Fort Devens, MA Image 1
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    Fort Devens, MA History

    Originally a reception and training camp for World War I draft selectees, and a demobilization center following WWI and WWII, Fort Devens was named after Massachusetts native, Civil War era, US Major General Charles Devens.

    Camp Devens was established in 1917 in the rush to mobilize for World War I, and was a demobilization center after the war. In the 1920s and 1930s, Fort Devens was a training center for New England-based National Guard troops, ROTC cadets, Reserve Units, and Citizens' Military Training Camp (CMTC) candidates, renamed Fort Devens in 1931. In 1926, the Fort Devens Army Air Field was added to post as an emergency airstrip.

    With the outbreak of World War II in Europe, the U.S Army made plans to increase manpower by instituting the first peacetime draft, and Fort Devens was again a primary reception and training center.

    During WWII, the Fort saw a large amount of activity, as base for three divisions in turn before deployment, the 1st Infantry, 32nd Infantry, and 45th Infantry. Fort Devens was also a training center for the Women's Army Corps, the Chaplain school, the Cook and Baker School, a basic training center for Army nurses, and a Prisoner of War Camp for 5,000 Italian and German soldiers.

    At the end of WWII, Fort Devens was once again used as a demobilization center, and added an extension of the University of Massachusetts, allowing veterans to pursue an advanced education. Starting in the 1950s, the United States Army Security Agency Training Center and School, the 56th AA Brigade, the First Army Chemical Defense School, and a few smaller units were assigned at the fort. Most of these units have little or no public history. In 1996, Fort Devens was closed as an active Army installation, but is still in use as a training center for the Reserve and National Guard.