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Swimming Hole Ambush: 1922

Swimming Hole Ambush: 1922

August 21, 1922. "Citizens' Military Training Camp, Camp Meade" (Fort Meade, Md.). National Photo Co. View full size. Nowhere on the Internet will you find a picture of more guys simultaneously jumping off a tree than the 10 shown here.


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Great Photo

The movement and motion caught in this photo are great. Particularly the guy lower left whose fingertips are just touching the water. Amazing.

Patuxent River

I grew up on Fort Meade. I know that stretch of the river; it's along the (firing) ranges. It's now a wildlife refuge. In my years, the river was never deep enough to dive in. We used to rope swing in feet first. You had to be quick, in case the range officer was on his rounds. The area looks just about like that today.

Note, the Ranger battalion that climbed the cliff at Point du Hoc on D Day trained in this area. It was very active until 1974 or 1975. Thereafter, most National Guard until the early 80's.

Used to be a great place to find old cartridges and random ordnance, plus a refuge for box turtles.

Little Patuxent

That's gotta be the Little Patuxent River. It looks like it's running a bit high in the photo. It's REALLY high right now.

Lake Eerie

The reflection at the bottom of the diver's hands and arms approaching the water looks like the limbs of some skeletal creature reaching from below to grab at him.

Abandon Tree

I think given the time - 1922 - and location - Fort Meade Army base - that they are practicing abandoning ship. Which is why they are all facing in a different direction. To avoid landing on another man after a thirty foot fall from the deck rail of a troop transport.

[Interesting theory. They'd be all set if their tree got torpedoed. Citizens Military Training Camp was a month-long program for young men held in July at various military reservations across the country from 1921 to 1940. Below, an excerpt from a 1920s news item on the Fort Meade CMTC. - Dave]

"Mornings will be devoted to military drills and exercises under the direction of officers specially selected from the Infantry School at Camp Benning, Georgia, and afternoons will be spent in in athletics, games and swimming."

From another 1920 news item:

"The Citizens' Military Training Camp takes our young men and develops in them rugged manliness, worthy ideals, teaches them to obey the law willingly, and to co-operate in its enforcement. In other words this training prepares them for the duties and responsibilities of American citizenship."

Down by the River

Man, this picture truly is a marvel of synchronization, not to mention the shape these guys are in!

Synchronized Tree Diving

What a great picture this is, the timing must of been some work. I wonder what type of camera was used to take a excellent motion shot without being blurry.

[A view camera that took 4x5 glass negatives. - Dave]

Group Dive

I hope that's a deep part of the river. I can't imagine that no one ran into somebody else. Great shot.

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