• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Title Page
 A history of Camp Binding
 The genesis of Camp Blanding
 Camp Blanding, Florida, in war...






Title: Camp Blanding, Florida
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00047691/00001
 Material Information
Title: Camp Blanding, Florida three unofficial histories
Series Title: Special archives publication
Physical Description: 12, 16, 23 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida -- Dept. of Military Affairs
Publisher: State Arsenal
Place of Publication: St. Augustine Fla
Publication Date: [1988?]
 Subjects
Subject: History -- Camp Blanding (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
General Note: Cover title.
General Note: At head of title: Florida Department of Military Affairs.
Funding: The Florida National Guard's Special Archives Publications was digitized, in part by volunteers, in honor of Floridians serving both Floridians in disaster response and recovery here at home and the nation oversees.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00047691
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Florida National Guard
Holding Location: Florida National Guard, St. Augustine Barracks
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the Florida National Guard. Digitized with permission.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001034744
oclc - 18247639
notis - AFB7086

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    A history of Camp Binding
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Mission and operation of Camp Blanding
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
    The genesis of Camp Blanding
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Camp Blanding, Florida, in war and peace
        Page i
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
Full Text



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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD





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Items collected here were originally published by the
Florida National Guard, many as part of its SPECIAL
ARCHIVES PUBLICATION series. Contact the Florida
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The Florida National Guard reserves all rights to
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DIGITIZATION

Titles from the SPECIAL ARCHIVES PUBLICATION series
were digitized by the University of Florida in
recognition of those serving in Florida's National
Guard, many of whom have given their lives in
defense of the State and the Nation.





Florida

Department of

Military Affairs








Special ArGlives
Publication NurnbGr

65

CAMP BLENDING, FLORIDA
THREE UNOFFICIAL HISTORIES


State Arsenal
St. Francis
Barracks
St. Augustire,
Florida









STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL




POST OFFICE BOX 1008
STATE ARSENAL, ST. AUGUSTINE
32085-1008









The Special Archive Publications of the Historical Services
Division are produced as a service to Florida communities,
historians, governmental agencies, and to other individuals,
historical or genealogical societies, and national or regional
governmental agencies whcih find the information contained herein
of use or value.

At present, copies of all Special Archives Publications are
provided to certain state and national historical repositories at
no charge. A limited number of additional copies are available
to interested individuals and groups so long as supplies last.
The copywrite to these Special Archives Publications resides with
the Florida National Guard Historical Foundation, Inc. (P.O. Box
1008, St. Augustine, Florida 32085). Re-published copies are
available from the Foundation at a nominal charge.

Information about the series is available from the Historical
Services Division, Florida Department of Military Affairs, State
Arsenal, St. Augustine, Florida.


Robert Hawk
Director




(THIS SPECIAL ARCHIVES PRODUCTION HAS BEEN PRODUCED IN LIMITED
NUMBERS SPECIFICALLY FOR THE WORLD WAR II REUNION OF FLORIDA
REGIMENTS TO BE HELD IN ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA 16-19 MAY 1988












A History Of

Camp Blanding




LT. GEN. BLENDING
1876-1970

Camp Blanding owes its location on the shore of graduated from the East Florida Seminary (now the
Kingsley Lake to a desire by the U.S. Navy to University of Florida) in 1894 and began his military
establish a naval air station on the banks of the service to the state and nation. He was promo-
St. Johns River south of Jacksonville. The site was ted to colonel in 1909 and commanded the 2nd
already the location of the Florida National Florida Infantry during the Mexican Border Service
Guard's Camp Foster and negotiations were in 1916 and 1917. During World War I, he com-
started for a land-swap. In mid-1939, the transac- manded the 53rd Brigade, 27th Division. He was
tion was accomplished and the state armory promoted to major general in 1924 and com-
board chose as compensation a tract of 30,000 manded the 31st Infantry Division until 1940. He also
acres in Clay County as a National Guard camp served as chief of the National Guard Bureau until
and training site. The National Guard Officers his retirement and promotion to lieutenant general
Association of Florida recommended that the new in 1940.
camp be named in honor of Lt. Gen. Albert H. Blan- In 1940, Camp Blanding was leased to the U.S.
ding. The War Department agreed and Camp Army as an active duty training center. The post
Blanding's history began, was originally used by New England and Southern
General Blanding (9 Nov 1876 26 Dec 1970) was
one of Florida's most distinguished soldiers. He (Continued on Page 2)






















Two National Guardsmen In M-60 training at Camp Blanding.

"Page ... "'








(Continued from Page 1)


troops preparing for deployment overseas.
However, during the course of the war, Camp Blan-
ding served as an infantry replacement training
center, as induction center, the site of a prisoner-of-
war compound and a separation center. At the
height of the war, thanks to leases with local lan-
downer's Camp Blanding sprawled over more
than 170,000 acres. From 1940 to 1945, more than
800,000 soldiers received all or part of their training World ar aei of Cm o ng.
here. World War II aerial of Camp Blanding.
After the war, the state's 30,000 acres were return-
ed to the armory board and by 1948 most of the Navy utilizes a bombing and strafing target in the
buildings were sold or moved off post. In the early southern portion of the post.
1950s, the federal government deeded additional The E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. mine a
land to the state for use as a National Guard train- restricted area on the western edge of the post
ing facility, but until 1970, the post saw only limited where ilmenite and other heavy minerals are
used by the military, removed from the soil. The armory board uses the
In the 1970s, an expansion program began income from the sale of mineral rights and timber
upgrading the post facilities and in 1981, the products from general post maintenance, opera-
federal government redesignated Camp Blanding tions and improvements. To help preserve the en-
as a Class A military installation. The designation vironment, DuPont has instituted a procedure
qualified the post for use by greater numbers of whereby the topsoil is stripped and stockpiled
troops with more diversified training, Upgrading of before the mining operation is started. After mining,
facilities and training areas continues to this day. the topsoil is redistributed.
In 1983, the first 105mm artillery firing points were Today, Camp Blanding is a vibrant military in-
used since WWII. Tank ranges have been upgrad- stallation with a training schedule that continues
ed and Tank TAbles I through VI can be fired. In ad- almost year-round to meet the training needs of
edition to improved facilities and ranges, a tens of thousands of National Guardsmen, active
parachute drop zine and an airfield have expand- Army and Reservists from all over the United States.
ed Camp Blandings training capacity and the

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F L 0 R I A

SO 0th lRet(190,191,192,193 Bs)
z lst (194,195,196,197Bns)
S.6 62nd (198,199,200,201 Bns)
SO c c3rd (202,.20304,205 Bns)
-o' . ,8 t\64th (206,2071 08,232Bns)
T 65th (209,210,211,2121 Bns)
r.' t. 661th (213,214115.2168ts)
A "' 671th (21718,219Bns)
17 \68th (220221,222,22387s)
\U..,' '' ;'r ..R 6h (224,225,23,221Bns)
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A. 1944map of Camp Blandng showing unit headquarters
SI.- Page 2 I I A. wrr "
'1 4 -.- ^

:, .. wlw rlk i.t .."

'A .944 map of Camp Blanding showing unit headquarers.-,'-' :, -" ""

., Page 2






D. MISSION AND OPERATION OF CAMP LANDING

1. History The largest and most controversial military task in Florida
during World War II was Camp'Blanding, near Starke, 37 miles southwest of
Jacksonville. Its history was all the ingredients which epitomize the rapid
wartime construction: the site has been selected at an earlier time for a
different purpose; the principal contractor,-Starrett Brothers & Eken, a
successful northern company that built the Empire State Building in New York
City, was on unfamiliar ground building in the swamp and pineland of
Florida; northern labor unions moved south with Starrett Brothers & Eken to
jostle with independent southern labor, creating additional tensions; and
the installation dwarfed the rural town of Starke. Throughout all of this
was the pressure of time to build facilities to store and use the
materials to build quarters before the troops arrive. It was a pressure-
laden situation from the start.

The site was initially selected in 1939 by the Florida National Guard to
replace Camp Foster, the former guard camp near Jacksonville which has been
transferred to the Navy. Brigadier General Vivian B. Collins, Florida
National Guard, selected a 27,000-acre site in Clay County on Kingsley Lake.
It was an excellent site for a country plantation type retreat for hunting
and fishing. When the plans were drawn up, the layout was modest. The
State estimated about $700,000 would be necessary to create a summer camp
for Florida guardsmen. The Fourth Corps Area Commander, Lieutenant General
Stanley D. Embick, was as impressed as General Collins with Camp Blanding,
and soon the camp was placed on the Protective Mobilization Plan list.

When the national defense program accelerated in the spring of 1940, rumors
began circulating that Blanding would be more than just a guardsmen's summer-
camp. In mid-year, the War Department plans were released indicating that
Blanding would house the 31st Division from Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and
Mississippi for a year's training cycle. The Quartermaster Corps had to
move fast to create a major training base out of virgin terrain. Then it
was announced that the 43rd Division from Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, and
Rhode Island was scheduled to move in 50,000 troops by the next spring. An
installation of this size caused construction estimates to soar to $27.5
million, and the labor population to create this camp rose to 21,000.
By this time, the Quartermaster construction men were writing about the
swamp conditions at Blanding. The description of the site shifted from one
of gently rolling country plantation to a swamp and quagmire base. General
vEmbick was undismayed by these construction reports and the plans continued
as before.
Starrett Brothers & Eken met new problems with innovative solutions. There
was a need for 7,000 carpenters at the very start of construction. The
local area could not produce anywhere near that number. The contractor sta-
tioned experienced carpenters side by side with novices, on the theory that




9







the beginner could learn from and be guided by the experienced man on the
job. They set up plans for building sections which were precut at the
sawmill and lumber yard. After the company had organized this system, a
standard mess hall could be cut to size.in the lumber yard in 10 minutes,
and erected in the field on its foundation in 25 minutes.

