Camp Hank Gibbins
Summary of the location of Camp Hank Gibbins
Camp Hank Gibbins was inaugurated June 15, 1945, in Hailing Pu, a small village 20 miles south of Kunming [lat. 25-02, Long. 102-43], Yunnan Province. This camp occupied a compound adjacent to “Dochina” (U.S. Navy International Aid and Disbursing Office, China) and near FRUChi (“Fleet Radio Unit China”). Captain Theodore R. Cathey was in command.
The camp was named after Lt. Hank Gibbins, AUS (Army of the United States). In early 1943 he started a parachuting school near Kunming to train Army spies for IndoChina and Thailand. Lieutenant Gibbins was an “adopted” member of SACO. While on a flight over the jungles of Burma on January 18, 1944, Lt. Gibbins was severely wounded in a Japanese fighter attack. He died in the ensuing plane crash along with SACO Pharmate Bernard Nicholas Baumann who remained onboard to tend to Gibbins’s injuries.
In June ‘45 we finally opened an indoctrination school to train our newly arrived Americans on how to work with the Chinese. Background and aims of SACO were basic in the teaching – and how to eat, sleep, drink, & travel in China and at the same time maintain a cooperative spirit between the two nations. (Miles, undated, p 96)
The normal length of training was 12 days but the short course, for men needed “immediately” elsewhere, lasted only 6.
The facilities accommodated 300 and included galley, mess hall, reading room and showers. There was a small arms range and a softball field. Movies were shown nightly.
Miles, M. E., (undated), SACO Photograph Albums: unpublished, v #3.
Provided courtesy of Charles H. Miles on November 20, 2010