BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA - Officers at Fort Irwin, home of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, "Blackhorse Regiment", are busy resurrecting the U.S. Camel Corps.
The U.S. Camel Corps, which operated in the desert Southwest in the 1800's, was an army experiment back in the days when they were making survey missions to unknown and uncharted desert regions.
General Buckminster Rutherford explained the history, "Back in the early 1800s, the desert, particularly places like Death Valley, were terrible to visit. Lack of water and extreme temperatures made it almost untenable. The idea of having the army use camels as pack animals made sense because camels are hardy and particularly suited to travel in arid and desert regions. This was, of course, before motorized vehicles with air conditioning and good highways and roads. The army purchased 70 camels from overseas, hired handlers, and transported them to the Southwest. However, the experiment was deemed a failure because the camels were difficult to handle, mostly due to their disagreeable dispositions, and the fact they frightened the army horses."
When asked why the army would consider trying the idea again, General Rutherford remarked, "The landscape of California is dramatically changing as we speak, affected by severe drought conditions. High temperatures and arid conditions will likely affect military machinery. The army must be prepared to handle the likelihood our armored technology will, at times, let us down. If that happens, we will have a back-up via the U.S. Army Camel Corps. Since our cavalry regiment is armored and no longer uses horses, the camels would no longer be bothersome in that respect. As to their nasty dispositions, there are new animal training techniques, utilized by Camel Whisperers, that should take care of that!"
When asked who would ride the camels, General Rutherford stated, "Several of our soldiers have expressed an interest since we showed the film, Lawrence of Arabia on base the other night. When they sign up each soldier will be issued a long white tunic, a sleeveless cloak and the distinctive headcloth called a kufiyya. Some of our officers, who were in "Desert Storm" operations, will be on hand to advise and it is very likely the Army Camel Corps will become the most popular unit in today's army!"