Camp Blanding (1939-Active) - A World War II era training Camp initially established as a Florida National Guard camp in 1939 on the shore of Kingsley Lake near Starke in Clay County, Florida. Named Camp Blanding after General Albert H. Blanding. Active Florida National Guard Post.
Camp Blanding was established as the result of the US Navy's desire to establish a seaplane base on the banks of the St. Johns River, south of Jacksonville. That site was then the location of the Florida National Guard's Camp Clifford R. Foster. In mid-1939 the state selected a tract of 30,000 acres in Clay County as a replacement National Guard camp that became Camp Blanding.
In 1940, Camp Blanding was leased to the U.S. Army as an active duty training center. The post was originally used to prepare troops for deployment overseas. Later in the war, Camp Blanding served as an infantry replacement training center, an induction center, a prisoner of war compound, and a separation center. Camp Blanding eventually sprawled over more than 170,000 acres. From 1940 to 1945, more than 800,000 soldiers received training here.
After the war, 30,000 acres were returned to the state and by 1948 most of the buildings were sold or moved off the post. In the early 1950s, the Federal Government deeded additional land to the state for use as a National Guard training facility, but until 1970, the post saw only limited use by the military.
In the 1970s, an expansion program began upgrading post facilities and in 1981, the federal government redesignated Camp Blanding as a Class A military installation.
Camp Blanding is an active 73,000 square acre National Guard training Post near Starke, Florida. Training is conducted year-round to meet the training needs of tens of thousands of National Guardsmen, Active Army, and Reserves from all over the United States.
Weapons ranges include some 55 firing ranges and the training areas include three Major Maneuver Areas with a total of 55,000 plus acres.
Visited: 19 Aug 2021