Camp Blanding, with all of its troubles, was taken over by the Jacksonville
District and completed with a minimum of dislocation. Secretary of War,
Henry L. Stimson, reporting to the Truman Committee on the shift of
construction from the Quartermaster Corps to the Corps of Engineers said:
"The construction projects which have been allocated to the Engineer Corps
have been actively and efficiently prosecuted and are generally meeting the
requirements of their scheduled completion dates."
L. B. McLeod, of the Orlando construction company bearing his name, summed
up the attitude of the day when he told the Truman Committee of the inten-
sity of working conditions: "You must increase, you have got to build more
putting the pressure on us I spent day and night. I worked harder the
first 3 months than I ever worked in my life, trying to find equipment
somewhere in the country available. As a result, we rented equipment of
every description that we could from 16 other owners than ourselves...We
went in there to do a job, to do it in a hurry and put this defense program
over with every ounce that we could put forth."

At the end of 2 frantic years of work, Camp Blanding was completed. Albert
R. Swartz wrote to the Jacksonville District Reporting Section a brief,
detailed report of the overall construction effort. The reservation
inclosed 180,000 acres, housed 55,000 personnel, and contained 9,104
buildings. The camp had a 2,051 bed hospital with the buildings connected
by 8 miles of corridors. Among the specialized areas of the camp was an
artillery range able to handle all types of fire from a minimum of 8 miles
from gun to impact zone. This range included a moveable track target,
operating over a half-mile.course, controlled. electrically. There were nine
control towers connected to the range, and, closer to the impact zone, two
concrete observation dugouts. The 4- by 5-mile-rifle range was modeled upon
that of Fort Benning, which was considered to be the-most advanced of all
rifle training ranges. There were also anti-aircraft, mortar, and grenade
ranges on the reservation.
Blanding's utility system included 125 miles of paved roads, over 1 million
square yards of motor parking areas, 81 miles of water lines, 256 miles of
electrical wiring, and 26.5 miles of railroad track. Total construction
cost had grown from $27 million to $60 million. In sum Swartz wrote: "It
was a good job and we are all proud to have had a part in it."
After the war, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce went on record to have
Camp Blanding continue in an active status. It pointed out that the many
facilities already in place should be considered a positive factor in the
retention of the camp. The Post-War Utilizations Studies conducted by the
Corps of Engineers determined otherwise. This study, after pointing out the



10








many desirable features, decided that Camp Blanding was not satisfactory
because the housing was predominately hutment construction, and the railroad
facilities were too light for continued use on an active installation.

2. Current Mission The mission of Camp Blanding is to serve as an annual
training and weekend training site. There is year-round facilities to sup-
port the essential training requirements of the Army National Guard, other
Reserve Components, and certain active services available on the installa-
tion. The training facilities were analyzed on proposed installation impro-
vements which will enhance the training of a reinforced separate Infantry
Brigade Unit with a troop strength of approximately 9,814 personnel.'

Currently, Camp Blanding serves as a major training and logistical center
for the Florida Army National Guard and certain elements of the Army .
National Guard of other states and territories. The scheduled units to be
stationed at Camp Blanding under mobilization plans are located in Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, Mississippi, and Alabama. Paragraph 5 lists
the various units, their locations and strengths of units designated to be
stationed at Camp Blanding upon mobilization.

3. Mission Under Mobilization During full mobilization, the National
Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Units will become a component of the regular
Federal Armed Forces, permitting a new mission to be developed for Camp
Blanding. Camp Blanding mission under full mobilization would be providing
training facilities for a reinforced light infantry brigade prior to
deployment and become a training center for COMPO 4 Units (COMPO 4
Mobilization Troop Basis Stationing Plan). Figure.1 shows the organiza-
tional structure of a typical separate infantry brigade. In addition to the
separate infantry brigade organizational structure, this .brigade has a
signal brigade with two battalions, an engineering battalion, an air defense
artillery battalion, .acLseveral-company. size units assigned to it.
"47 'Present Training Resources The total area of the installation is
70,379 acres. Camp Blanding is divided into 31 subareas as shown on map of
-Camp Blanding Training Areas (figure 2). The installation is characterized
as follows:

Improved 3,600
Unimproved 15,379
Woodland ..51,500
The installation is adequate for annual and weekend training conducted by
the Army National Guard and other reserve components. Ranges are available
to fire all weapons organic to an infantry brigade with the exception of
field artillery. In addition, a parachute drop zone is located in the
northwest corner of the installation. Camp Blanding has an airfield,
complete with an operations headquarters and air traffic control tower. The
U.S. Navy maintains a bombing and strafing target range in the southern por-
tion of the reservation by special agreement with.the Armory Board.




11







HISTORY OF CAMP BLANDINQ
AND
INSTALLATION SUPPORT UNIT


The Installation Support Unit is a relatively new- organization. In order
to complete the history of ISU, I will have to give you the back ground leading
up to its organization. That Background is- Canp Blanding.

Camp Blanding was established in 1939 as a replacement for Camp Foster,
which was the Florida National Guard's primary facility for what was then called
Summer Camp.

The National Guard Officer's Association of Florida recommended that the
Armory Board name the facility "Camp Albert H, Blanding in honor of LT
Albert Hazen Blanding4

SConstruction was begun on an installation suitable. for acccaodating a
brigade shortly after the purchase of. the Camp.Blanding Site. The facilities
consisted of two regimental headquarters Buildings facing opposite sides of a
parade field, and behind each headquarters building a row- of administrative
buildings, mess- halls- and latrines-.

SAs American entry into World War II became imminent, Camp Blanding was
federalized, and its- population and -utilization mushroomed to a degree h~ver
anticipated a scant yearandradhalf earlier when the initial property was:
-purchased.

THE WAR YEA:RS: i Pearl Harbor Day was- just over a year away when the
Federal Government took over Camp Blanding to begin converting it from a
modest National Guard training site to a sprawling Ary "training center.

When the national defense program accelerated in the spring of 1940,.
rumors began circulating that. Blanding would be more than just a guardsments
summer camp. In midyear, the War Department. plans- were released indicating
that Blanding would house 5O,0DOC troops by the next spring,

Its history has all the ingredients which epitomize the rapid wartime
construction: the principal ccntractor,-Starrett Brothers & Eken, a successful
northern company that built the Empire State Building in New York City, was
on unfamiliar ground building in the swamp and pineland of Florida.

Camp Blanding, with all of its troubles, was taken over by the Jacksonville
District Corps of Engineers and completed. wo gg Tm.. pf' r C

At the end of two frantic years of work, Camp Blanding was completed. The
reservation enclosed 70,000 acreas-, housed 55,000'personnel, and contained
9Sa,0. buildings-. The camp had a 2,051 bed hospital with the buildings connected
by 8 miles of corridors.

Blending's utility system included 125 miles- of paved .roads-, over 1 mIllli~or
square yards of motor parking areas-, i8l1 -iles:of water lines., 256 mles- of
electrical wiring, and 26.5 miles of railroad track. Total construction cost
had grown from $27 million to $~1 mil~ain.
-**.''*ttt '^ '








After the war, the Jacksi.nrille GCimber .of .Cc.erce went on record to
have Camp Blanding continue in an active. status. The .ost-War TUtilizations
Studies conducted by- the Corps of Engineers- determined otherwise.

The post commander's hcaei, overlooking Kingsley Lake, is a two-story
building which still exists&, and is- designated as Quarters 1, ,

With the exception of these maj or facilities, most of Camp Blanding was
developed in two segments on opposite sides- f the "Masonaixon Line*, each
a mirror image of the other. The units and combat service support elements,
sane carrying parenthetical designation (COL. 1 which. indicated "colored"
units in a still segregated ArmyI,

In the later war years-, a small part of Camp Blanding was used to hold
German and Italian prisoners- of war, A small .PW' cemetery was established,
The remains of the half dozen or' so. pris ers,buried there were disinterred
after the war and shipped to Fort Benning, GA, .

Following the war, Camp Blanding was -used for a limited time as- a seperation
center as the federalized period of the post s- historV drew-.to a close, The
original 30,0.0. acreas- was-.returned to state control, Te state asked for
and received title to Sr t,,of the imroveents- built during the war years. Among
these were the. road system, the sewer system and part of the water .works,. the
cold storage warehouses',

The remainder of the buildings- the vast -majority of what was built the
war years- was disposed of by the Army Camp Wrecking Corporation. Many
of the houses- in Clay. and Bradford Counties- today came. from the Army Camp
Wrecking Corporationt's disposal operations-, One St. Augustine motel was
created from salvaged Camp Blanding buildings,

After World War II, Camp Blanding stood down and the state's 30,000 acreas
were returned to the State Armory Board 's control

As the state once again took over operation .of Camp Blanding after the
war, the role of the post in support of the Florida National Guard became primarily
logistical. The development of Camp Blanding as- an Annual Training Site the
purpose, for which the acreage was purchased in 1939 was postponed indefinitely,

When the Korean conflict mounted, the Corps of Engineers began to develop
Camp Blanding as a railhead with a complete stand-by -utility system.

A new activity was created at Camp Blanding during the post-war years with
the establishment of the Florida National Guard Officers Candidate .School in
March. of 2961. On 2 September .1975, a Non-coammissioned Officer School was
added, and the OCS and NCOES programs were brought together to create the Florida
National (uard Military Academy.

