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United States Army Signal Corps

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United States Army Signal Corps, Hampton Roads, Virginia. United States Army Signal Corps Photograph Collection, Hampton Roads Embarkation Series, 1942- 1946.

Virginia's vast Hampton Roads area became a crucial base during World War II. On 15 June 1942, the army officially activated the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, under the command of the army's Transportation Corps, with its headquarters in Newport News. By war's end, more than 772,000 men and women had gone to war through the port's various facilities. Hampton Roads saw even more arrivals: 915,116 people, including the wounded and even prisoners of war. To document all this, the Transportation Corps maintained a port historian's office and regularly assigned Signal Corps photographers to document as much activity and as many representative sailings and debarkations as possible. More than thirty-five hundred of the black-and-white images, complete with the photographers' interview notes, are included in the Library of Virginia's Prints and Photographs.

Many of the images are of soldiers, airmen, Medical Corps personnel, and USO and Red Cross workers. On 29 June 1944, a Signal Corps photographer recorded Red Cross Unit HR-108 on pier 4 before embarking on USS General A. E. Anderson.