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.
|Insert: This monument
was erected by The Stephens County Historical Society
on Highway 123 to mark the site where Camp Toccoa was located.
|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!
|The first barracks were small tar-papered buildings
from a Franklin County CCC
camp, which were dismantled, hauled to Camp Toombs, and then reassembled.
1. MP Building at main entrance to Camp (Toombs) changed
to Toccoa, GA, 1942
NOTE: according to various tank enthusiasts, these
tanks were probably M1917
|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.
1. Headquarters Building
Back of the Headquarters Building from the third
line of barracks up is
|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.