Remembering the sacrifice: historic Camp Claiborne, Louisiana
In 1940, construction began on numerous military installations in central Louisiana that would train millions of young men and women entering the U.S. Army for service during World War II. Over 500,000 troops trained at Camp Claiborne alone during its 6 years of existence. The area was selected because of availability of Federal land from the Kisatchie National Forest, access of about 3,400 square miles of land for maneuvers through cost-free agreements with private landowners, and open conditions that favored deployment of men and equipment for training purposes. Camp Claiborne became the largest of these installations. Although it was designed for about 30,000 troops, it was enlarged by another 20,000 by the addition of the Engineer Unit Training Center that was developed in West Camp Claiborne. Claiborne became the third largest city in Louisiana at the time. Many of the units which trained there became the most decorated during World War II and suffered heavy casualties in combat around the world. It is now 75 years after the establishment of Camp Claiborne. We need to continue to remember the sacrifices of all those who served with dedication, commitment, and valor.