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  #11  
Old 05-16-2021, 02:56 PM
jmm jmm is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: G'Boro, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert C. Lovell View Post
Those of you that have read my book, UNLIKELY WARRIOR, A Small Town Boy's View of WWII, will maybe remember that I was stationed there at the end of WWII and had some unusual adventures there.
I recall an episode with batteries?
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2021, 08:06 PM
Robert C. Lovell Robert C. Lovell is offline
 
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Location: Hennessey, OK
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Yes jmm, my problem was that I was supposed to be in charge. I wonder what they thought when they cut that lock off of that barracks. There were no steps going up to the second floor. But I suppose someone bought those barracks and used them for barns or housing, etc.
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2021, 04:06 PM
Butner1942 Butner1942 is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Butner, NC
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Hello everyone.

This is Mike Mercier, I am the curator for the Camp Butner Society and Museum. Dan, first off, let me thank you for the kind words and the phone call. I do really appreciate it.

The Camp Butner Society, a 501c3 nonprofit, is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of the soldiers, civilians and prisoners of war who came through our gates from 1942-1946. In a staggering six months, the southern Granville County countryside was transformed into one of the most state of the art training bases in the country. Over 1700 buildings were erected and the largest US flag at the time was raised over the camp in August 1942. If filled to maximum capacity (which it never was), there was enough bed space for almost 35,000 enlisted soldiers alone. The town of Butner has a population of 7,700 for comparison. We estimate now approximately 100,000 soldiers came for training in the first three years alone.

The entire Camp Butner property was slightly over 40,000 acres and the area many of you have competed on was part of the original rifle range. The National Guardís land is currently about 4,900 acres. During the war, everything from .45 pistol up to 155mm artillery was fired at the camp. Primarily designated as an infantry training camp, it saw numerous artillery battalions during the war and new observer pilots were trained as well. The prisoner of war camp held the largest number of Germans in North Carolina and although there were escape attempts, the camp has the unusual record for having the second longest escaped prisoner on the run. Kurt Rossmeisl walked out the gates in 1945 and did not surrender until 1959.

The creation of an actual museum didnít happen until mid-2015 and we are currently housed in the sports arena that was built with the rest of the camp in 1942. Countless soldiers came through those doors to play basketball but the local sports offices were in the side rooms. Even Joe Louis fought an exhibition bout on the same floor.

The museum starts with telling to story of the previous residents and those that had to give up their land to the war department to build the camp. We also try to tell the history of the 78th, 89th, and 35th Infantry divisions who trained here prior to heading to Europe. Camp Butner also operated a convalescent hospital that saw nearly 10,000 patients despite officially only in operation for 10 months.

The hardest part of establishing a museum so long after the war was finding decent displays and artifacts but sometimes they can be found in the strangest places. I have personally found great display items on Ebay but we also are quite dependent on donations. One of the few guns we have, a 1920s dated Luger was originally brought back from Europe by a 78th Infantry soldier. The story was upon arriving home, he took it apart and put every piece in a coffee can of oil where it sat for 50+ years. When he died, his sons took it out, cleaned it, and eventually donated it to us.

While we currently only have foreign weapons brought back as souvenirs, hopefully someday we can have examples of everything use here. Even demilled weapons or ones with dummy receivers/side plates.

Since we are volunteers and do this out of a love and respect for our history and that generation, we are only open the first Saturday or every month from 10-3 but will happily open up by appointments as well.

You can visit our official facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CampButnerSociety or our relatively new website at http://butnermuseum.wixsite.com/website

We can always be reached at butner.museum@gmail.com

Thanks so much everyone,

Mike
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