Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - We had made reservations at Farragut State park, just about 60 miles north of Heyburn SP because we wanted to be a bit closer to explore the Sandpoint / Priest lake area. When we arrived, we were surprised to discover the great history of Farragut SP. In 1942, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States built a Naval Training Facility here at Lake Pend Oreille.
Farragut SP is the largest state park in Idaho and is absolutely beautiful. Campsites are well spaced and have electric and water so it was easy to settle in for an extended stay.
The park has miles of roads and trails to explore and the first thing we did was check out the shoreline. What an incredible lake!
What we did not realize until we arrived is that Farragut was the 2nd largest Naval Training base in the United States during World War II. There was a real fear after Pearl Harbor that the Japanese might invade the United States along the west coast so inland training facilities were seen as safer.
This monument stands outside of the “Brig” museum in the park and honors the almost 300,000 trainees that went through this base during the war.
As we got closer to the monument we noticed the detailed engraving and realized that there were faces that provided the texture.
The flags represent every state in the country and trainees came from all across the US to train in this facility. The point was made that the Navy did very deliberately try to send very few local people to this facility so most came from the East, South or Midwest. Most had no clue about where Idaho was or what to expect.
The contract for building this base was awarded to a construction firm from Minnesota and a deadline of 3 months was given.
The first training area was built and dedicated 3 months later, on time, and trainees started flooding in.
The park was named after Admiral Farragut, the first admiral of the US Navy, who made famous the statement “Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead” as his ships were entering Mobile Bay during the Civil War. At the time Torpedoes were the name given to anchored mines in the harbor.
There were a number of filmed interviews with veterans from this base and WWII that we watched and I thought about my Dad and what he must have gone through as he was serving in the South Pacific during the war. It was a very emotional experience and a memory we should never forget when we think about the sacrifice these very courageous people made.
A quite place to reflect.
This quote presented itself as we were coming off of one of the trails and reminded us that life is short.
So many things to do and so little time.