Camp Toccoa, GA

1942
   

Currahee Mountain was selected as the site for the first Parachute Infantry Training Center.

The Camp Toccoa location was first established in 1938 as a training camp for the Georgia National Guard. It was named Camp General Robert Toombs in honor of the Confederate general from the War between the States. It was just a wilderness camp with no facilities until the War Department chose the location for a paratrooper basic training site shortly after WWII was declared.

Cadre personnel arrived at Toccoa June 1942 for the purposes of organizing and training paratroopers at Camp General Robert Toombs. The story goes that Colonel Robert F. Sink, 506th Regimental Commander, thought that it was bad psychology to have young men arrive at Toccoa, travel Route 13 past a casket factory to learn to jump at Camp "Tombs", so he persuaded the Department of the Army to change the name to Camp Toccoa.

Original plans were for a camp that would accommodate 20,000 or more men. Two regiments with their supporting units were the maximum there at any one time, but this only occurred when the training of one regiment overlapped the training of the previous regiment. The four regiments organized at Camp Toccoa were the 506th, 501st, 511th, and 517th in that order.

1993 Calendar
photo from The Stephens County Historical Society 1993 Calendar
(reprinted with permission)

Insert: This monument was erected by The Stephens County Historical Society
on Highway 123 to mark the site where Camp Toccoa was located.


The following photos were taken by John C. Rider, Camp Toccoa Postmaster
(Camp Toccoa history and photos courtesy of Lamar Davis of The Stephens County Historical Society)
Cow Company
"Cow Company" -- August 1942
As a Georgia National Guard summer wilderness camp, the area had no barracks, so
tents were used from the beginning. This area was originally designated as W Company
(for "washed out"). If someone could not make the 3-mile run up Currahee Mountain, they
were sent to W Company and were gone from Camp Toccoa by the end of the next day.

This motley array of seive-like tents was also used to house the new men who had yet to
pass their physical exam. Cow Company was an unforgettable experience. Running water
was available in every tent from the little streams that always ran through them. The beds
would settle in the mud, and soon men would be sleeping at ground level with the water
running by their ears!



Tar-Papered  Barracks
The first barracks were small tar-papered buildings from a Franklin County CCC
camp
, which were dismantled, hauled to Camp Toombs, and then reassembled.



Construction was begun right away for other barracks and buildings.

Guest House
Guest House and other buildings under construction, December 1942



Post Office
Post Office
building under construction, December 1942



Post Theater
Post Theater under construction, December 1942




Main Entrance Camp Toccoa

1. MP Building at main entrance to Camp (Toombs) changed to Toccoa, GA, 1942
2. Arrow points down the mountain toward Toccoa and all points north
3. Arrow points to Atlanta, GA, 98 miles away. The Greyhound bus went right by the
camp on the way to Atlanta from Toccoa and the north.
4. One of the two WWI Whippet tanks at the main entrance. These tanks had been
placed there by the Georgia National Guard (possibly by the 30th Tank Company from
Forsyth, GA, since it was the only National Guard tank company based in Georgia at
the time), but COL Sink had them removed, saying that he was running a paratrooper
outfit, not a tank outfit.
5. This is where the GI's caught the bus for Toccoa, six miles to the north.

NOTE: according to various tank enthusiasts, these tanks were probably M1917
Fully Tracked Combat Tractors
(originally known as the Six-Ton Special Tractor
Model 1917, the U.S. version of the Renault FT-17). This vehicle equipped the US
Army from just after WWI until the late 1930s; it was used by MAJ George S. Patton
in Washington, DC. against the 1932 Bonus Army.




Inside Main Entrance
November 1942
Text from John R. Rider:
1.
MP Headquarters just inside the main entrance.
2. When the camp was first started, I lived in a tent where this building now stands.
3. This is the first barracks I lived in.
4. Now my home is in this one.
Those cars face the front door of our barracks as they are parked on the parking lot.



Camp Toccoa, November 1942
November 1942

1. Headquarters Building
2. Mess Hall
3. Parking Lot
4. Latrine
where the soldiers cleaned up after a hard day's work

Back of the Headquarters Building from the third line of barracks up is
where the training troops of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment lived.



John R. Rider
John R. Rider, December 1942, standing at the back of his
single-story tar-papered living quarters in his working fatigues.
The previous 9 photographs were taken by John (now deceased),
when he was Postmaster at Camp Toccoa.



These pages are maintained the
506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association (Airmobile - Air Assault)
This page updated 04/06/13