How does a U.S. military "Camp" become a "fort"?

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?

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.

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.

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.

Camp Pendleton is temporary?

Camp LeJeuene is temporary?

Edit: The Marine/Army distinction makes more sense.

Same question I asked, having been on a few. But they told me that’s the conceit.

What about Fortress Monroe, Virginia?

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

JonathanChance and KneadToKnow have it right. While it isn’t a hard and fast rule, generally US Army bases are called “Forts” and Marine bases are called “Camps” .

There are some notable exceptions. 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).

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:

[ul][li]United States Army Garrison Yongsan[/li]Pusan Storage Facility.[/ul]

In Utah, there was a fort (Fort Douglas, now a museum) as well as a camp.

From Wiki:

From New York State Military museum

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.


(A cruder man would have mentioned arrow slits).


And some Forts have Dix.

WAG: A camp is where military personnel receive basic training. A fort guards something specific.

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. :stuck_out_tongue:

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

I might buy that if it weren’t for Fort Jackson.

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

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.

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

According to the Army’s website, 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 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.