Historic Camp Claiborne, Louisiana

Remembering the sacrifice

12.03. USE IMG_2713A new book published by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station richly illustrates the legacy of Camp Claiborne, a military site established on the Kisatchie National Forest during World War II.  SRS emeritus scientist Jim Barnett wrote the book with co-authors Kisatchie deputy district ranger Douglas Rhodes and district ranger Lisa Lewis.

In 1939, two years before the United States officially entered World War II, there were a total of 175,000 soldiers in the U.S. Army. By 1940, with the war in Europe intensifying, U.S. Army troops had grown to 1,400,000. To meet the need for additional training facilities, the U.S. Army chose a site in the Kisatchie just north of the town of Forest Hill, Louisiana, to build a military training camp. They began constructing Camp Claiborne on the site in 1940.

Named in honor of Governor William C.C. Claiborne, the camp served as the main training camp for soldiers who were deployed to Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific. During its brief six-year existence from 1941 to 1946, over 500,000 soldiers trained there. Many military divisions made famous by combat trained at Camp Claiborne including the 34th and 82nd Infantry, and the 82nd and 101st Airborne. The 761st Tank Battalion, made up primarily of African-American soldiers, also trained at Camp Claiborne.

Camp Claiborne was closed in 1946 after the end of World War II, and the site returned to the Kisatchie National Forest in 1947.

Access the full text of the publication.

For more information, email Jim Barnett at jpbarnett@fs.fed.us

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