Does the Army have anything against Florida? The Army does have a footprint in the state, but when it comes to Army bases in Florida, there’s just one Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, located in Starke, Florida.

What Is the Difference Between Forts and Camps?

Forts and are permanent bases with barracks, facilities, chow halls, with tenant units assigned to them. On the other hand, camps are generally temporary, even though they may have been used for decades. A camp normally is a place where units will visit and stay for training and when training is complete, they will return to their normal duty station.

However, the Marine Corps calls their permanent bases “Camps,” which could lead to some confusion among civilians. 

During the WWII buildup of full Marine Divisions, the Corps required large divisional training and maneuver areas, so Marine Corps Camps were established on both coasts. After the war, Marine Divisions were made a permanent force structure. So the wartime Marine Corps Camps were still needed and became permanent installations. Yet, the Corps decided to retain the “Camp” designation.

Camp Blanding and German POWs in Florida

German POWs were held at Camp Blanding in Florida.
The crew of the German submarine in captivity on U.S. soil. The vessel was destroyed in action off the Canary Islands in 1943. (WikiCommons)

Camp Blanding has been around since World War II. Infantry, Tank Destroyer, Engineer, Field Artillery, and Medical units trained there prior to deployment in Europe or the Pacific.

Nine entire divisions were trained at Camp Blanding: 1st Infantry Division (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).

The camp had a large 2,800-bed hospital during the war (it afterward became a separation center.) Camp Blanding also housed German POWs.

Following WWII, the camp was transferred to the state of Florida’s control. It is now used as a training facility, mainly for Army Reserve and National Guard troops, although troops from all of the services have used the base.