event is free and open to the public
In early 1945, the Army separated 250 Austrian
prisoners of war from Germans at Camp Florence and sent them to Navajo Ordnance
Depot located ten miles west of Flagstaff at Bellemont. The Austrians labored
in all areas except those directly involved with munitions, and they provided
valuable work during a period of severe labor shortage. Their story is unique
because there was no other camp in the nation where enemy prisoners of war
worked on a daily basis with large numbers of Native Americans.
John S. Westerlund, Ph.D. graduated from the
U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1968 with a degree in civil engineering.
He served as a U. S. Army field artillery officer for 26 years, retiring in
1994 as a lieutenant colonel. He earned a certificate in the French language
from the Sorbonne, Paris, an M. A. in American history (colonial America) from
Utah State University, and a Ph. D. in American history (American West) from
NAU. His book Arizona’s War Town: Flagstaff, Navajo Ordnance Depot, and
World War II, won awards from the Border Regional Library Association (El
Paso, Texas), and from the Arizona Authors Association. He is currently a seasonal
ranger with the National Park Service at the Flagstaff Area National Monuments.