War Department Identification Card for Mary E. Young

This identification card belonged to Army Nursing Corps 2nd Lieutenant Mary E. Young. She was born in Lake Wales, trained and worked as a nurse in central Florida, and was sent by the U.S. military to Europe in 1944 as part of a medical air evacuation squadron.

Tampa Bay History Center Collection

Florida was turned into a military training ground during World War II. From bustling Miami Beach to the sleepy shores of Carrabelle, the Pentagon sent over 2,000,000 military personnel to the state for training. Meanwhile, workers at Florida’s shipyards constructed and launched vessels for the war effort. In the early years of U.S. involvement in the war, German submarines sank vessels along the Florida coast. In 1942, submarine U-584 deposited a group of Nazis saboteurs onto a Florida beach. U.S. officials captured and executed these German soldiers, but many German POWs spent the war at camps in interior Florida and were released at war’s end.

Three Fast Florida Facts

  1. There were 172 military installations in Florida during World War II.
  2. The civilian-staffed Coastal Picket Patrol and Civil Air Patrol piloted personal watercraft and airplanes along the coast to scout for German submarines during the war.
  3. Many soldiers stationed in Florida were motivated to vacation and, in some cases, relocate to the state in the decades after the war.