David Carman, Tulelake homesteader
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee:
My name is David Carman and I am a World War
II Combat Veteran and Homesteader. My presence
here today is to represent the Veteran
Homesteaders. I would like to begin my testimony
with an excerpt from Americans at War by Stephen
Ambrose: "From beginning to end the
Japanese-American war in the Pacific was waged
with a barbarism and race hatred that was
staggering in scope, savage almost beyond
belief, and catastrophic in consequence. Each
side regarded the other as subhuman vermin. They
called each other beasts, roaches, rats, monkeys
and worse. Atrocities abounded, committed by
individuals, by units, by entire armies, by
governments. Quarter was neither asked, nor
given. It was a descent into hell."
I was born in 1918 in Los Angeles,
California. I joined the United States Army in
1941. When Pearl Harbor was attacked I was
stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. As a
1st Lieutenant of the 7th
Amphibious Infantry Division our first
amphibious landing was the Aleutian Islands.
This was followed by Kwajalein Island where we
engaged approximately 5 thousand enemy soldiers.
We landed on February 1st and by the
next evening the operation was complete. We took
no prisoners. Our next amphibious landing was
Leyte Island during the re-taking of the
Philippines where General MacArthur made his
famous remark, "I have returned".
The life expectancy of a lieutenant
infantryman was seven and a half minutes. I lost
all my best friends. I survived, why I donít
know, we donít know those things.
After 4 years and 8 months of service I came
home with the rank of a 1st
Lieutenant. When I heard about a homesteading
opportunity in Tulelake, California I applied.
In 1948 I was one of 44 applicants chosen out of
2000. At the time I had never heard of Tulelake
except as a great hunting area. When I arrived
to see my homestead there was nothing there,
just an expanse of opportunity. No roads, no
houses, no trees, just bare ground. I then
pitched my tent in the corner of my homestead.
My wife Eleanor was expecting our second child,
but could not join me until later. A tent was
not acceptable living quarters for a young
woman, a small child and another baby on the
When I began my new life as a Tulelake
homesteader there were approximately 300
homesteaders, most of them with families. We
united and began to build schools, churches and
a hospital in Klamath Falls. We
started a community. We were
living the American dream and our dream was
achieved by hard work and dedication, and I must
say we could never have done this without our
In 1957 we formed our own irrigation district
taking over from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
In 1967 we paid off our portion of the Klamath
Project debt to the federal government and the
irrigation district became totally ours.
In closing, I want to say we fulfilled the
American dream and in 2001 the Endangered
Species Act came very close to destroying our
dream. Our dream was changed into a nightmare.
We now know that the water cut-off was not
In my hand I have a patent for a homesteader
signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt given
to a veteran of World War I. This document
guarantees the right to use water from the
Klamath Reclamation Project by a homesteader and
his heirs forever. I would like to remind
everyone that our children learned farming from
us. They are homesteaders in the same regard
just as we were after World War II.
Our community has become the poster child of
abuse by the Endangered Species Act. I
respectfully request that the members of this
congressional committee never allow us to be
betrayed by an Act that has become a tool to
destroy rural America.