History of Camp Claiborne
Camp Claiborne, one of four large army camps in the central Louisiana area and located about 18 miles from Alexandria, was opened for use about January 15, 1941, construction having been begun the preceding fall. The camp was named for an illustrious early governor of Louisiana and disciple of Thomas Jefferson, William Charles Cole Claiborne. The 1,245.71 acres on which the camp is situated is leased by the War Department, the government holding an option to renew the lease each year until June 30, 1966. Constructed initially as a tent camp to provide quarters for approximately 30,000 officers and enlisted men, the camp was enlarged in the early spring of 1942 when what was originally known as “West Claiborne Annex,” was constructed and made a portion of the main camp. During 1942 tents were replaced by “hutments.” These structures are of two sizes, those for enlisted personnel housing 15 men, while smaller ones accommodate two officers. Since the occupancy of the camp much has been accomplished in the manner of drainage, landscaping and paving of streets. This has much enhanced the beauty-as well as the comfort of Claiborne. Camp Claiborne has its own post office, bank, numerous post exchanges, a chapel for practically every unit the size of a regiment, six well equipped theatres, three guest houses, five service clubs, a large sports arena and commodious bus station, while each company has its own day room. The facilities comprise water works, natural gas, electricity and sewerage. The climate is admirably suited for year-around training as winters are mild and summers not excessively hot. Located near the historic Evangeline country, it is visited by many tourists throughout the year. The first camp commander was Major General Ellard A. Walsh (who also commanded the 34th infantry division), followed by Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Craig, Lieutenant Colonel A. V. Ednie, Colonel H. McE. Pendleton and Colonel London J. Lockett, who is the present commander.