A jungle warfare training center for,,the training -use of the 20th Special
Forces Group (Abn., First Special Forces, was. established late in .1964.

Little by little, Camp Blanding was reestablishing the importance which.
Camp Foster once had occupied as a Florida National Guard training facility,
but it was not until 1967 that Florida was- once again to have its own full
fledged Annual Training site.










Installation Support Unit was originally HHDCi /FNo in 1969,- In the
early 1970's it became the 653rd Engineers- Det,. 'he Det, was made up of a
log team, Engr. team, Utilities- team, This organization lasted until 1976
then it split and became ARNG Ihg. Site and 653 Engr, Det, ( a. small unit
of 131.- The ARNG Training Site consisted of a command and control element,
Ccmo Section and Supply Section, This lasted -until the present Installation
Support Unit came into Being in 1984. ISU consist of a Post Commander, Deputy
Post Ccmuander, Post Cm d, SQv and Direccrates, It is- not a unique unit as all
posts have Installation Support ufts-
The mission of the ISU is to command and operate the installation: Manage
and adndnister-the use of resources: Provide administrative, Training and
Logistical Support as asssined, ,Attached and tenant, ~tnits and, activities; Prepare
to expand and operate as a, separate installa~i~rf 'u amd ilization,





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TRAINING ARFAS. RESTRICTED AREAS, TANK TRAIL & HELIPAD MAP (1 AUG 78)
RANGE 23 EAST RANE 24 EAST
LEGEND

f NI-7 TACTICAL TRAINING I
.- .A-E AVMINISTRATIYE AREA
BIVOUiAC AREAS
.-" R- RESTRICTED CAWtONMENW
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R R2/4 RESTRICTED, SMALL ARMS
fflW RANGES
"."v'. V1.. ". R-3 RESTRICTED, MORTAR RANGE

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N Al-8 W C AREAS
TI/S TRA VEHICLE TRAINING
S UVER AREAS
TX. TR. CK VEHICLE DRIVING -

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THE GENESIS OF CAMP BLENDING

A composite from the writings of Brigadier General Ralph W. Cooper, Jr. (Retired)
and Lieutenant Colonel S. L. Frisbie, IV

In the early days of the Florida National Guard, training was more or less

a haphazard affair with field training being conducted at various locations. During

the 1905 session of the Florida legislature, the matter of a permanent campground

for the Florida National Guard was considered and a commission was appointed to

locate a site for the training of Florida National Guard troops.

At the 1907 session of the legislature, the commission presented their recom-

mendation for a site at Black Point, about 15 miles south of Jacksonville on the

west bank of the St. Johns River. The recommendation was approved, but no appro-

priation was made for purchase of the property.

A group of citizens in Jacksonville, raised between $6,000 and $7,000 and pur-

chased the site, consisting of 300 acres, and deeded it to the Armory Board (which

consisted of the Governor, the Adjutant General, the State Quartermaster, and major

commanders). Thus came into being the first site for the permanent training of

Florida troops.

The Secretary of War, recognizing the need for a rifle range purchased an

additional 400 acres to the north and contiguous to the State lands and a rifle

range was constructed. For a number of years field training of troops, not only

from Florida but other Southern states, was conducted at Black Point. Facilities

were meager and housing consisted of tentage.

Then came World War I and the National Guard was mobilized. The Government

established a cantonment at Black Point and named it Camp Joseph E. Johnson. Wooden

barracks, mess halls, latrines, warehouses, administration buildings and hospital

facilities were constructed. Many troops were trained here prior to embarkation

for Europe and the site took on a semblance of permanence.

Subsequent to World War I, the camp was returned to the Armory Board and again







became a training area for National Guard troops from several Southern states. The

facilities which were left proved to be a great asset and Camp Johnson was used

effectively for training.

On June 18, 1928, Major General Clifford R. Foster, the Adjutant General of

Florida died in office and Brigadier General Vivian Collins was appointed to succeed

him. A short time later the Armory Board changed the name of Camp Johnson to Camp

Clifford R. Foster.

During the late 1930's, with war brewing in Europe, the United States began

giving more attention to military preparedness. The Navy desired to acquire Camp

Foster and convert it to a Naval Air Training Station. The Secretary of War ap-

proved the conversion, provided the sum of $400,000 plus salvage rights of existing

facilities were made available to the Armory Board to establish a new training

facility for National Guard troops.

The citizens of Jacksonville, recognizing the economic value of having a full

time military base close to Jacksonville, formed a committee known as The Air

Base Authority to bring the transition to reality. The Authority raised the re-

quired $400,000 and offered it to the Armory Board with the proviso that the new

National Guard training area be in Duval County or a contiguous county. They de-

livered a check in the full amount on November 18, 1939. The Authority favored a

site northeast of New Berlin, but the Armory Board, desiring a site lending to di-

versified training, including artillery ranges, selected a site south of State Road

16 in Clay County and approximately 6 miles east of Starke.

Richard P. Daniel, an eminent attorney in Jacksonville, was retained to acquire

the site. A team of professional appraisers was formed and 28,200 acres were acquired

at a cost of $199,000(some by negotiation and some by condemnation). The area be-

tween State Road 16 and Kingsley Lake was selected as the housing area and in the

last quarter of 1939, work began to make the site a usable training area. The


2








design provided for one brigade, with a parade ground centered on the radius of

Kingsley Lake. Identical areas were designed and constructed on each side of the

parade ground consisting of an administrative building, mess halls, latrines, and

row of tents.

Work began simultaneously with the salvage of Camp Foster and the clearing

of the new encampment area. The only building that was not salvaged at Camp Foster

was a portion of the present Navy Exchange. It is.identified by having a different

floor level and architectural treatment than the balance of the Exchange. WPA labor

and Military Department personnel were used for the salvage operation and prisoners

from the State Penitentiary at Raiford were used for the clearing operation. Sal-

vaged materials were moved from Camp Foster to the new site using military trucks

driven by National Guard personnel. Construction then began using Military De-

partment employees, WPA labor and contractors. A water system and sewage system,

including a small disposal plant, came into being and electricity was furnished

by the Florida Power & Light Company.

A telephone line was installed from the camp to the Starke Telephone Company

at Starke. Construction was by Military Department personnel and consisted of a

pole line carrying two pairs phantomed to provide three trunk lines.

Expenditure of funds received from the Air Base Authority was as follows:

Land Purchase -$197,000.00

Water System -13,327.00

Sewage System -25,129.97

Electric and Telephone 8,051.04

Consultants -9,796.65

Buildings -126,879.14

Roads, Streets and Clearing -16,620.48

Fence and Miscellaneous 3,195.72

$400,000.00

3








Construction was begun on an installation suitable for accommodating one brigade

shortly after the purchase of the Camp Blanding site. The facilities consisted of two

regimental headquarters buildings facing opposite sides of a parade field, and be-

hind each headquarters building a row of administrative buildings, mess halls and

latrines. The plan was to house virtually all of the Summer Camp troops in tents

near the buildings. Construction also was begun on an officers club overlooking

Kingsley Lake. The club was named Cooper Hall in honor of,'then Captain Ralph W.

Cooper, who, as State Quartermaster, supervised construction of the initial facil-

ities at Camp Blanding. (CPT Cooper would later retire as a Brigadier General.)

As fate would have it, the World War II mobilization brought federal troops to Camp

Blanding before the officers club was ready for occupancy, and the Florida National

Guard officers who designed and built Cooper Hall were not allowed to use it until

after the war. (Cooper Hall was to become the officers club for the station com-

plement--primarily the doctors and nurses at the Camp Blanding station hospital.

Other officers assigned to the post would use other clubs.)

As American entry to World War II became imminent, Camp Blanding was federal-

ized, and its population and utilization mushroomed to a degree never anticipated

a scant year-and-a-half earlier when the initial property was purchased.

Pearl Harbor Day was just over a year away when the federal government took

over Camp Blanding to begin converting it from a modest National Guard training

site into a sprawling Army training center. The first major unit to be mobilized

and stationed at Camp Blanding was the 31st Division, nicknamed "Dixie Darlings",

which had troops throughout the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas. The 31st was

called into active duty on 25 November 1940, and began setting up a tent city that

would house the troops prior to the major construction phase. Arriving on the heels

of the 31st Division was the 43rd Division, which drew its manpower from the New

England states. (The 43rd, like other units mobilized during the years immediately


4








preceding American involvement in World War II, was called to duty for a year's

training.) An immediate rivalry developed between the two divisions--one manned

by Yankees, the other from the heart of Dixie--and the post parade field (now the

airfield) was bisected by an imaginary Mason-Dixon Line which extended throughout

the training area.

Soon after the federalization of Camp Blanding, the Army bought an additional

40,000 acres and leased 100,000 more, expanding Camp Blanding from its original

30,000 acres to 170,000. With that acreage,- Camp Blanding claimed the distinction

of being the second largest training camp in the country. Starting from the modest

construction effort that the State Armory Board had begun in 1939, the War Depart-

ment in 1941 embarked on a construction program which would grow to some 10,000

buildings serving 100,000 troops. Construction contracts were written on a "cost

plus" basis as an incentive to speed; even at the expense of economy. Among the

earliest buildings constructed under War Department jurisdiction were a row of

wooden structures which housed a 3,000-bed station hospital. This development was

built just off Kingsley Lake, between the lakeshore and what is now known as Aveune

A. The hospital, like most of the construction which was to follow, was designed

to have a useful life of five years (a prophetic projection which would prove far

more accurate than the one on which the one-year mobilization orders were based).

