World War II
Ski Troopers from Second Infantry in training at Fort Brady during WWII.
In 1942 the 702nd Battalion was re-stationed at another fort in lower Michigan.
Prior to the war, Fort Brady housed four companies, but during World War II several thousand troops were stationed there. Soldiers from the Second Infantry held maneuvers in temperatures ranging from zero to sixteen degrees below to determine what equipment would be needed to conduct warfare during winter weather.
In 1941 the 702nd police battalion arrived for the protection of the locks, canals, and navigation channels against sabotage and conventional attacks.
Life at the Fort During WWII
Troops playing broomball on ice skates, circa 1944.
The 20,000 troops stationed at Fort Brady during WWII engaged in a myriad of outdoor activities. During warm seasons soldiers would play tennis on outdoor courts.
Tennis courts were located in the courtyard in front of the officer's quarters (Brady Hall) and other tennis courts were located in front of the commanding officer's home (now the president's house). The tennis courts were made of dirt until the early 1960s after which they were rebuilt and made of cement. In 1974 the original courts were removed and replaced by sod. When the construction of the James Norris Physical Education Center was completed in 1974 new tennis courts were built in front, where they still stand.
During winter seasons soldiers participated in broomball games. Games were played in the middle of streets. Some soldiers enjoyed their spare time at the officer's rec building, which was destroyed in the 1960s. The rec building was located behind the commissioned officer housing, known today as the row houses.
Transportation in WWII
Mules were used not only for transportation but also for recreation, as the photo shows soldiers being dragged by the sturdy animals.
During the early years of the fort many donkeys and mules were used to haul supplies, pull carriages, transport soldiers and assist with construction projects. The mules, being very adaptive and much stronger than horses, were very useful during the long winters of the Sault.
During the early years of World War II army trucks came into use for hauling troops and supplies from all over Michigan. They were used by Companies B and F of the US Infantry. In late 1941 when the fort was declared a surplus, trucks would arrive daily with troops and supplies to be stored in the attic of Brady Hall. The supplies were later removed when the fort was taken over by the state for use as a branch of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology.
Soldiers hanging out under tarp, above cab, parked in front of infantry barracks (South Hall and twin).
Army trucks in front of infantry barracks during a parade for the public in the summer of 1941.