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View Full Version : How does a U.S. military "Camp" become a "fort"?


Ignatz
08-29-2007, 05:14 PM
Having seen Camp A. P. Hill north of Richmond go from a "camp" to a "fort" several years ago and having visited the Army's Fort Bragg and the Marine's Camp LeJeune, I've been wondering-how does a camp become a fort and do the same criteria apply to army and marine facilities?

Si Amigo
08-29-2007, 05:44 PM
I'm not certain but I believe I saw on the History Channel the other night that Fort Knox was only a camp before they decided to store gold there. So I guess it would be because of a change in scope of the locations purpose.

Chessic Sense
08-29-2007, 06:55 PM
Temporary vs. permanent. Sure, they're not ripping Camp Shelby, MS off the map any time soon, but they could easily if they wanted to. It's also a size issue. Other than that, it's just a name.

Jonathan Chance
08-29-2007, 08:04 PM
I seem to recall, from being told by some military guys when I worked on DoD magazines, that the difference is who is the primary base-holder.

The Army has 'Forts'. Permanent structures for holding.

Marines have 'Camps' because they're always ready to move.

YMMV, but that's what I was told.

KneadToKnow
08-29-2007, 08:04 PM
Camp Pendleton (http://www.pendleton.usmc.mil/) is temporary?

Camp LeJeuene (http://www.lejeune.usmc.mil) is temporary?

Edit: The Marine/Army distinction makes more sense.

Jonathan Chance
08-29-2007, 08:42 PM
Same question I asked, having been on a few. But they told me that's the conceit.

Paul in Qatar
08-29-2007, 09:26 PM
What about Fortress Monroe, Virginia?

But of course the difference between Forts and Fortresses are well known. Fortresses have breastworks.

anson2995
08-29-2007, 09:31 PM
JonathanChance and KneadToKnow have it right. While it isn't a hard and fast rule, generally US Army bases are called "Forts" (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/fort.htm) and Marine bases are called "Camps" (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/camp.htm) .

There are some notable exceptions. Camp Shelby (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Shelby) is an Army base. Many (most) of the Army's bases overseas are called "Camps", including all of them in Korea, Kuwait, the Balkans, and Italy. "Barracks" seems to be the name of choice for US Army bases in Germany.

In Japan, the US Army has a camp (Camp Zama), a fort (Fort Buckner), a compund (Chibana Compound) and a station (Torii Station).

Monty
08-29-2007, 11:21 PM
Not all of the Army bases here in South Korea are called camps. I can think of two right off the bat that aren't:

United States Army Garrison Yongsan
Pusan Storage Facility.

TokyoBayer
08-30-2007, 12:37 AM
In Utah, there was a fort (Fort Douglas, now a museum) as well as a camp (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/camp-wg-williams.htm).

Camp Williams is a National Guard Training Site operated by the Utah Army National Guard.

Will Repair
08-30-2007, 01:24 AM
From Wiki:Camp Dix became Fort Dix on March 8, 1939, and the installation became a permanent Army post.

From New York State Military museum (http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/forts/glossary/glossary.htm)
FORT: 1) An enclosed place or fortified building for military defense, usually equipped with earthworks, guns, a garrison of troops, permanent buildings, etc.: 2) A permanent Army post, as distinguished from a temporary training camp.

So, a post is where military troops are stationed. It is a fort if fortified and a camp if temporary.

This would apply only to the Army as the Air Force and Navy use the term base.

Alessan
08-30-2007, 01:42 AM
What about Fortress Monroe, Virginia?

But of course the difference between Forts and Fortresses are well known. Fortresses have breastworks.
Nice.





(A cruder man would have mentioned arrow slits).

ouryL
08-30-2007, 02:04 AM
But of course the difference between Forts and Fortresses are well known. Fortresses have breastworks.

:p

DanBlather
08-30-2007, 04:42 AM
But of course the difference between Forts and Fortresses are well known. Fortresses have breastworks.And some Forts have Dix.

Horatio Hellpop
08-30-2007, 09:49 AM
WAG: A camp is where military personnel receive basic training. A fort guards something specific.

VunderBob
08-30-2007, 09:53 AM
What about Fortress Monroe, Virginia?

But of course the difference between Forts and Fortresses are well known. Fortresses have breastworks.
Colloquially at least, it's Fort Monroe. And it's not permanent, either, because it's been BRACed and has about 4 years to decommisioning. :p

ETA: On further reflection, I done been whooshed. :smack:

KneadToKnow
08-30-2007, 09:53 AM
WAG: A camp is where military personnel receive basic training. A fort guards something specific.
I might buy that if it weren't for Fort Jackson (http://www.jackson.army.mil/).

I assure you, Forest Acres, SC, does not need that much guarding.

Chessic Sense
08-30-2007, 10:40 AM
I might buy that if it weren't for Fort Jackson (http://www.jackson.army.mil/).

Or Forts Benning, Knox, Leonard Wood, and Sill. All Basic Training sites.

As for the Marine/Army distinction, that's not very solid either. 5 out of 11 CONUS Marine sites are called camps...not even half. The Army has a bunch of forts because they're so big. All foreign outposts are called camps, regardless of the units there, because they're small and temporary. Add that to the fact that there's usually all 4 branches on any given post, the Marine vs Army rule is DOA.