Other early construction priorities went to headquarters buildings and warehouses.

It was not until mid-1942 that construction of troop housing began in earnest, and

by this time there were some 60,000 troops on post. The troop housing was com-

pleted within a year. In addition to the basic barracks buildings for the troops,

there were more lavish quarters for General officers. The post commander's home,

overlooking Kingsley Lake, is a two-story building which still exists, and is de-

signed as Quarters 1. It stood adjacent to the post headquarters. (Quarters 1

was due to become the home of the Florida National Guard Director of Maintenance



5







after the war, and today is reserved for the use of the Adjutant General, visiting

general officers and their staffs.) There also were eight generals' quarters over-

looking the parade field. (Two of these were relocated to lakefront sites after

the war, and are designated Quarters 2 and 3. They are used for housing senior

officers during Annual Training periods and are available for use by other Guard

members during the rest of the year. The other six generals' quarters also were

retained after the war, but since have been razed.) Other major buildings included

two large division officers' clubs, also overlooking the lake. One of these (the

31st Division's) was retained after the war and converted into an enlisted men's

club. It was destroyed by fire in December, 1976.

With the exception of these major facilities, most of Camp Blanding was de-

veloped in two segments on opposite sides of the "Mason-Dixon Line," each a mirror

image of the other. The basic organization for construction purposes was the

regiment, and each regiment (four per division at the time of mobilization, later

reduced to three per division) had its own regimental theater. Each division had

a large enlisted men's club. On the periphery of the division areas were artillery

units and combat service support elements, some carrying the parenthetical designa-

tion (COL.) which indicated "colored" units in a still segregated Army.

The post was laid out with four major avenues--arcs concentric with the shore-

line of Kingsley Lake--each named for one of the states whose troops were stationed

on post. These streets (beginning nearest the lake and moving out) were Alabama,

Connecticut, Florida, and Maine Avenues. (They since have been redesignated Avenues

A through D, respectively.) The connecting streets between the four major avenues

were named for cities and regions represented by the troops. Among them were names

such as New England, Providence, Brunswick, Waterbury, Tampa, Vicksburg, Meridian

and New Orleans streets. (Most of the streets were renamed after the war for

Florida cities and counties.)



6








During the period of minor development, construction crews overwhelmed the

area. State Road 16 from Starke (the nearest town) to Camp Blanding was nine feet

wide, and traffic was bumper to bumper for the entire 6 miles which separated the

post from the community. The trip typically took 30 to 60 minutes. Honky-tonks

abounded, and a small community of temporary housing, clip joints and prostitutes,

called Boomtown, grew up just outside the Camp Blanding gate. Much of Boomtown's

housing consisted of small trailers and even packing crates, desperation housing

occupied by construction workers who chose to avoid the congestion on State Road

16 at any cost. Some of them froze to death in the Winter months.

After undergoing its initial training, the 31st Division was stripped of its

initial complement of troops and functioned as cadre for three cycles of trainees

before being redeployed. This training concept evolved into the conversion of Camp

Blanding into an Infantry Replacement Training Center around 1943, and Camp Blanding's

mission became training of filler personnel for American Forces. A map bearing

the initials IRTC (for Infantry Replacement Training Center) shows 11 regiments--

the 60th through the 70th-- suggesting that this may have been the troop structure

when Camp Blanding reached its peak strength of 100,000 troops. Facilities shown

on that map (in addition to those already mentioned) include the guest house,

civilian dormitories, a Red Cross office, a post office, a railroad ticket office

and a bus depot and ticket office.

In the later war years, a small part of Camp Blanding was used to hold Ger-

man and Italian prisoners of war. A small PW cemetery was established. The re-

mains of the half dozen or so prisoners buried there were disinterred after the

war and shipped to Fort Benning, Georgia.

Then, even as now, construction of highways trailed years behind the devel-

opments they were designed to serve. A four-lane road, State Road 230, was par-

tially completed when the war ended. Today, State Road 230 is a two lane highway



7








leading to Camp Blanding's West Gate, but there is a cleared right-of-way for the

other two lanes, with bridges and culverts in place. Plans to pave the other two

lanes were abandoned at the war's end, but the bridges and culverts remain as a

reminder of the traffic that once moved in and out of a training post of 100,000

troops.

Following the war, Camp Blanding was used for a limited time as a separation

center as the federalized period of the post's history drew to a close. The orig-

inal 30,000 acres were returned to state control. The state asked for and received

title to some of the improvements built during the war years in lieu of restoration

of the property to the original, undeveloped condition. Among these were the road

system, the sewer system and part of the water works, the 31st Division officers'

club (to become the enlisted men's club), the cold.storage warehouses (which were

among the few masonry structures built by the War Department), the field house

(it was converted into a Post, Camp or Station warehouse and was later destroyed

by fire in 1977, several wooden warehouses (since razed by the state), the gen-

erals' quarters, and maintenance shops.

The remainder of the buildings--the vast majority of. what was built during

the war years--was disposed of by the Army Camp Wrecking Corporation. The dis-

mantling of the war years' construction began in mid-1945, and took five years--

longer than the construction phase. Many of the buildings were sold intact and

moved to other locations. Some of the hospital buildings were cut into two or

three sections, with each section being remodeled for residential use. Many of

the houses in Clay and Bradford counties today came from the Army Camp Wrecking

Corporation's disposal operations. One St. Augustine motel was created from sal-

vaged Camp Blanding buildings. Still other buildings were razed and their lumber

sold for salvage value.

The 100,000 acres of leased land was returned to the owners, and tohe federal



8








government retained the 40,000 acres it had purchased. The war was over, most

of the post was dismantled, and Camp Blanding went into a period of relative dor-

mancy, compared to the bustling pace of the war years. The Armory Board, recognizing

the value of that area for training purposes and feeling that the war to end all

wars had not occurred, decided that the land should be retained for defense purposes.

Following conferences in 1951 with the Honorable Spessard L. Holland, Senior

Senator from Florida and the Honorable Charles E. Bennett, Congressman from the

district in which the land is located, a Bill was introduced in the 82nd Congress

by which title to the Federally owned lands would be transferred to the Armory

Board of the State of Florida. Due to lack of proper ground work and a misunder-

standing as to the intent and purpose of the Bill, an unsatisfactory report was

made by the Congressional Committee responsible and it was not passed during the

82nd Congress.

The Adjutant General, realizing that the purpose behind the Bill was in the

public interest, immediately proceeded with conferences with the Department of

the Army and a new Bill was prepared and passed resulting in the enactment of

Public Law No. 493 of the 83rd Congress entitled "An Act to provide for conveyance

of the federally owned lands which are situated within Camp Blanding Military Re-

servation, Florida, to the Armory Board, State of Florida, in order to consolidate

ownership and perpetuate the availability of Camp Blanding for military training

and use".

Under the provisions of this Act, the Federal lands were deeded to the Armory

Board of the State of Florida by the United States of America, reserving to the

Federal government fissionable materials pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.

The Act further provided that the deed would be conveyed to the Armory Board of

the State of Florida only after the execution of an Agreement between the Armory





9







Board and the United States of America covering the use of revenue accruing from

the Federally owned lands through exploitation of timber products, minerals, etc.

The entire Reservation to include both Federal and State lands was to be held

intact in order that it be available for military uses in case of national emer-

gency and the Reservation was to be used for military purposes only. Negotiations

leading up to the aforementioned Agreement were in progress for several months.

Agreement was consummated and the Deed delivered early in the calendar year 1955.

As the state once again took over operation of Camp Blanding after the war,

the role of the post in support of the Florida National Guard became primarily lo-

gistical. The development of Camp BLanding as an Annual Training Site--the pur-

pose for which the acreage was purchased in 1939--was postponed indefinitely, and

about the only training that took place on post was marksmanship qualification and

an occasional command post exercise. The Summer encampments in the post-war years

were held at Fort McClellan, Alabama, Camp (now Fort) Jackson, South Carolina, and

Fort Stewart, Georgia. Vehicles and equipment salvaged from the war effort were

assigned to the Florida National Guard by way of Camp Blanding, where they were

rehabilitated and then issued to troop units. Logistical operations at Camp Blanding

included establishment of the U.S. Property and Disbursing Office (now the U.S.

Property and Fiscal Office, or USP&FO), development of a combined Support Main-

tenance Shop (CSMS), and formation of a Mobilization and Training Equipment Shop

(MATES). The USP&FO, which operates under the Directorate of Supply and Services,

receives, stores and issues federal property and supplies. The CSMS performs higher

echelons of maintenance for federal equipment assigned to units throughout the

state. The MATES stocks and maintains various weapons and vehicles used by units

which train at Camp Blanding, primarily the M-42 track-mounted 40 millimeter Air

Defense Artillery weapons.

Camp Blanding got a major economic boost when large deposits of commercially



10







mineable ilmenite were discovered on the western edge of the Camp Blanding property

around 1947. The Armory Board entered into a long-term contract with E.I. duPont

deNemours and Company for the mining of this mineral, which is used in paint pig-

ments. Prior to the discovery of ilmenite on the Camp Blanding property, the

South Pacific was the only commercial source for the mineral. The royalties which

the state receives for the ilmenite are tied to the market price and to the Con-

sumer Price Index. The company has instituted a program of covering its mined-over

land with a layer of topsoil, and the acreage now supports grass and trees.

Camp Blanding got another big break during the Korean Conflict build-up, when

the federal government, anticipating the possibility of federalizing the post once

again, spent $3 million to put in a new water system. The project involved drilling

new wells, installing additional pumps, and putting in 300 fire hydrants. Camp

Blanding was not needed for training of troops for Korea after all, and the water

system improvements have proved to be a major asset to the post.

