to the Operations Officer. In order to handle the volume of literature necessary to conduct training, the Operations Officer assigned one officer to this task. The initial function of editing and publication of training literature was gradually expanded to include preparation of visual trailing aids; maintenance of a staff reference library; maintenance of a photographic record of the Center; supply of maps, overlays, aerial photos, etc.; public relations activities; and distribution of school publications to other service schools and army commends. The office functioned until November 1942 as an unknown part of the Operations Office. On 5 November it was recognized and given an entity of its own with the title "Publications and Photographic Division."


The Commando Division had been going along quite serenely, utterly unaffected by the changes that were taking place in the organization of the Amphibious Training Center headquarters, but in November 1942 it suffered its first and last change. The revised training directive of 24 October from Army Ground Forces took the stress off Commando training for selected individuals and put it on battle training for all personnel of the student units.7 As a direct result, the Commando Division was abolished and the Special Training Division was substituted for it.

This new Division absorbed all the personnel of the old Commando Division plus some additional officers and men who were brought in because of their special qualifications in swimming, judo, knife fighting, etc. The Special Training Division was made directly responsible to the Operations Officer on 5 November 1942.

The Academic Section did not remain stagnant after its initial break from the Amphibious Division. Lt. Colonel Gerald F. Lillard, Director of that Division, had realized early in the training of the 45th Division that instruction in the staff school was not based on the four general staff groups nor on the relation of special staffs thereto, but rather on arm and service. This was unavoidable at the time because sufficient officers were not available to accomplish the desired result.

During the training of the 36th Division additional Special Staff officers arrived for duty and six officers were transferred within the Center headquarters and assigned to the Academic Section. This permitted the reorganization of the Academic Section along general staff lines, with one officer responsible for each echelon—G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4. The change had no effect on the training of the 36th Division, but by the time the Center arrived in Carrabelle, the Academic Section was ready to operate on a more satisfactory basis.

The changes which took place in the organization of the Amphibious Training Center between June and November 1942 had came about through necessity and an earnest desire to improve the quality of instruction. To all appearances, little thought had been given to a deliberate reorganization of the Center; the changes took place when it seemed advisable to make them.

During the breathing spell after arrival at Carrabelle and before the 38th Division arrived for training, the organization of the Center was surveyed for possible improvements and to prepare for the contemplated extension of the training. As a result, a new organization chart was published on 5 November 1942 which ratified the changes already made rather than directed new ones.8

The organization outlined on this chant divided the headquarters into an Administrative Staff and an Operations Staff, thus emphasizing the lesson previously learned regarding the necessity of keeping administration and training functions separate. The new set-up provided for a Chief of Staff and an Academic Board; neither of these materialized because approval of the Tables of Distribution upon which the chart was based was not obtained before the training center was disbanded. The Headquarters Company which was to take the place of the Headquarters Detachment was not forthcoming for the same reason.

The Administrative Staff contemplated under the new organization consisted of the Adjutant General, Headquarters Commandant and Provost Marshal, Range Officer, Supply and Procurement Officer, and a Liaison Officer.

7. AGF ltr (S) 353/12 (Amph) (10-24-42) GNGCT to CG ATC, 24 Oct 42, sub: Gen Dir - Shore-to-Shore Tng.
8. ATC Staff Memo No. 5, 5 Nov 42. Hist Off files.

Lt. Col. Gerald F. Lillard, Director of Staff Training Division
"British Officers Assisted the Infant"

The Operations Staff was to consist of the Chief of Staff (nonexistent), Executive Officer, Operations Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, and the directors of the various divisions of the Operations Office.

All echelons of the headquarters were to be directly responsible to the Chief of Staff, including the Operations Office. Under his jurisdiction the Operations Officer had the Amphibious Training Division, the Special Training Division, the Staff Training Division, and the Publications and Photographic Division.

The reorganization confirmed the changes in duties which had taken place in the various divisions and sections since June 1942. Headquarters Company had the same duties as those previously performed by Headquarters Detachment, and in addition was to provide local security for the headquarters and necessary fatigue for work in administrative and academic buildings. The Academic Board was to have essentially the same duties as the old Joint Planning Board, but this one, like its predecessor, never actually functioned as such. The duties of the 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion were unchanged. The Operations Officer was charged with the duties incident to planning, preparation, and conduct of training. The Director of the Amphibious Division was charged with direction and control of the field training of all units except those being trained by the Staff Training or Special Training Divisions. The Director of the Special Training Division was responsible for the preparation and execution of all special training activities—hardening courses, street fighting, etc. The Director of the Staff Training Division was to organize and conduct all staff schools. The Special Staff officers were to serve as instructors in addition to their normal administrative duties and to assist the staff officers of student units. The Adjutant General was to perform all administrative duties normal to an adjutant general's office. The Supply and Procurement Officer (note change from "Logistics") was to handle all administrative supply for the Center.

Two new elements appeared on the organization chart of 17 November 1942. One was the Department of Experiment and the other the Publications and Photographic Division. The first was directly responsible to the Executive Officer, and the second to the Operations Officer.

The Department of Experiment was organized as a result of a suggestion made by Major A. C. Miller to Colonel G. P. Lynch, Operations Officer on 19 September 1942. Major Miller believed that some such facility should exist for testing special equipment for amphibious operations, formulating and testing new ideas, methods, and techniques, etc. Accordingly, the Department was organized on 21 October 1942, but never accomplished anything spectacular in testing or experimenting. The main difficulties seemed to be procuring equipment to test, equipment with which to conduct tests, personnel to carry out the tests, and sufficient time to carry on the work. Its assigned mission was (1) to receive, test, and report upon an items submitted for experimentation; (2) recommend test of items of equipment and materiel for amphibious operations; (3) assume full custody of all materiel submitted for test; (4) maintain a complete file on all experiments. At the height of its career, the Department consisted of two lieutenants and one private.

The Publications and Photographic Division was the outgrowth of the natural demand of a school for visual training aids, training literature, photographs, training forms, etc. During its growth it was handed various other incidental duties such as public relations work. The duties assigned the Division on 5 November were (1) to supervise the preparation, coordination, publication, editing and dissemination of all non-administrative printed matter produced by the Center (including all types of illustrations); (2) to maintain a record of distributions; (3) to operate a drafting photographic, and art section; (4) to assure that an possible interested agencies


such as field forces and service schools be furnished copies of publications; (5) to maintain the staff reference library; (6) to maintain a file of all foreign publications and a record of their temporary releases to individuals or divisions of the staff; (7) to assume all responsibilities for the preparation of training films and film strips; (8) to regulate and control all still photography and photographic files; (9) to maintain the film and photographic library; (10) to aid and assist publicity officers; (11) to maintain air moving and still picture projection equipment in excellent operating condition; (12) to procure maps and maintain the map file. At the peak of its existence, this Division had two officers and eight enlisted men to perform its functions.

The Amphibious Training Center was in a constant state of flux from the date of activation until its death. The final organization outlined on 5 November 1942 held until the dissolution of the Center in June 1943. The organization chart may seem to indicate that the Amphibious Training Center had an elaborate organization with excessive overhead, but such was not the case. The personnel of the Center never exceeded 68 officers and 71 enlisted men in the headquarters, with approximately 26 officers ant 600 enlisted men in the 75th Composite Infantry Training Battalion.

Return to the Table of Contents