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Today in Levy County History for Jan. 19

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By TONI COLLINS

Levy County historian

The following named men have been selected for induction into the U.S. Army by the Levy County Local Selective Service Board. They will report to the Local Board at Bronson, Florida at 8:30 a.m. on December 9, 1940, whereupon they will be sent to the induction station at Camp Blanding, Florida.

The men, who were the first to be inducted from Levy County, were both from Cedar Key. They were Robert Alvin Boothby and Warren William Bishop.

On July 3, 1941, the following men were selected for induction by the local board in Call No. 11 and were instructed to report to Bronson at 9:15 a.m. on July 8th: Ernest William Rigney, Eugie Elton Toler and James Usher Hudson.

In Call No. 12, the following men were selected and instructed to report to the Local Board at Bronson at 9:15 a.m. on July 14: James Claude Harrison, Booker Tythe Anderson, Oscar Woodard and Jessie Lee Williams.

Camp Blanding was established in mid-1939 as a result of a land swap between the United States Navy and the Florida National Guard. The Navy wanted a Naval Air Station (NAS) on the banks of the St. Johns River and the Florida National Guard had such a property.

In return for releasing the St. Johns River property to the Navy, the Florida National Guard received a 30,000 acre tract of land in Clay County. The new camp was named in honor of Lieutenant General Albert H. Blanding, a graduate of the East Florida Seminary in 1894 (now the University of Florida) and commander of the 2nd Florida Infantry during the Mexican Border Service in 1916 and 1917.

In 1940, Camp Blanding was leased to the United States Army as an active duty training center. During the course of WWII, the camp served as an induction center, an infantry replacement training center, a German prisoner of war compound, and a separation center. More than 800,000 soldiers received all or part of their training at the camp.

A museum and memorial park, which are open to the general public, are located on the grounds. The museum traces the history of both Camp Blanding and the Florida National Guard and the numerous outdoor displays of equipment represent several branches of the military. The facility is located 12 miles east of Starke, Florida, on SR 16.