Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC) was established in 1917 in order to prepare troops for service in World War I. Sitting on 134,000 acres in southern Mississippi, this military post provides training for the M1 Abrams Tank, the National Guard, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and M109A6 Paladin Howitzers; additionally, Camp Shelby is also home to the 177th Armored Brigade.
Camp Shelby was named in honor of Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War soldier who would go on to become the first governor of Kentucky. In 1934, the state of Mississippi obtained the land that would become Camp Shelby and used it as a summer camp. However, they quickly realized that the area would be better suited as a military training facility because the variation in terrain allowed for troops to experience multiple training simulations.
In 1940, the site was reopened as federal land that currently consists of land owned by the state of Mississippi, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Forest Service. Camp Shelby is the largest Army Reserve training site in the country providing battalion level maneuver training and seeing approximately 100,00 forces every year from all over the United States.
Join Base Activity
Camp Shelby also sees the training of active duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force troops and at the inception of World War II, this installment saw the training of the Women's Army Corps (WAC), the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Battalion. Additional Divisions that have been trained at Camp Shelby include the 31st, 37th, 38th, 43rd, 63rd, 65th, 69th, 85th, 94th and 99th Divisions.
The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum is located on site. Camp Shelby used to house a convalescent hospital and a prisoner of war camp and at one time was the largest armed forces training facility in the world with trainee numbers in the one hundred thousands. During the Korean War, Camp Shelby was turned into an Emergency Railhead Facility and in 1959, the Army decided to use Camp Shelby's building plans as the model for future military base sites.
After World War II, The War Assets Administration sold Camp Shelby. Various building supplies were sold including water pipes which made their way to Oklahoma City where they are still being used today. The troops being trained at Camp Shelby were originally housed in tents, however, in 1958, Congress allotted funds to begin building barracks. During the Vietnam War, the 199th Light Infantry Brigade received training at Camp Shelby before being sent overseas; they were the only unit who trained on site at the time.
Modern History at Camp Shelby
Camp Shelby provides continuous mobilization assistance for all training and deployment efforts. During Desert Storm ops, more than 5,000 forces went through this post. The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee Army National Guard prepared for Iraq deployment twice while the 168th Engineer Brigade prepared for deployment to Afghanistan in 2009.
Additionally, in 2012, the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepared for deployment to Afghanistan and Kuwait alongside the 4th Battalion and 118th Infantry Regiment of the South Carolina Army National Guard. Camp Shelby proudly hosts one of two facilities in the entire world specifically designated for C-17 Globemaster III landing training. The runway takes up 210 acres and was unveiled in 2007 by the Air National Guard.
Housing & Lodging
Camp Shelby Billeting is available for service men and women, DoD civilian employees and authorized DoD agents traveling in the area. There is no permanent or family housing on post, but lodging can be found close by. You can contact the Camp Shelby Housing/Billeting Office between 7:30a and 4p Monday through Sunday. The office is located in Building 2101, Camp Shelby, MS 39407.
To contact the Camp Shelby Reservation Office, you can call (601) 558-2540/2545. Camp Shelby Cabins: lower ranking officers and retirees get priority housing in the cabins. (601) 558-2500. The Housing Manager can be reached at: (601) 558 2500. The Camp Shelby Fax number is (601) 558-2339.
Hotels within 15 miles of Camp Shelby include but are not limited to:
- Residence Inn by Marriott Hattiesburg at 116 Grand Dr, I-59, exit 65, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. (601) 264-9202.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Hattiesburg at 109 Lundy Ln, Hattiesburg, MS 39402. (769) 223-6000.
- Best Western Premier University Inn Hattiesburg at 132 Plaza Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39402. (601) 909-6658.
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott Hattiesburg at 235 Thornhill Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39402. (601) 582-2030.
The Mississippi Youth Challenge Academy (YCA) is part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program that works with at-risk kids between 16-18 years old. The YCA can be reached at (800)-507-6253 and is located in Building 80 on West Jackson Ave, Camp Shelby, MS 39407-5500.
The Grace Community School of Hattiesburg is a private daycare center located on 30 Pioneer Rd S in Hattiesburg. Grace Community School can be contacted at (601) 264-3992.
Oak Grove High School is located at 5198 Old Highway 11 in Hattiesburg and can be contacted at (601) 264-7232.
Sacred Heart Catholic School has more than 750 students enrolled in pre-k up through 12th grade and is located across two campuses in downtown Hattiesburg, MS. Sacred Heart Elementary Campus is on 608 Southern Ave and can be contacted at (601) 583-8683. The upper level campus is on 510 W Pine St and can be reached at (601) 450-5736.
- The University of Southern Mississippi has a Hattiesburg campus at 118 College Dr and can be contacted at (601) 266-1000.
- William Carey Universityis located at 710 William Carey Pkwy in Hattiesburg and can be reached at (601) 318-6051.
- Antonelli College is also in Hattiesburg and can be found on 1500 N 31st Ave. Their number is (601) 583-4100.
The Camp Shelby Federal Credit Union located in Building 82 on Warehouse Avenue. You can call the union at (601) 544-5421. The walk-in hours of operation are M-F, 9a-4p and the drive thru hours are M-F, 8a-4p.
Places of Interest
The Hattiesburg Zoo is rated the number one thing to do in the area on TripAdvisor and is located on 107 S 17th Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401-6128, (601) 545-4576.
The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum on 1001 Lee Ave W., Building 850, Hattiesburg, MS 39407, (601) 558-2757.
The Paul B. Johnson State Park features a campground, cabins available for rent, water sports, fishing, swimming and more and can be found on 319 Geiger Lake Rd, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. You can call the park office at (601) 582-7721.
Camp Shelby's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office is in Building 3002 on 30th St and can be contacted at (601) 558-2508.