Tens of thousands of soldiers
trained in beach landings, or amphibious operations, at Camp Gordon Johnston, which was located on the Gulf coast sixty miles southwest of Tallahassee. The 38th, 28th, and the 4th Infantry Divisions trained there in 1942-1943.
Living conditions at Camp Gordon Johnston were particularly crude. Most of the troops lived in tents or prefabricated barracks with sand floors. Hazards included snakes, wild hogs, mosquitoes, sand fleas, flies, and chiggers. General Omar Bradley, who commanded the 28th Division while it trained at Gordon Johnston, later stated: "The man who selected that site should have been court-martialed for stupidity."
In September 1943, Camp Gordon Johnston was designated an Army Service Forces Training Center. For the next two years, small boat crews and amphibian truck companies trained at the camp on the revolutionary amphibious vehicle called the DUKW, or "Duck," which proved invaluable during the European and Pacific campaigns.
Realizing that amphibious operations would play a major role in both Europe and the Pacific, U.S. Navy officials established a major Amphibious Training Base at Ft. Pierce in early 1943. About 15,000 Army, Navy, and Marine personnel--including elite units of Scouts, Raiders, Rangers, and Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) or "Frogmen," that spearheaded the invasions in both theaters of the war--took part in grueling training at Fort Pierce.