During WWII General Patton was charged with finding suitable training grounds for troops on their way to the North Africa desert. He chose 18,000-acres of California and Nevada desert which closely matched the hot, dry conditions the soldiers would encounter. It was the world's largest army post with airfields, hospitals, supply depots and support services. Chiriaco Summit, where the museum is located, was Patten’s headquarters for a few months before he was called back to Washington and sent overseas.
The museum contains many donated artifacts but very little historic information. Watch the movie to learn more about Patten and the training center. Tanks and other equipment are located on the grounds. The only remains of the camp are a few chapel walls built by the soldiers. Don’t miss the full sized wooden models of Leonardo’s Da Vinci’s war machines at the entrance of the parking lot.
The museum is accessible. The ground around the outdoor displays is hard packed and pushing is fairly easy.
The parking lot is large enough for any RV. If you wish to stay overnight a free, primitive camping area is located behind the museum. There are about two dozen marked campsites – no tables or other amenities but restrooms and food are within walking distance at the Chiriaco Summit coffee shop and gas station.