Camp Edwards (1)
Camp Edwards (1) (1936-Active) - A Massachusetts National Guard training camp established in 1936 on Cape Cod, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Named Camp Edwards by Governor Charles F. Hurley after Major General Clarence Edwards, World War I commander of the 26th Infantry Division. Active military installation.
In April 1935, then Massachusetts Governor James M. Curley signed a bill to appropriate funds for a proposed National Guard training camp. In September 1935, the War Department approved the acquisition of up to 200,000 acres of land on Cape Cod for military training. Using mostly Works Project Administration (WPA) funds, a small cantonment area was built out. The post included 63 buildings and two, 500-foot wide turf runways at Otis Field. In July 1938, Governor Charles F. Hurley dedicated the Camp.
In 1940, the U.S. Army leased Camp Edwards and let a mobilization construction contract to construct the initial 1,300 buildings in the cantonment area to provide housing and facilities for 30,000 men by January of 1941. At the peak of construction in November 1940, some 18,000 workers were employed in building Camp Edwards. The project was completed in January 1941.
The main cantonment area was organized as a square with a total of twenty-nine regimental blocks for infantry and artillery regiments. Outside the main cantonment, additional blocks were constructed for the hospital, logistics, quartermaster depots, and service commands.
World War II
During World War II, tenant units on Camp Edwards included the 101st Observation Squadron, Massachusetts National Guard, inducted into federal service and moved to Otis Field in 1941. Otis Field's concrete runways were laid in 1942 and were lengthened and widened in 1943. The U.S. Army Air Corps' 14th Anti-Submarine Patrol Squadron operated from Otis between 1941 and 1943. In 1944, all reconnaissance missions from Otis Field became the responsibility of the U.S. Navy. The Second Battalion of the 64th Coastal Artillery Regiment (Anti-Aircraft) was stationed at Camp Edwards from 1942-1944.
A Convalescent Hospital was established at Camp Edwards in 1942 to treat wounded personnel coming back from European and the Pacific theaters. More than 2,500 nurses trained at Camp Edwards between 1942 and 1944.
In 1944, a prisoner of war (POW) camp for captured German soldiers was built at Camp Edwards. The POW camp was located at the south end of the runway and could house up to 2,000 POWs. By the end of the war, the camp had received, processed, and repatriated some 5,000 POWs.
At the end of the war, Camp Edwards housed a temporary separation center for returning Soldiers. More than 12,900 men were discharged from Camp Edwards in 1945-46.
The post was deactivated in 1946 and moved to caretaker status by the U.S. Army but continued to be used for Army National Guard and Air National Guard training activities. In 1947, when the U.S. Air Force was created as a separate service, Otis Field became Otis Air Force Base and the Air Force assumed responsibility for that portion of the post. See the Otis Air Force Base page.
Camp Edwards was reactivated in 1950 during the Korean War for troop training. In 1954 the post was transferred from the U.S. Army to the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force expanded its operations across most of the former main post, the Army continued to control the range and maneuver areas.
In 1973, the U.S. Army began withdrawal from Camp Edwards and Otis Air Force Base was re-designated as Otis Air National Guard Base. In 1975, the Massachusetts National Guard assumed operational control and the post became part of the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR).
In 1978, the U.S. Air Force constructed the Perimeter Acquisition Vehicle Entry Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS) installation at the north end of the MMR. This facility is known as Cape Cod Air Force Station and is designed to detect submarine-launched ballistic missiles and to catalog space objects. It was the first of four such installations that together provided surveillance in all directions.
War on Terror
In 2013 the MMR was renamed Joint Base Cape Cod encompassing the four major tenants that included the Camp Edwards, the Coast Guard Base Cape Cod, Cape Cod Air Force Station and Otis Air National Guard Base. In addition to the four major tenants, there were a number of minor tenants.
A Massachusetts National Guard post and a part of Joint Base Cape Cod.
Visited: 1-6 May 2018