Paul in Qatar
08-30-2007, 10:44 AM
Colloquially at least, it's Fort Monroe. And it's not permanent, either, because it's been BRACed and has about 4 years to decommisioning. :p

ETA: On further reflection, I done been whooshed. :smack:

You have not been whoosed. Monroe is a fortress, not a fort.

DSYoungEsq
08-30-2007, 04:14 PM
According to the Army's website (http://www.army.mil/organization/camps.html), all its camps, save one (Camp Shelby in Mississippi) are overseas, and most of them are in Korea. All Forts are stateside (counting Puerto Rico as part of the States). Camp Shelby's history (http://www.ngms.state.ms.us/campshelby/about/index.html) is quite stop and start, and one could easily suppose it has not received a designation as a "permanent" location by the Army, even though it has become a "permanent" training site (so designated by CAC). Possibly this is because the land belongs to the state of Mississippi, if I read the information correctly.

It is not as easily determined what the difference in the Marines is between a "base" and a "camp", and, indeed, given that Camp Pendleton is officially Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, that may not be a correct method of dividing things up. Quantico is a Base, Camp Jejeune is a Base, Camp Butler in Japan is a Base. Clearly, they use the term "camp" differently from the Army.

When I was growing up at China Lake, the official designation of the Navy facility there was Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake. At the time, it was a "temporary" facility, which made life difficult for the numerous civilians who had to live there (most of the skull work for the weapons systems development programs was done by civilians employed by the Department of Defense). The "temporary" nature of the base precluded banks from offering long-term loans for building and owning homes. As a result, most civilians employed by the DoD lived on the base, and were treated much as military personnel (when I was VERY young, I even recall shopping in the Commisary/PX, before they brought in a civilian store chain to run a location for us on the base). In about 1966, the base's designation changed to "permanent", at which time we became the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, and as a result, the Navy started "encouraging" civilians to take up residence in housing off the base. Between 1968 and 1975, a tremendous amount of housing sprang up in Ridgecrest, the civilian city that serviced the base. We moved in 1972. So the "temporary" v. "permanent" distinction affected both the nomenclature AND the practicalities of living in the middle of the wasteland that is the upper Mojave Desert.

Zsofia
08-30-2007, 04:32 PM
I might buy that if it weren't for Fort Jackson (http://www.jackson.army.mil/).

I assure you, Forest Acres, SC, does not need that much guarding.
Yeah, but there's three awesome restaurants by the back gate that I want protected with all of the Army's might.

David Simmons
08-30-2007, 05:07 PM
Camp Pendleton (http://www.pendleton.usmc.mil/) is temporary?

Camp LeJeuene (http://www.lejeune.usmc.mil) is temporary?

Edit: The Marine/Army distinction makes more sense."Permanent" and "temporary" are elastic terms. The Navy operated out of Main Navy, The Munitions Building, and the W Building for years and they were temporary structued erected during WWI to conduct that operation.

KneadToKnow
08-30-2007, 05:32 PM
"Permanent" and "temporary" are elastic terms.
Oh, don't get me started. My undergrad advanced comp professor took issue with my use of the term "permanently mounted" in referring to the built-in furniture in my dorm room. IIRC, his exact words were, "Let's see how permanent they are if you give me five minutes and a sledgehammer."

Oh, and allow me to be the first to point out that I misspelled "Lejeune" in the original post. Missed the edit window.

David Simmons
08-30-2007, 05:47 PM
Oh, don't get me started. My undergrad advanced comp professor took issue with my use of the term "permanently mounted" in referring to the built-in furniture in my dorm room. IIRC, his exact words were, "Let's see how permanent they are if you give me five minutes and a sledgehammer."

Oh, and allow me to be the first to point out that I misspelled "Lejeune" in the original post. Missed the edit window.Are you actually trying to tell us that professors can be pedantic at times?

KneadToKnow
08-30-2007, 05:50 PM
I would never suggest such a thing. This guy was just a prick.

:)

Ignatz
08-31-2007, 05:56 AM
Thanks for all the info and guesses. And the breastworks. Fort A.P. Hill IS in the mountains. I found this site for the fort and it mentions that it started as a "Military Reservation", It later became a "camp" and was that when I traveled on a state road thru it when finding an alternate route to I-95 in my periodic trips between Georgia, the Carolinas, and New England in the '80s.
I noticed on roadmaps later that it was now a "fort" vs. "camp.

The training or no trining is not a factor in the designation as Hill is a training facility as are many, as cited above. I'll search the miitary websites.

Hill also hosts the Boy Scouts Jamboree.

Thanks again.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/fort-ap-hill.htm

Ignatz
08-31-2007, 06:02 AM
And speaking of breastworks, when I was enrolled in a Naval "A" school at Bainbridge, MD Naval Training Center (many years ago), I ran into a female Drill Instructor of the WAVES (female US Navy recruits) boots that I had gone thru high school with in Mass. a few years earlier.

(I guess I can hijack my own post.)

FairyChatMom
08-31-2007, 06:25 AM
Fort A.P. Hill IS in the mountains. Which mountains would they be? I've driven route 301, which nearly bisects this reservation, and I might characterize the terrain as hilly, but far from mountainous. In fact, I can't think of anything east of the entire length of I-95 that I'd call a mountain.

Or am I missing a big whoosh here??


Oh, and Navy facilities aren't all bases - I spent many years working aboard the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, and the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, and the Naval Air Station, Pensacola.