During his tour as Adjutant General, MG Mark W. Lance persuaded U.S. Senator

Spessard L. Holland (D, Fla.) to sponsor federal legislation to deed to the state

the 40,000 acres of land that had been purchased during the World War II build-up.

That legislation was approved on 14 July 1954 as Public Law 493. PL 493 conveys

to the Armory Board 40,145.51 acres of land, and acknowledges 30,234.25 acres

(the original Camp Blanding purchase) to be state land. The conveyance reserves

to the federal government the right to take over Camp Blanding again in the event

of national emergency. It recognizes the duPont lease, that requires the state

to operate a forest management program, reserving to the state the option to sell

timber and mineral rights but requiring the revenues to be used for the benefit

of Camp Blanding.

Ranges on Camp Blanding, some retained from the war years, others developed

by the state since then, include: 7.62-millimeter, .30 and .45 caliber small arms



11







ranges; machine gun, rocket launcher, 106-millimeter recoilless rifle, 81-milli-

meter and 4.2-inch mortar ranges; sub-caliber tank ranges; an aviation assualt

range; a demolitions and explosives range; an antiaircraft artillery range for

the 40-millimeter weapons; and a Navy and Air Force gunnery and bombing target

area. The ranges for the 40-millimeter antiaircraft weapons include both direct.

fire and aerial fire targets, the latter being Radio Controlled Aircraft Targets.

A new activity was created at Camp Blanding during the post war years with

the establishment of the Florida National Guard Officers Candidate School in March

of 1961. Class No. 1 was commissioned in 1962. (On 1 September 1975, a Noncom-

missioned Officer School was added, and the OCS and NCO programs were brought to-

gether to create the Florida National Guard Military Academy.) Use of the 20th

Special Forces Group (Abn) First Special Forces, was established late in 1964.

The facilities include a rappelling and jump tower and a small drop zone.

Little by little, Camp Blanding was reestablishing the importance which Camp

Foster once had occupied as a Florida National Guard training facility, but it

was not until 1967 that Florida was once again to have its own full-fleged Annual

Training site. It happened all of a sudden.

The advance detachment for Annual Field Training of 1967 already had arrived

at Fort Stewart, Georgia, to prepare for the arrival of the Florida National Guard

when Governor Claude R. Kirk ordered the Guard to spend its encampment at Camp

Blanding. Civil disturbances were becoming increasingly common during the "long

hot Summer" of 1967, and Governor Kirk said he wanted the Guard (in its capacity

as the state militia) close at hand in the event of riots in Florida. The pre-

cautions proved to be unnecessary, but the diversion of the Guard from Fort Stewart

to Camp Blanding sparked the rebirth of Camp Blanding as the Florida National

Guard's primary training site.

During that first major encampment, most troops were housed in squad (General



12







Purpose, Medium) tents on land from which basic trainee housing had been cleared

two decades earlier. These battalion-sized areas were designated as Administrative

Bivouac Areas A through E plus the company-sized Avco area adjacent to the air-

field. A decision was made to continue holding Florida National Guard encampments

at Camp Blanding (with the exception of Field Artillery units, for which there

were no adequate ranges, and various specialized units, which needed facilities

not available at Camp Blanding), and a five-year development plan was begun under

the leadership of MG Henry W. McMillian, The Adjutant General. The primary thrust

of the five-year plan was construction of permanent troop housing for a five-bat-

talion brigade. Administrative Bivouac Areas A through E and the Avco area were

selected as the sites for the'permanent housing. Areas A through D were designed

to accommodate a battalion headquarters facility, company headquarters, supply

and mess hall buildings, and barracks and latrines. The Avco area was designed

to accommodate an aviation company (though the TO&E of the aviation company has

since been expanded). A number of additional barracks buildings were built in

the cantonment area, behind the rows of buildings which were originally intended

to be regimental headquarters areas. Another major element of the five-year plan

was construction of a dispensary with an emergency room, several examining rooms,

a ward, a pharmacy and doctors' offices. Behind the dispensary is a lighted concrete

helipad for emergency medical evacuation. All new construction is of concrete

block. Permanent barracks facilities on Camp Blanding now have a capacity of

approximately 5,000 persons. The cost of the five-year plan construction was

approximately $6.5 million.

Another major facility on Camp Blanding came as the result of a gift. Pre-

sident Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the Green Cove Springs Naval Station deactivated,

and the property was sold to Reynolds Aluminum for use as an industrial park. COL

Charles M. Gilchrist, Jr., then State Quartermaster, went to the corporation's



13








leadership and proposed that the chapel be given to Camp Blanding and named Reynolds

Chapel. His proposal was approved, and the building was cut into three sections,

moved to Camp Blanding, and reassembled. The chapel had three altars on a turn-

table, each designed for the use of a different religious faith. The building is

designed so that two services can be conducted simultaneously--one at each end of

the building--each congregation facing the altar appropriate to its faith. The

chapel also has chaplains' offices and an external public address system. The

Army Chief of Chaplains was invited to visit Reynolds Chapel in the hope that he

could be persuaded to provide some simple furnishings for the vacant building.

Instead, he was so impressed that he furnished first class pews, carpeting and

draperies, and the air conditioned chapel is now a showplace of Camp Blanding.

The chapel has been used for several Florida National Guard weddings, and worship

services are held in it at both Annual Training and weekend training assemblies.

Camp Blanding suffered two setbacks in its redevelopment when fire destroyed

two of the major buildings which had been salvaged from the World War II era.

The first was the old field house, which had been converted for use as Post, Camp

or Station Warehouse 1. The massive frame building and its contents were destroyed

in October of 1977. The building was replaced with a modern warehouse built with

funds from the state fire insurance trust fund at a cost of approximately $500,000.

The enlisted men's club, which was built as the 31st Division officers' club,

burned to the ground in December of 1978. Though it was insured with the state,

it was carried on the books at its depreciated value, as required by the state

law, and insurance proceeds cannot pay for a building the size of the one which

burned. At this writing, plans are to replace the club, but details as to loca-

tion and size of the new facility have not been decided. For the 1979 Annual

Training encampments, a temporary Service Club was operated in one of the Admin-

istrative Bivouac areas by the Army-Air Force Exchange Service. The officer's



14








club, Cooper Hall, has proven to be a problem to operate, and a succession of con-

cessionaries have been unable to make a financial success of the club. Attempts

to operate the club under National Guard management also have been unprofitable.

At this writing, the club is closed temporarily.

The post exchange operation has been more successful. During the first en-

campment.in 1967, the post exchange was operated as a small, makeshift facility

but the operation has been moved into a masonry building which served as a post

exchange for the Infantry Replacement Training Center during World War II, and

a full-fledged facility is operated during major Annual Training periods by the

Army-Air Force Exchange Service as a branch of the Patrick Air Force Base Ex-

change.

The only major construction project still in the works (aside from replace-

ment of the enlisted men's club) is a 44.611-square foot armory. That building,

tentatively scheduled for occupancy in 1982, will accommodate eight permanent

party units, including the Command and Control Headquarters, the Annual Training

Site Headquarters, and the 653rd Engineer Detachment. The latter unit functions

as post engineer. The budget for the new armory is $2,430,000 of which $1,000,000

will be state funds and the remainder federal funds.

While Camp Blanding's primary use is for military training, the post also

serves several other important purposes. Much of Camp Blanding is operated as a

game management area under agreement between the Armory Board and the Florida De-

partment of Natural Resources. A resident game manager operates the program.

Access to and use of wildlife areas is regulated by the Florida Game and Fresh

Water Fish Commission. A forester hired by the Armory Board operates a forest

management program, and some of the timber planted by the forester is now being har-

vested. The revenues from sale of timber are used to help maintain Camp Blanding.

The post is available for recreational use by National Guardsmen and their families,



15








and facilities include a civilian camping area and a number of air conditioned

mobile homes and quonset huts. Other non-military uses, in addition to the duPont

mineral operations, include operation of a 100-acre Clay county landfill and oper-

ation of a Girl Scout camp along a half-mile of Kingsley Lake frontage by the Gate-

way Girl Scout Council.

Though Camp Blanding is a state-owned military facility, it is operated with-

out state-appropriated funds. Federal funding, except for capital expenditures,

is limited to a training site contract, funded primarily by a per diem reimburse-

ment to the state for use of the post for military training. The post complement

handles most maintenance and utilities responsibilities, including operation of

a water distribution system, a sewage treatment plant, and an electrical distri-

bution system fed from a state-owned substation. Major funding sources for 1978

were $269,000 in mining royalties, $375,000 from sale of timber, and $197,000 in

federal funding for training site employees. Other revenue sources in a budget

which comes to a little less than $1 million a year include: camping and billeting

fees, rental fees, and utilities charges from on post housing occupied by permanent

employees, concessionaire revenues, and interest.

Camp Blanding's military use is not limited to the Florida National Guard

and the nearby Air Force and Navy units which use its gunnery and bombing ranges.

The 1979 annual Training schedule for Camp Blanding includes six major encampments,

bringing to the post National Guard, United States Army Reserve and United States

Marine Corps Reserve elements from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mis-

sissippi, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, plus a company of infan-

trymen from Scotland.

From its inception as a modest National Guard Summer camp site in 1939 to its

burgeoning development as a World War II training post to its post-war dormancy

and its rebirth as a major National Guard training facility, Camp Blanding has

served the military needs of the nation in war and peace for two generations.


