5629 SR 16 W
Starke, FL 32091
5629 SR 16 W. BLD. #3040 Camp Blanding
Starke, FL 32091
|Daily ||12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.|
Free - donations are accepted
Free. Donations Accepted.
Gregory Parsons, Curator
Jim Hughes, Assistant Curator
Main entrance Camp Blanding Museum.
Camp Blanding was a major U.S. Army training facility during the Second World War. It was originally established as a state-owned training reservation in 1939 for the Florida National Guard. However, as war clouds materialized, the mobilization of reserve forces and the rapid expansion of the entire United States Army required Camp Blanding to be converted to a federal reservation. It was subsequently enlarged to house two complete infantry divisions along with many separate units.
Prior to turning Camp Blanding into an Infantry Replacement Center (IRTC) in 1943, dozens and dozens of army formations comprising hundreds of thousands of troops trained at Camp Blanding. Included were formations of Infantry, Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, Field Artillery, Engineer, Medical and other specialist troops. Nine entire Infantry Divisions trained at Camp Blanding:
1st ID (Big Red One), 29th ID (Blue & Gray), 30th ID (Old Hickory), 31st ID (Dixie), 36th ID (Texas), 43rd ID (Winged Victory), 63rd ID (Blood and Fire), 66th ID (Panther) and the 79th ID (Cross of Lorainne).
For most of 1944 and 1945, a very large percentage of the individuals sent to replenish the ranks of America’s combat infantry formations trained at the Camp’s IRTC. In Addition, the Camp was the site of a 2800-bed hospital, a German Prisoner of War Compound and at the war’s end, a Separation Center.
Following the war, Camp Blanding reverted to state control, and today is a Joint Training Site for the National Guard and other Reserve Components and some Active Component training.
Establish and operate a public facility dedicated to individuals and units of the US Army in memory of their World War II service. The museum will collect, preserve exhibit, display and account for all objects and artifacts related to the history, heritage and traditions of Camp Blanding the Florida National Guard, individuals and units that trained at Camp Blanding and their global campaigns. Amended with memorial park expansion commemorating Korea, Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia Conflicts.
THAT TRAINED AT CAMP BLANDING, FLORIDA
1st Infantry Division,
31st Infantry Division,
63rd Infantry Division,
29th Infantry Division,
36th Infantry Division,
66th Infantry Division,
30th Infantry Division,
43rd Infantry Division,
79th Infantry Division.
INFANTRY REGIMENTS (Separate):
91st Infantry 156th Infantry
102nd Infantry, 508th Parachute Infantry,
124th Infantry (Separate) (I).
TANK DESTROYER BATTALIONS:
631st Tank Destroyer Bn,
643rd Tank Destroyer Bn,
744th Tank Destroyer Bn.
FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE (Separate):
74th Field Artillery Brigade.
FIELD ARTILLERY GROUPS:
141ST FA GROUP (Motorized),
166th FA Group (Motorized).
FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENTS:
166th Field Artillery (155MM Howitzer),
179th Field Artillery (155MM Howitzer),
192nd Field Artillery ((155MM Howitzer).
THE GERMAN PRISONER OF WAR FACILITY
CAMP BLANDING, FLORIDA
During World War II, 378,000 Prisoners of War were incarcerated in the United States. Their odyssey took them from the deserts of northern Africa, the mountains of central Italy and the hedgerows of Normandy to POW Camps located in 45 states. In Florida, Camp Blanding was the main POW base where 4,000 prisoners were administered.
At first, there were a number of enemy aliens who were confined in Camp Blanding only for a short time. As a POW Compound, it contained both a navy and army compound which could hold up to 1200 prisoners. There were also nearly 3,000 men incarcerated in eleven, later fifteen branch camps, and each holding about 250 to 300 men.
The first group of fourteen U-Boat (submarine) arrived on September 24, 1942. The Camp Blanding navy compound was one of four in the United States. German army prisoners did not arrive until November 1943.
Housing in the compounds consisted of simple wooden, sixteen feet by sixteen feet, victory type hutments and mess halls, similar to those that had been built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
In 1944, several branch camps were established to provide POW labor for private industries whose own work forces had been depleted by the draft. The Geneva Convention allowed only privates to do such work, and they had to be supervised by their own non-commissioned officers.
The United States Government realized 25 million dollars from the labor of German prisoners through its policy of paying them 80 cents a day in canteen checks while receiving payment at prevailing labor wage rates.
When starting in 1946, the German prisoners were repatriated, the POW camp was closed. In later years, several of its sites were marked and are being maintained as Historical Sites. One of these sites is a small cemetery where seven POWs had been buried. Their remains were later exhumed and laid to rest in the Fort Benning, Georgia, National Military Cemetery.
Florida Dept Military Affairs
Access: General Public, Students, Scholars
Appointment required: Yes
We are a ADA compliant facility. We have wheelchairs avaliable for use if needed.
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