During the course of World War II,
perhaps as many as 800,000 servicemen passed through Camp Blanding. Located near Starke in northeast Florida, Camp Blanding trained more men than any other training facility in the state. Many units and individuals who helped win the war against Germany, Italy, and Japan learned tactics in Camp Blanding's swamps and piney woods.
In the late 1930s, the State Armory Board selected a new training site for the Florida National Guard in Clay County. It consisted of some 30,000 acres and was named after Major General Albert Blanding. Initial construction at the site began in 1939 with facilities built to accommodate several thousand troops. This increased dramatically in 1940-1941 with the mobilization of the National Guard. The government purchased or leased 140,000 additional acres, making Camp Blanding one of the largest facilities of its kind. During the war, nine infantry divisions and a variety of other units trained here.
During the conflict's later stages, the camp served as an Infantry Replacement Training Center. This program trained soldiers to serve as individual replacements in infantry units that lost troops in combat. After the war, Camp Blanding would again be used as a training base for the Florida National Guard.
Although Camp Blanding served as the main infantry training location in Florida, other bases, including Camp Gordon Johnston, instructed troops in various land warfare skills.