16


































CAMP BLENDING,. FLORIDA, IN WAR AND PEACE







Subcourse 85/7

Military Writing

USACGSC

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas



Sayer L. Frisbie, IV, MAJ, FlaARNG

3388th USAR School, Tampa, Florida

6 June 1979















CAMP BLENDING, FLORIDA, IN WAR AND PEACE

Section I: Introduction

Camp Blanding, Florida, located 10 miles east of

Starke and 37 miles southwest of Jacksonville in north Flo-

rida, is the primary Annual Training site for troops of the

Florida National Guard. It also is used extensively by

active and reserve elements from Florida and other states,

and is a major forest management area, game management

area, and mining site.

Its development may best be understood in four

clearly-defined stages: its inception as a National Guard

training site in 1939, its conversion to an Army training

post in 1940, a period of semi-dormancy in the postrWar

years, and its rebirth as a major National Guard training

site in 1967. This report is organized to reflect each of

these phases in the development of Camp Blanding into the

facility that it is today.

The writer has discovered that there is relatively

little written material available on Camp Blanding, and has

been fortunate in being able to interview several persons

whose personal recollections help fill in the gaps in the

written material that has been located. A brief synop-

sis of their connection with Camp Blanding is included in

the endnotes to this paper.













; .: ; :: .













Section II: In the Beginning

Camp Blanding was established in 1939 as a replace-

ment for Camp Foster, which was the Florida National Guard's

primary facility for what was then called Summer Camp. Camp

Foster, located at Black Point in the St. John's River south-

west of Jacksonville, was sought by the Navy Dept. as the

site for a Naval Air Station.1 The political leadership of

Duval County supported the Navy Dept.'s aspirations, and

the Duval County Air Base Authority was formed for the pur-

pose of purchasing the Camp Foster Property for the Navy.

The Armory Board of the.State of Florida agreed to sell the

land for $.400,000 plus salvage rights from the Camp Foster

development.2 The deal was consummated in mid-1939,-and the

Armory Board used the money to purchase a site containing

approximately 30,000 acres in western Clay county, including

a little more than half (three miles) of the shoreline of

Kingsley Lake.3

The National Guard Officers Association of Florida

recommended that the Armory Board name the facility "Camp

Albert H. Blanding" in honor of LTG Albert Hazen Blanding.

General Blanding, born in Lyons, Iowa, on 9 November 1876,

moved to Florida in 1878. He graduated at the head of his

class from the East Florida Seminary (now the University of

Florida) in 1894. He joined the Gainesville Guards, Florida

State Troops, in 1895, and served as an enlisted man until

the unit's disbandment prior to the Spanish-American War.

He was commissioned a Captain in the Florida National Guard

in September, 1899, and was assigned as Regimental Adjutant,



2














2d Florida Infantry. He was promoted to Major in 1906,

Lieutenant Colonel in 1908, and Colonel in 1909. He was

commander of the 2d Florida Infantry during its period of

Mexican border service, June, 1916, to March, 1917. He was

mustered into Federal service in August, 1917, and was ap-

pointed a Brigadier General by President Woodrow Wilson.

lie saw action in World War I, and commanded the 53d Brigade,

27th Infantry Division. He returned to the United States in

1919, and on 15 October 1924 assumed command of tie 31st

Infantry Division, Florida National Guard, and was promoted

to Major General. He was appointed by President Franklin

D. Roosevelt to be Chief of the National Guard Bureau in

January, 1936, and held that office until January, 1940,

while retaining command of the 31st Infantry Division. He

retired on 9 November 1940, and was promoted to Lieutenant

General, Retired.4 He died at his home in Bartow, Florida,

on 26 December 1970.5

Construction was begun on an installation suitable

for accommodating one brigade shortly after the purchase of

the Camp Blanding site.6 The facilities consisted of two

regimental headquarters buildings facing opposite sides of

a parade field, and behind each headquarters building a row

of administrative buildings, mess halls and latrines.

The plan was to house virtually all of the Summer camp

troops in tents near the buildings.7 Construction also was

begun on an officers club overlooking Kingsley Lake. The

club was named Cooper Hall in honor of then CPT Ralph W.

Cooper, who, as State Quartermaster, supervised construction



3
















of the initial facilities at Camp Blanding. (CPT Cooper

would later retire as a Brigadier General.) As fate would

have it, the World War II mobilization brought federal

troops to Camp Blanding before the officers club was ready

for occupancy, and the Florida National Guard officers who

designed and built Cooper Hall were not allowed to use it

until after the war. (Cooper Hall was to become the officers

club for the station complement--primarily the doctors and

nurses at the Camp Blanding station hospital. Other offi-

cers assigned to the post would use other clubs.)

As American entry into World War II became imminent,

Camp Blanding was federalized, and its population and util-

ization mushroomed to a degree never anticipated a scant

year-and-a-half earlier when the initial property was pur-

chased.














Section III: The War Years

Pearl Harbor Day was just over a year away when the

federal government took over Camp Blanding to begin convert-

ing it from a modest National Guard training site to a

sprawling Army training center. The first major unit to be

mobilized and stationed at Camp Blanding was the 31st Div-

ision, nicknamed the "Dixie Darlings," which had troops

throughout the Gulf coast states from Florida to Texas.

The 31st was called into active duty on 25 November 1940,

and began setting up a tent city that would house the troops

prior to the major construction phase.9 Arriving on the

heels of the 31st Division was the 43rd Division, which drew

its manpower from the New England states. (The 43rd, like

other units mobilized during the years immediately preceding

American involvement in World War II, was called to duty

for a year's training.) An immediate rivalry developed be-

tween the two divisions--one manned by Yankees, the other

from the heart of Dixie--and the post parade field (now the

airfield) was bisected by an imaginary Mason-Dixon Line

which extended throughout the training area.10

Soon after the federalization of Camp Blanding, the

Army bought an additional 40,000 acres and leased 100,000

more, expanding Camp Blanding from its original 30,000 acres

to 170,000.11 With that acreage, Camp Blanding claimed the

distinction of being the second largest training camp in the

country. Starting from the modest construction effort that

the state Armory Board had begun in 1939, the War Department

in 1941 embarked on a construction program which would grow

5














to some 10,000 buildings serving 100,000 troops. Construc-

tion contracts were written on a "cost plus" basis as an

incentive to speed, even at the expense of economy. Among

the earliest buildings constructed under War Department

jurisdiction were a row of wooden structures which housed

a 3,000-bed station hospital. This development was built

just off Kingsley Lake, between the lakeshore and what is

now known as Avenue A. The hospital, like most of the

construction which was to follow, was designed to have a

useful life of five years (a prophetic projection which

would prove far more accurate than the one on which the one-

year mobilization orders were based). Other early construc-

tion priorities went to headquarters buildings and ware-

houses.12 It was not until nid-1942 that construction of

troop housing began in earnest, and by this time there

were some 60,000 troops on post. The troop housing was

completed within a year.13 In addition to the basic bar-

racks buildings for the troops, there were more lavish

quarters for General officers. The post commander's home,

overlooking Kingsley Lake, is a two-story building which

still exists, and is designated as Quarters 1. It stood

adjacent to the post headquarters. (Quarters 1 was to be-

come the home of the Florida National Guard Director of

Maintenance after the war, and today is reserved for the

use of the Adjutant General and his guests.) There also

were eight generals' quarters overlooking the parade field.

(Two of these were relocated to lakefront sites after the

war, and are designated Quarters 2 and 3.. They are used
6















for housing senior officers during Annual Training periods,

and are available for use by other Guardsmen during the

rest of the year. The other six generals' quarters also

were retained after the war, but since have been razed.)14

Other major buildings included two large division officers'

clubs, also overlooking the lake. One of these (the 31st

Division's) was retained after the war and converted into

an enlisted men's club.15 It was destroyed by fire in Decem-

ber, 1976.16

With the exception of these major facilities, most

of Camp Blanding was developed in two segments on opposite

sides of the "Mason-Dixon Line," each a mirror image of the

other.17 The basic organization for construction purposes

was the regiment, and each regiment (four per division at

the time of mobilization, later reduced to three per divi-

sion) had its own regimental theater. Each division had a

large enlisted men's club.18 On the periphery of the divi-

sion areas were artillery units and combat service support

elements, some carrying the parenthetical designation (COL.)

which indicated "colored" units in a still segregated Army.19

The post was laid out with four major avenues--arcs

concentric with the shoreline of Kingsley Lake--each named

for one of the states whose troops were stationed on post.

These streets (beginning nearest the lake and moving out)

were Alabama, Connecticut, Florida and Maine avenues.

(They since have been redesignated Avenues A through D, re-

spectively.) The connecting streets between the four major

avenues were named for cities and regions represented by the
7















troops. Among them were names such as New England, Provi-

dence, Brunswick, Waterbury, Tampa, Vicksburg, Meridian

and New Orleans streets.20 (Most of these streets were

renamed after the war for Florida cities and counties.)

