Discover Florida’s Historic Camp Blanding Museum

November 23rd, 2018 by Corey A Edwards

Camp Blanding Museum  and Memorial ParkCamp Blanding was a major U.S. Army training facility during WWII. Now it is a fascinating military museum right here in Starke – the Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park.

Camp Blanding opened in 1939 as a state-owned, Florida National Guard training facility. When World War II broke out, however, Camp Blanding was enlarged and converted to a federal reserve.

Hundreds of thousands of troops trained at Camp Blanding during WWII. Infantry, Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, Field Artillery, Engineer, Medical, and other specialist troops trained here. Nine full Infantry Divisions trained here, as well, including the 1st ID – more famously referred to as The Big Red One.

Camp Blanding served as an Infantry Replacement Center for most of 1944 and 1945. A large percentage of the soldiers who replenished combat infantry ranks during WWII trained here. The Camp was also home to a 2800-bed hospital and a German POW Compound. Near the end of WWII, it also served as a Separation Center.

After the big war ended, Camp Blanding once again reverted to state control. Today, the facility serves as a Joint Training Site for the National Guard and other Reserve forces, along with providing some active duty troop training.

Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park

Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park is housed in a WWII era barracks located just outside the main gate of Camp Blanding. Visitors will immediately notice the collection of WWII era armament outside. There’s an M4 Sherman Tank, an M3 Half-Track, and an M16 Half-Track!

Inside you’ll find exhibits filled with artifacts, photographs, weaponry, and uniforms. You’ll see exhibits about German prisoners of war held here, and another containing an entire military Jeep! Founded in 1990, the museum’s mission is to collect artifacts and materials related to the history of the camp and the veterans and units that came through here.

Outside, in the Memorial Park, you’ll find monuments honoring the Army Infantry Divisions and the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment who trained here. Other monuments honor recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Purple Hear,t and former Prisoners of War. The park also contains the Florida Regimental Memorial, dedicated to the service and memory of Florida National Guardsmen.

The facility offers a fascinating look at our country’s military history. Stop by for a visit and take a moment to remember and honor those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park
5629 SR 16 West, Building 3040, Starke, Florida 32091
Open daily, Noon to 4pm (Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas)

North Florida Lodging

Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast, a North Florida lakefront B&B, is only 20 minutes drive from Camp Blanding, yet is located on the shores of a beautiful, natural cypress lake. In fact, our convenient location is just 14 miles from Gainesville Regional Airport and just a little over 20 from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, home of the Gators. Come enjoy all manner of recreating and relaxing on 180 feet of cool, spring-fed lake waterfront with dock – and just wait until you see our spectacular sunsets! Book your Florida getaway at Hampton Lake Bed & Breakfast, now!

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