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WW2 effects: Wyoming

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by JJWilson, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone, once again, I'm a little late to bringing this weeks WW2 effects. Today I have in my opinion one of the juiciest states in this series thus far.....Wyoming. Now I know what you're thinking, "Wyoming is the smallest populace state in the nation! How on earth is it relevant and important to WW2?!" Well I'll get to that, I've been to Wyoming a handful of times, to Cheyenne, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone. It's a beautiful state, and is among one of the most unique in the union. Enjoy!! Previous WW2 effects: Michigan- http://ww2f.com/threads/ww2-effects-michigan.70729/

    Wyoming Pre-WW2
    In 1940, Wyoming had a population of just 250,000 people, that is only 20,000 larger than Gilbert, Arizona (the town I live in). Wyoming before WW2, in the mess that was the Great Depression, was struggling mightily. The state's economy was 100% reliant on agriculture and Mineral mining. Unfortunately for Wyoming, the dust bowl nearly destroyed half of the states agricultural capabilities, and sent a few thousand citizens in an already people needy state, far far away. Coal and petroleum mining was the states only real export outside of agriculture, with the Depression in full swing, this seriously restricted the states ability to grown and diversify. The states unemployment rate was at a gut wrenching 11% in 1940, meaning almost 26,000 people in the state had now way of making money at all, the lack of industry and corporate business in the state meant that mining, or farming was the only way to survive. Things were looking pretty bad for Wyoming, and it seemed like there was no way out of the ever widening hole of depression.

    Wyoming WW2
    Right before WW2 began, two USAAF bases were built in Casper and Cheyenne. Even before WW2 started, Wyoming and the rest of the nation was preparing for the struggle to come. In Cheyenne, the states first factories were built and a small but, effective industrial base was formed just in time. After Pearl Harbor, Wyoming was in position to help in the fight. They also were ready to detain the Japanese-Americans suspected of being unfaithful and incapable of fighting for the U.S against their ancestral home. Heart Mountain "Relocation Center" is where 11,000 American citizens were wrongfully detained because of their heritage, in the cold and barren Wyoming plains. Citizens weren't the only imprisoned peoples in the state, more than 3,000 German and Italian POW's called Douglas POW camp home for more than two years. Fort Warren was a major stopping point for military supplies traveling from the East to West, and West to East. Along with being a transportation hub, it also took part in training exercises and general training for U.S Troops. Casper AAF trained B-17 and B-24 pilots to fly and fight in the war. for those of you who aren't familiar, Wyoming's weather isn't always prime for flying, and at 10,000 feet is pretty damn cold. Wyoming's coal deposits helped fuel the steam engines needed to transport supplies and men across the continent, and it's petroleum was heavily relied upon as well. Wyoming's agriculture was also beginning to make a comeback, and was able to get back on it's feet, and feed it's people, and the troops. Wyoming's small industry helped make the small but needed item's, gas cans, oil drums, tires, propellers, and even boots.

    Wyoming Post WW2

    After 4 long years of conflict, Wyoming had survived the Great Depression, and took on the worlds deadliest war. 35,000 of the state's small population served in the war, and 652 were subsequently killed. The state's resources, and people were exhausted, but the time for rest did not last long before Wyoming began to finally grow economically and population wise. Wyoming's geography has ultimately been the state's reason for success, even today. With it's rich coal and petroleum deposits, Wyoming is exporting huge amounts of energy, and bringing in lots of cash. Tourism has been a major part of the economy thanks to Wyoming's gorgeous Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National parks (I've been to both, simply incredible). Today Wyoming is still a relatively small and restricted state, but it is on it's way to becoming a better functioning and more successful home. Now there are 580,000 people in the state, so after 75 years, it's still really small, but population doesn't matter as much as the drive and determination of the people, something Wyomingite's definitely have.
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Excellent as usual...Im a visual person, get more information from a picture than words...could these include a picture? Perhaps a then and now picture of the state involved...something quintessentially from that state?
     
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  3. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm....this is pretty sad, but I never thought to add pictures to these actually before you said anything. I think I might do that CAC. Thanks for the feedback!
     
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  4. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Heart Mountain 1943
    [​IMG]
    Heart Mountain Today
    [​IMG]
    Entrance to camp Douglas POW

    [​IMG]
    Casper AAF 1944
    [​IMG]
    Casper today
    [​IMG]
    Grand Tetons
    [​IMG]
    Yellowstone
    [​IMG]
    Cheyenne 1940
    [​IMG]
    Cheyenne today
     
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  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Now we're talking! Seriously beautiful country...Looks dry, not sure if that's the heat or the cold...
     
  6. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    It can definitely be dry at times in Cheyenne, but it was especially bad for the years during and following the dust bowl. It is a really beautiful state, but Cheyenne, Casper, and Jackson are truly the only places you'll see human beings for miles, In between the three is nothing but tree less grassland.
     
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  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    The answer is "both". Most of Wyoming is considered "semi-arid" but we've got some stretches that are down-right desert. Lack of water has been a main reason that our population hasn't grown with all the other western states. The only time we don't have a dearth of water is when we have too much. The western third of the state is mountainous and gets most of the moisture. Without the snowpack in the mountains there would be no agriculture or much else either.

    Fine job jj! I should add that the Casper air base also trained fighter pilots. Chuck Yeager trained here on P-39s. On one mission his engine caught on fire while on a practice strafing mission and he had to bail out. He broke his back during the jump and probably would have died except a sheep herder found him, threw him across his saddle and brought him out. Otherwise, he'd have been another forgotten casualty to the training system of the day. He also went out and strafed pronghorn with his fighter. He'd then tell the cooks where the animals were at and they'd cook them up for him and his friends. Even today you can go out to the Sweetwater Rocks and find 50cal. cases, belt links and even bullets. Perhaps they were fired by Yeager, who knows.
     
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  8. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Harold for the info, I had no clue Yeager trained there, thank you for the added info and neat story!!
     

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