During the period of major development, construction

crews overwhelmed the area. State Road 16 from Starke (the

nearest town) to Camp Blanding was nine feet wide, and

traffic was bumper to bumper for the entire 10 miles which

separated the post from the community. The trip typically

took 30 to 60 minutes. Honkytonks abounded, and a small

community of temporary housing, clip joints and prostitutes,

called Boomtown, grew up just outside the Camp Blanding

gate. Much of Boomtown's housing consisted of small trail-

ers and even packing crates, desperation housing occupied

by construction workers who chose to avoid the congestion

on State Road 16 at any cost.21 Some of them froze to death

in the Winter months.22

After undergoing its initial training, the 31st

Division was stripped of its initial complement of troops

and functioned as cadre for three cycles of trainees before

being redeployed. This training concept evolved into con-

version of Camp Blanding into an Infantry Replacement Train-

ing Center around 1943, and Camp Blanding's mission became

training of filler personnel for American Forces.23 A map

bearing the initials IRTC (for Infantry Replacement Training

Center) shows 11 regiments--the 60th through the 70th--sug-.

gesting that this may have been the troop structure when

Camp Blanding reached its peak strength of 100,000 troops.
8













Facilities shown on that map (in addition to those already

mentioned) include the guest house, civilian dormitories,

a Red Cross office, a post office, a railroad ticket office

and a bus depot and ticket office.24

In the later war years, a small part of'Camp Bland-

ing was used to hold German and Italian prisoners of war.25

A small PW cemetery was established. The remains of the

half dozen or so prisoners buried there were disinterred

after the war and shipped to Fort Benning, GA.26

Then, even as now, construction of highways trailed

years behind the developments they were designed to serve.

A four-lane road, State Road 230, was partially completed

when the war ended.27 Today, State Road 230 is a two-lane

highway leading to Camp Blanding's West Gate, but there is

a cleared right-of-way for the other two lanes, with

bridges and culverts in place. Plans to pave the other two

lanes were abandoned at the war's end, but the bridges and

culverts remain as a reminder of the traffic that once

moved in and out of a training post of 100,000 troops.

Following the war, Camp Blanding was used for a li-

mited time as a separation center as the federalized period

of the post's history drew to a close. The original 30,000

acres was returned to state control. The state asked for

and received title to some of the improvements built during

the war years in lieu of restoration of the property to the

original, undeveloped condition. Among these were the road

system, the sewer system and part of the water works, the

31st Division officers' club (to become the enlisted men's
9
















club), the cold storage warehouses (which were among the

few masonry structures built by the War Department), the

field house (it was converted into a Post, Camp or Station

warehouse and was later destroyed by fire in 1977), some

wooden warehouses (since razed by the state), the generals'

quarters, and maintenance shops.28

The remainder of the buildings--the vast majority

.of what was built during the war years--was disposed of by

the Army Camp Wrecking Corporation. The dismantling of the

war years' construction began in mid-1945, and took five

years--longer than the construction phase. Many of the

buildings were sold intact and moved to other locations.

Some of the hospital buildings were cut into two or'three

sections, with each section being remodeled for residential

use. Many of the houses in Clay and Bradford counties today

came.from the Army Camp Wrecking Corporation's disposal

operations. One St. Augustine motel was created from sal-

vaged Camp Blanding buildings. Still other buildings were

razed and their lumber sold for salvage value.29

The 100,000 acres of leased land was returned to the

owners, and the federal government retained the 40,000

acres it had purchased. The war was over, most of the post

was dismantled, and Camp Blanding went into a period of

relative dormancy, compared to the bustling pace of the war

years.30






10














Section IV: The Post-War Years

As the state once again took over operation of Camp
Blanding after the war, the role of the post in support of

the Florida National Guard became primarily logistical. The

development of Camp Blanding as an Annual Training site--the

purpose for which the acreage was purchased in 1939--was

postponed indefinitely, and about the only training that

took place on post was marksmanship qualification and an oc-

casional command post exercise.31 The Summer encampments in

the post-war years were held at Fort McClellan, Ala., Camp

(now Fort) Jackson, S. C., and Fort Stewart, Ga. Vehicles

and equipment salvaged from the war effort were assigned to

the Florida National Guard by way of Camp Blanding,-where

they were rehabilitated and then issued to troop units.32

Logistical operations at Camp Blanding included establish-

ment of the U. S. Property and Disbursing Office (now the

U. S. Property and Fiscal Office, or USPFO), development of

a Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS), and formation of

a Mobilization and Training Equipment Shop (MATES).33 The

USP6FO, which operates under the Directorate of Supply and

Services, receives, stores and issues federal property and

supplies. The CSMS performs higher echelons of maintenance

for federal equipment assigned to units throughout the state.

The MATES stocks and maintains various weapons and vehicles

used by units which train at Camp Blanding, primarily the

M-42 track-mounted 40-millimeter Air Defense Artillery

weapons.3

Camp Blanding got a major economic boost when large

11















deposits of commercially mineable ilmenite were discovered

on the western edge of the Camp Blanding property around

1947. The Armory Board entered into a long-term contract

with E. I. duPont deNemours and Company for the mining of

this mineral, which is used in paint pigments. Prior to

the discovery of ilmenite on the Camp Blanding property, the

South Pacific was the only commercial source for the min-

eral. The royalties which the state receives for the il-

menite are tied to the market price and to the Consumer

Price Index. The company has instituted a program of cov-

ering its mined-over land with a layer of topsoil, and the

acreage now supports grass and trees.35

Camp Blanding got another big break during the Kor-

ean Conflict build-up, when the federal government, antici-

pating the possibility of federalizing the post once again,

spent $3 million to put in a new water system. The project

involved drilling new wells, installing additional pumps,

and putting in 300 fire hydrants. Camp Blanding was not

needed 'for training of troops for Korea after all, and the

water system improvements have proved to be a major asset to

the post.36

During his tour as Adjutant General, MG Mark W.

Lance persuaded U. S. Sen. Spessard L. Holland (D, Fla.) to

sponsor federal legislation to deed to the state the 40,000

acres of land that had been purchased during the World War

II build-up.37 That legislation was approved on 14 July 1954

as Public Law 493. PL 493 conveys to the Armory Board

40,145.51acres of land, and acknowledges 30,234.25 acres

12















(the original Camp Blanding purchase) to be state land. The

conveyance reserves to the federal government the right to

take over Camp Blanding again in the event of national

emergency. It recognizes the duPont lease, and requires

the state to operate a forest management program, reserving

to the state the option to sell timber and mineral rights

but requiring the revenues to be used for the benefit of

Camp Blanding.38

Ranges on Camp Blanding, some retained from the war

years, others developed by the state since then, include

7.62 millimeter, .30 and .45 caliber small arms ranges; ma-

chine gun, rocket launcher, 106-millimeter recoilless rifle;

81-millimeter and 4.2-inch mortar ranges; sub-caliber tank

ranges; an aviation assault range; a demolitions and explo-

sives range; an antiaircraft artillery range for the 40-

millimeter weapons; and a Navy and Air Force gunnery and

bombing target area.39 The ranges for the 40-millimeter

antiaircraft weapons include both direct fire and aerial

fire targets, the latter being Radio Controlled Aircraft

Targets.40

A new activity was created at Camp Blanding during

the post-war years with the establishment of the Florida

National Guard Officers Candidate School in March of 1961.

Class No. 1 was commissioned in 1962. (On 1 September 1975,

a Noncommissioned Officer School was added, and the OCS and

NCO programs were brought together to create the Florida

National Guard Military Academy.)41

A jungle warfare training center for the training

13















use of the 20th Special Forces Group (Abn), First Special

Forces, was established late in 1964. Its facilities in-

clude a rappelling and jump tower and a small drop zone.42

Little by little, Camp Blanding was reestablishing
the importance which Camp Foster once had occupied as a

Florida National Guard training facility, but it was not

until 1967 that Florida was once again to have its own

full-fledged Annual Training site. It happened all of a

sudden.















Section V: The Rebirth

The advance detachment for Annual Field Training of

1967 already had arrived at Fort Stewart, Ga., to prepare

for the arrival of the Florida National Guard when Governor

Claude R. Kirk ordered the Guard to spend its encampment at

Camp Blanding. Civil disturbances were becoming increasing-

ly common during the "long hot Summer" of 1967, and Gover-

nor Kirk said he wanted the Guard (in its capacity as the

state militia) close at hand in the event of riots in Flor-

ida. The precaution proved to be unnecessary, but the di-

version of the Guard from Fort Stewart to Camp Blanding

sparked the rebirth of Camp Blanding as the Florida National

Guard's primary training site.43

During that first major encampment, most troops

were housed in squad (General Purpose, Medium) tents on

land from which basic trainee housing had been cleared two

decades earlier. These battalion-sized areas were designa-

ted as Administrative Bivouac Areas A through E plus the

company-sized Avco area adjacent to the airfield. A deci-

sion was made to continue holding Florida National Guard

encampments at Camp Blanding (with the exception of Field

Artillery units, for which there were no adequate ranges,

and various specialized units, which needed facilities not

available at Camp Blanding), and a five-year development

plan was begun under the leadership of MG Henry W. McMillan,

The Adjutant General. The primary thrust of the five-year

plan was construction of permanent troop housing for a five-

battalion brigade. Administrative Bivouac Areas A 'through

15
















E and the Avco area were selected as the sites for the per-

manent housing. Areas A through E were designed to accommo-

date a battalion each, with a battalion headquarters faci-

lity, company headquarters, supply and mess hall buildings,

and barracks and latrines. The Avco area was designed to

accommodate anaviation company (though the TOSE of the avia-

tion company has since been expanded). A number of addition-

al barracks buildings were built in the cantonment area,

behind the rows of buildings which were originally intended

to be regimental headquarters areas. Another major element

of the five-year plan was construction of a dispensary with

an emergency room, several examining rooms, a ward, a phar-

macy and doctors' offices. Behind the dispensary is a

lighted concrete helipad for emergency medical evacuation.

