Allied and American invasion experiences in Africa and on Pacific Islands convinced United States military leaders of the need for instruction in amphibious combat techniques. Because of the protective barrier islands along the Florida Atlantic Coast, Fort Pierce was determined to be an ideal location for training in amphibious warfare. Participants here gained instruction as small craft landing crews, combat engineers, beach battalions, Navy Seabees, scouts and raiders and underwater demolition teams (UDT). The Navy’s first UDT class graduated from here in July 1943 and “Frogmen” saw their first combat at Normandy almost a year later. Training in the use of various landing craft designs (LCVPs, Higgins Boats, and LVTs) was also conducted at this site.
The local community created a Volunteer Service Organization to help relieve the loneliness of the trainees. Fort Pierce established three USO clubs throughout the city to provide recreation and entertainment during the training period.
The UDT-Seal Museum is now located on North Hutchinson Island on one of the WWII training beaches.
U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Base Fort Pierce, Florida $1 Beer Chit Good for 8 bottles of beer. Dated Aug. 18, 1944.
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