Fort Custer (2)

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Fort Custer (2) (1917-Present) - A World War I camp first established in 1917 as Camp Custer (2) near Augusta, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. Named after George A. Custer (Cullum 1966), killed 25 Jun 1876 along with his entire command in the Battle of Little Big Horn River. Renamed Fort Custer and designated a permanent military training base on 17 Aug 1940. Active military installation. Now known as Fort Custer Training Center.

Fort Custer Panorama 1918

World War I (1917-1918)

Established in 1917 as one of sixteen National Army Camps for World War I. Camp Custer was established in June 1917 under the supervision of construction quartermaster Major Earle B. Morden on a site of about 8,000 acres. Construction began on 27 Jun 1917, by 1 Sep 1917 it could accommodate 11,000 troops and by 30 Sep 1917 it could accommodate 30,000 troops. The camp was to have a capacity of about 48,000 officers and enlisted men that were to become the 85th U.S. Infantry Division. The camp was completed in November 1917 at a cost of $ 14,000,000.

The first commander of the camp was Major General Joseph T. Dickman (Cullum 2905) who formed the 85th U.S. Infantry Division on 25 Aug 1917 and initiated troop training. The 85th troops arrived starting in August 1917 and departed for France on 21 Jul 1918. The unit was designated a Depot division and supplied replacements for losses in other units. The remnants of the 85th returned to the U.S. and were demobilized in January 1919.

World War II (1941-1945)

Reactivated as a World War II training post with an area of 16,005 acres, and quarters for 1,279 officers and 27,553 enlisted troops. Fort Custer also served as a prisoner of war camp for 5,000 German soldiers until 1945 and as an Army hospital receiving casualties from Europe.

Current Status

Active Military Installation, Fort Custer Training Center a federally owned National Guard training camp near Augusta, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.


Location: Augusta, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.3343351 Long: -85.3029263

Sources:

  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 416
  • Rinaldi, Richard A., The US Army in World War I - Orders of Battle, Tiger Lily Publications LLC, 2004, 244 pages
  • Brief Histories of Divisions, U.S. Army: 1917-1918, U.S.A. General Staff, June 1921, 92 pages

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