Summary of the location of Camp Seven
● Established September 19, 1944, at Teng Feng (now Dongfeng) [lat. 27-06, long. 118-27] in Fukien (now Fujian) Province.
On September 19, 1944, LCDR Marcus A. Goodrich, with 50 enlisted men, established Camp Seven at Tung Feng (now Dongfeng) [lat. 27-06, long. 118-27] in the malarial swamps of Fukien (now Fujian) Province. It was on the Tung Chi River 10 miles northeast of Kienow (now Jian’ou) and close, about four hours of walking, to a good airfield 30 miles to the northwest at Kienyang (now Jianyang).
Camps Six, Seven, and Eight were placed to exert control over the harbors and other strategic key points along the east coast of China from Swatow (now Shantou) in the south to Hangchow Bay (now Hangzhou Wan) in the north.
The operating area for Unit Seven extended from half-way between Amoy (now Xiamen) and Foochow (now Fuzhou) to a point half-way between Foochow and Wenchow (now Wenzhou); a total distance of 150 miles. Camp Seven processed intelligence from Coast Watcher Net #3.
On September 21, LT Harry A. Swartz took command. He and a large contingent of men and officers had just arrived from Calcutta. It had been an “average” trip – by air over the Hump to Kunming and then by truck until passage was limited to walking or riding sampans. Admiral Miles (1967, p 429) said “Camp Seven came to be the first and only SACO operation with too many Americans—nine officers and 138 enlisted men.”
First the men were billeted among the idols in an old Buddhist temple. Within a short time half of the Americans were suffering from malaria and dysentery. There were hoards of vicious mosquitoes, a malaria-ridden village close by, and at this initial camp the head was side by side with the galley. On November 1, the unit moved a mile west of town to more sanitary quarters.
They ate rice and a few peanuts and some unfamiliar items such as octopus, shark fins, and steamed fish, from which the eyes were considered locally to be a delicacy. Part of the training of the Americans was to learn to speak a little Chinese, eat with chop sticks, drink innumerable toasts (Gambei), and have patience.
The Americans played football, both tackle and touch, without any specialized equipment; a volley ball was “the ball.” Their teams were called Bos’n mates, motor-macs, coxswains, etc. . They staged a tournament of a series of seven games. The winners met on New Year’s Day in the “Honey Pot Bowl.” For the record the camp championship went to the gunners mates who beat the Bos’n mates 7-0.
The enlisted personnel played basketball with excellent Chinese teams but always won. The SACO officers were challenged to a game; ENS Ray Fuller led the officers to the only defeat of the ratings team.
Groups of about 240 Chinese underwent twelve-week training programs similar to the ones given at Units Six and Eight. By the end of 1944, five groups had been trained; a total of 1,295 Chinese had qualified with weapons. As well, between June 1 and August 15, 1944 a group of Chinese were trained in ship and plane recognition, aerology, and radio operation and maintenance. They were inserted into the coastal intelligence and coast watching net.
In Middle of May, Gen. Lin and LT Swartz led 500 Chinese Army regulars and 12 Americans down the Min River in crowded sampans for a “surprise” raid on Foochow about 100 miles to the southeast of Camp Seven. As the Chinese neared the town the Japanese, who apparently were planing to abandon the area, learned from their own scouts that “. . . ‘a thousand Americans’ with many Chinese were approaching.” (Miles. 1967, p 494). The Japanese hastily evacuated Foochow and the airfield with hardly a shot fired and the buildings, bridges, utilities, food supplies were left intact. The port and major airfield at Foochow were in Allied hands.
By the end of July the Japanese were cleared from the islands at the mouth of the Min River as well as from Matsu Island, 20 miles further to the east.
With easy access to Foochow, the men of isolated Camp Seven were able to improve their station. They acquired new showers and toilets, a generator and electric lights, a new cook, and lots of all kinds of food.
Unit Seven was associated with three attack groups of the Chinese regular army, 4,000 irregulars and 4,000 pirates under the command of Gen. Chang Yee-chow, and a sabotage group. Their actions included, but were not limited to, the following:
When the Japanese sued for peace in mid August, Unit Seven was ordered to proceed to Hangchow, join with Major Gus Bruggeman, and occupy the city. Twenty-three men left camp on August 24, 1945, traveled by trucks and then sampans, and arrived September 1. They met Maj. Bruggeman on the river at Hangchow; he had come from Kienyang (now Jianyang) with a squad of 50 Americans. The town was occupied by about 30,000 Japanese led by an officer who did not believe the surrender was official. After two days of serious negotiations, Maj. Bruggeman gained entrance to Hangchow where he found Lt. John Masterson with two other SACO Americans. The three had entered the city from the opposite side of town and already were operating their radio station.
Miles, M. E., 1967, A Different Kind of War: Doubleday & Co, Garden City, NY. 629 p.
Provided courtesy of Charles H. Miles on November 20, 2010
Revised: May 17, 2011