All the new construction is of concrete block. Permanent

barracks facilities on Camp Blanding now have a capacity of

approximately 5,000 persons. The cost of the five-year plan

construction was approximately $6.5 million.44

'Another major facility on Camp Blanding came as the

result of a gift. President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the

Green Cove Springs Nava? Station deactivated, and the proper-

ty was sold to Reynolds Aluminum for use as an industrial

park. COL James M. Gilchrist, Jr., then state Quartermaster,

went to the corporation's leadership and proposed that the

chapel be given to Camp Blanding and named Reynolds Chapel.

His proposal was approved, and the building was cut into

three sections, moved to Camp Blanding, and reassembled.

The chapel has three altars on a turntable, each designed

16
















for the use of a different religious faith. The building

is designed so that two services can be conducted simulta-

neously--one at each end of the building--each congregation

facing the altar appropriate to its faith. The chapel also

has chaplains' offices and an external public address sys-

tem. The Army Chief of Chaplains was invited to visit Rey-

nolds Chapel in the hope that he could be persuaded to pro-

vide some simple furnishings for the vacant building. In-

stead, he was so impressed that he furnished first class

pews, carpeting and draperies, and the air conditioned

chapel is now a showplace of Camp Blanding. The chapel has

been used for several Florida National Guard weddings, and

worship services are held in it at both Annual Traihing and

weekend training assemblies.45

Camp Blanding suffered two setbacks in its redevel-

opment when fire destroyed two of the major buildings which

had been salvaged from the World War II era. The first was

the old field house, which had been converted for use as

Post, Camp or Station Warehouse 1. The massive frame

building and its contents were destroyed in October of 1977.

The building was replaced with a modern warehouse built

with funds from the state fire insurance trust fund at a

cost of approximately $500,000.46 The enlisted men's club,

which was built as the 31st Division officers' club, burned

to the ground in December of 1978. Though it was insured

with the state, it was carried on the books at its depre-

ciated value, as required by state law, and insurance pro-

ceeds cannot pay for a building the size of the one which
17















burned. At this writing, plans are to replace the club, but

details as to location and size of the new facility have not

been decided. For the 1979 Annual Training encampments, a
temporary Service Club was operated in one of the Adminis- '

trative Bivouac areas by the Army-Air Force Exchange Serv-

ice. The officers' club, Cooper Hall, has proven to be a

problem to operate, and a succession of concessionaires

have been unable to make a financial success of the club.

Attempts to operate the club under National Guard management

also have been unprofitable. At this writing, the club is

closed temporarily.47

The post exchange operation has been more successful.

During the first encampment in 1967, the post exchange

was operated as a small, makeshift facility, but the opera-

tion has been moved into a masonry building which served

as a post exchange for the Infantry Replacement Training

Center during World War II, and a full-fledged facility is

operated during major Annual Training periods by the Army-

Air Force Exchange Service as a branch of the Patrick Air

Force Base Exchange.48

The only major construction project still in the
works (aside from replacement of the enlisted men's club) is

a 44,611-square foot armory. That building, tentatively

scheduled for occupancy in 1982, will accommodate eight per-

manent party units, including the Command and Control Head-

quarters, the Annual Training Site Headquarters, and the

653rd Engineer Detachment. The latter unit functions as

post engineer. The budget for the new armory is $2',430,000,

18














of which $1,100,000 will be state funds and the remainder

federal funds.49 -

While Camp Blanding's primary use is for military

training, the post also serves several other important pur-

poses. Much of Camp Blanding is operated as a game manage-

ment area under agreement between the Armory Board and the

Florida Department of Natural Resources. A resident game

manager operates the program. Access to and use of wild-

life areas is regulated by the Florida Game and Fresh Water

Fish Commission. A forester hired by the Armory Board op-

erates a forest management program, and some of the timber

planted by the forester is now being harvested. The revenues

from sale of timber are used to help maintain Camp Blanding.

The post is available for recreational use by National Guards-

men and their families, and facilities include a civilian

camping area and a number of air conditioned mobile homes

and quonset huts. Other non-military uses, in addition to

the duPont mineral operations, include operation of a 100-

acre Clay county landfill and operation of a Girl Scout camp

along a half-mile of Kingsley Lake frontage by the Gateway

Girl Scout Council.50

Though Camp Blanding is a state-owned military faci-

lity, it is operated without state-appropriated funds. Fed-

eral funding, except for capital expenditures, is limited

to a training site contract, funded primarily by a per diem

reimbursement to the state for use of the post for military

training. The post complement handles most maintenance and

utilities responsibilities, including operation of a water

19















distribution system, a sewage treatment plant, and an elec-

trical distribution system fed from a state-owned substa-

tion.51 Major funding sources for 1978 were $269,000 in

mining royalties, $375,000 from sale of timber, and $197,000

in federal funding for training site employees. Other reve-

nue sources in a budget which comes to a little less than

$1 million a year include camping and billeting fees, rental

fees and utilities charges from on-post housing occupied by

permanent employees, concessionaire revenues, and interest.52

Camp Blanding's military use is not limited to the

Florida National Guard-and the nearby Air Force and Navy

units which use its gunnery and bombing ranges. The 1979

Annual Training schedule for Camp Blanding includes-six

major encampments, bringing to the post National Guard, Uni-

ted States Army Reserve and United States Marine Corps Re-

serve elements from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Ala-

bama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin

Islands, plus a company of infantrymen from Scotland.53

SFrom its inception as a modest National Guard Summer

camp site in 1939 to its burgeoning development as a World
War II training post to its post-war dormancy and its rebirth

as a major National Guard training facility, Camp Blanding

has served the military needs of the nation in war and peace

for two generations.








20














Notes
1Interview with LTC William T. Carcaba, State Quar-
termaster designee, Florida National Guard, 2 May 1979.

2Florida National Guard Regulation 3-1, Camp Bland-
ing Regulations, 10 April 1968, C. 4, 15 January 1969, p. 2.

3Carcaba interview.

4FNGR 3-1, Camp Blanding Regulations, p. 3-4.

5The Polk County Democrat, (Bartow, Fla.), 28 Decem-
ber 1970.

6FNGR 3-1, Camp Blanding Regulations, p. 2.

7Carcaba interview.

8Interview with COL (Ret.) James A. Griffin, former
Director of Maintenance, Florida National Guard, 4 May 1979.
COL Griffin enlisted in the horse-drawn artillery in 1930,
and was a Staff Sergeant in Battery D, 2d Battalion, 116th
A-tillery, in Lakeland, Fla., when the battalion was mo-
bilized as a part of the 31st Division, on 25 November 1940.
On mobilization, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
2LT Griffin arrived at Camp Blanding on 19 December 1940.
Following World War II, he returned to Florida National
Guard status, and was appointed Director of Maintenance on
1 September 1947. He lived at Cooper Hall for six months,
then moved into Quarters 1, which had been the Post Com-
mander's quarters during the war years. He lived there for
23 years, and thus witnessed both the post-war dismantling
and the "re-birth" of Camp Blanding.

9Griffin interview.

10Interview with COL (Ret.) Raymond C.. Ransom, for-
mer Director of Training, Florida National Guard, 2 May 1979.
COL Ransom was mobilized as a Corporal in the Connecticut
National Guard, and arrived at Camp Blanding in November,
1940, as part of the advance detachment of the 43rd Division.
After the war, he joined the Florida National Guard, and
retired as Director of Training at the State Arsenal in
St. Augustine.

11Carcaba interview.
12Griffin interview.

13Ransom interview.

14Griffin interview.

15Ransom interview.

21















16Carcaba interview.

17Information taken from a 1941 aerial photo of
Camp Blanding, annotated to show units then on post, and
amplification by COL Ransom.
18Ransom interview.

191941 aerial photo.

20Information from an undated map bearing the in-
scription "IRTC" (for Infantry Replacement Training Center),
drawn by Sgt. Don Griffin. This appears to be a map given
to new arrivals at Camp Blanding, perhaps as part of an
orientation packet. Estimated date of preparation: 1943.
21Griffin interview.

22Interview with Mr. Gerald D. Griffis, superin-
tendent of Camp Blanding, 2 May 1979. Mr. Griffis has been
a civilian employee of Camp Blanding for 28 years, and
prior to that, was employed by the Army Camp Wrecking Cor-
poration, which dismantled most of the Camp Blanding build-
ings following World War II.
23Griffin interview.

24IRTC map.

25Griffis interview.

26Carcaba interview.

27Griffin interview.

28Carcaba interview.

29Griffis interview.

30Carcaba interview.

31Interview with COL Frank M. Persons, Director of
Administration, Florida National Guard, 2 May 1979.
32Griffin interview.

33Carcaba interview.

34Kennedy C. Bullard, Major General, The Adjutant
General, Report of The Adjutant General of the State of
Florida, 1978 (St. Augustine, Fla.: Department of Military
Affairs, 30 September 1978), p. 5-6.

35Carcaba interview.

22

















36Griffin interview.

37Carcaba interview.

38U.S., Congress, An Act To provide for the convey-
ance of the federally owned lands which are situated within
Camp Blanding Military Reservation, Florida? to the Armory
Board, State of Florida, in order to consolidate ownership
and perpetuate the availability of Camp Blanding for mili-
tary training and use, Public Law 493, 83d Cong., 2d Sess.,
1954, p. 1-3.

39Bullard, p. 5.

40Carcaba interview.

41Carcaba interview.
42FNGR 3-1, Camp Blanding Regulations, p. 7.

43Persons interview.

4*Carcaba interview.

45Carcaba interview.

46Bullard, p. 6.

47Carcaba interview.

48Carcaba interview.

49Carcaba interview.

50Carcaba interview.

51Carcaba interview.

52Florida, Legislature, Legislative Budget, 1979-81.

53Florida, Department of Military Affairs, Circular
350-2, 9 February 1979.













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