The Camp Blanding Jolt Training Center Army Base is the primary training base of the Florida National Guard. The installation, occupying more than 70,000 acres, is situated in the suburbs of Jacksonville, Florida.
Camp Blanding's mission is to provide a site for the Florida National Guard and Army Reserve forces to train units. The camp supplies training opportunities for North Floridian law enforcement and first-responder agencies.
The climate of Camp Blanding is rather warm throughout the entire year. The weather is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. Situated in the central part of the state, the beach is less than an hour away.
The Jacksonville International Airport is 48 miles northeast. JAX has destinations to and from many locations across the United States. There are multiple ways to travel from JAX to Camp Blanding. The location of the base entrance is Avenue A, Strake, Florida 23091.
In the late 1930s, the Florida National Guard was given 30,000 acres alongside the Kingsley Lake in Clark County. The new camp was named after Albert H. Blanding. Blanding was a notable military figure and served in both World Wars, earning a Distinguished Service Medal.
Following the U.S. entrance of World War II, Camp Blanding was leased to the U.S. Army. The camp was used as a training center for the war. Over 800,000 soldiers partially or fully trained at Camp Blanding. The base was also used as a holding center for American citizens of German, Japanese, or Italian descent.
Following the war, the camp was no longer used by the U.S. Army or the Florida National Guard. Many of the base facilities were sold or moved. The inactivity continued for decades to come.
Life returned to Camp Blanding in the early 1970s. An expansion program was induced, which updated buildings and roadways. The Department of Defense soon reassigned Camp Blanding as a Class A military installation. Currently, the base provides resources to enhance training on national, state, and local levels.
Current Activities / Units
The 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Florida National Guard utilities the base for training. The 53rd Team was established in 1917 and has been active in many missions, from providing hurricane relief to fighting in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Camp Blanding is also home to the 202d RED HORSE squadron, an Air National Guard unit. The squadron has played a significant role across the world in the past decades, supplying assistance following wildfires and hurricanes. In 2002, the unit traveled to Italy to support a depot storage.
Many ROTC units, both Army and Naval, train at Camp Blanding. Every summer, Jacksonville University and University of South Florida NROTC travel to the camp to conduct orientation. The Audie Murphy Field Training Exercise is also hosted on base. Every year, dozens of Army ROTC units take part in the training development camp.
Lodging / MWR
Lodging is available at Camp Blanding. The Finnegan Lodge is located on base. To make a reservation and/or receive information, call (904) 682-3381.
A Best Western hotel is just 10 miles west of the camp. One of the best in the area, amenities include a complimentary breakfast, pool, and gazebo. The Best Western hotel may be reached at (904) 964-6744.
If you are the mood to explore or find out about Camp Blanding's history, there are options! The Camp Blanding Museum has a wide collection of weapons, uniforms, and photo exhibits. The Camp Blanding Memorial Park has many monuments honoring our military. The address for the museum and park is 629 SR 16 West, Building 3040 Starke, Fl. 32091 and phone number is (904) 682-3196.