Skip to content

Camp Blanding Museum and Memorial Park

21 June 2022

29° 58’ 54” N / 81° 59’ 03” W

Many aviation history, as well as military history buffs, have not heard of the Camp Blanding Museum. Most Floridians haven’t even heard of Camp Blanding, though Camp Blanding is immense and takes up hundreds of square miles of Florida. By-the-way, the base’s designation as “camp” belies its size as well as its role—both historical and present day roles.

Camp Blanding was greatly enlarged from 72 square miles, while World War II (WW II) was raging in China and Europe, to nearly 420 square miles. Why so large, though? Large was urgently required because an immense area was needed to train two army divisions at a time in combined arms combat operations. Each division has up to 15,000 soldiers and is commanded by a major general, so it was like a town’s population was rehearsing their skills and learning to coordinate efforts. That meant logistics, engineering, armor, infantry, artillery and air support all having to practice coordinating their work to be correct as well as on time. Retaking countries takes numbers of everything, consumes tremendous resources and requires enormous amounts of land to train. This was nothing less than preparing to retake continental Europe.

The base’s WW II population rose to become the fourth largest city in Florida, during WW II, with the base having trained nearly 800,000 service men by war’s end. Interestingly, a bit over 4000 WW II German POWs (soldiers, U-boat sailors and enemy aliens) were also interned there. Today it is a joint military training center and the home to the Camp Blanding Museum.

Historic Marker for Camp Blanding (front) just outside the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Historic Marker for Camp Blanding (rear) just outside the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021

The museum itself sits just off base—so no Department of Defense identification is required to visit—there is not a fee either. Originally a hotel, the museum’s building was a place for base visitors to stay back in the day. This museum’s hours are M-F noon to 4pm—although the outdoor exhibits (aircraft, vehicle and armor) can be seen anytime. Restrooms are present and clean with most displays designed for children to easily view. Outside areas for seating and picnics are located there as well which is important as there is no food or drink service at the facility—there is a water fountain, of course, and nearby towns offer plenty of cafés, diners and restaurants.

The Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Part of the Memorial Park of the Camp Blanding Museum during a slightly foggy morning—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021

The Camp Blanding Museum is not expansive though it is packed with interesting relics, artifacts and displays. So, it is a perfectly children sized museum with abundant outside space to burn off energy while reviewing the numerous vehicles and aircraft on display. It is also a welcome break when passing near the town of Starke for an hour or two.

LTV A-7E Corsair II at the Camp Blanding Museum (note the 20mm rotary cannon gun port just above and ahead of the nose gear)—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Bell OH-58A Kiowa (front) and Bell UH-1D Iroquois “Huey” (rear) in the Camp Blanding Museum’s Memorial Park—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
M110A2 8-inch SP Howitzer at the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Convair F-106A Delta Dart in the fog at the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Douglas C-47 Skytrain at the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
Grumman A-6A Intruder at the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Wehrmacht machine guns (MG 37, front, and MG 42, back) captured during World War II and now on display within the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
WW II German POW Interment Camp diorama within the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Trimmed of its rotor blades is this Boeing Vertol CH-47D Chinook at the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2021
Bell UH-1D Iroquois “Huey” in the Camp Blanding Museum’s Memorial Park—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
Bell UH-1D Iroquois “Huey” as a Medevac “Dust Off” in the Camp Blanding Museum’s Memorial Park—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
A handful of captured Iraqi Army weaponry from Desert Storm in the Camp Blanding Museum’s Memorial Park—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
Desert Storm captured Iraqi Army T-55 main battle tank (100mm cannon) on display in the Memorial Park of the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018
Desert Storm captured Iraqi Army S-60 57mm anti-aircraft gun on display in the Memorial Park of the Camp Blanding Museum—Joseph May/Slipstream Photography ©2018

Some of these Memorial Park exhibits, and there are many, have been covered in these posts:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. JERRY RUNGE permalink
    22 June 2022 22:10

    Looks like an interesting place!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      22 June 2022 23:41

      I think that it is. Another thing is that the outside displays aren’t crowded together so you can walk around them easily and view from just about all angles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: