Camp Custer

Battle Creek, Calhoun Co., Michigan

Camp Custer was established in 1917 as the training camp for 85th Infantry “Custer” Division (National Army). The 85th was comprised of selective service inductees, over 65,000 of whom were men from Michigan. Over 100,000 soldiers trained at Camp Custer during World War I.

Following World War I Camp Custer was used to train the Officer Reserve Corps and to house men in the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1940 the camp was designated as a permanent military based and the name changed to Fort Custer.

During World War II Fort Custer trained over 300,000 men and became the home of the 5th Infantry “Red Diamond” Division. When the 5th left Custer for the invasion of Normandy the fort served as a German Prisoner of War Camp.

Post-World War II, Fort Custer became home to Navy and Marine Corps Reserve units, trained approximately 17,000 troops for the Korean War, and served as part of the North American Air Defense System. Today Fort Custer is used as a training facility for the Michigan National Guard, Michigan State Police, ROTC, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Postcards – World War I

  • A street scene of Camp Custer, Michigan during World War I
  • "News From Home," Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan, World War I
  • "Charge," Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan, World War I
  • "At Attention," Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan, World War I

Postcards – World War II

    Photos

    • "Fort Custer 1024" - A training platoon or company real photo postcard from World War II.
    • "Fort Custer 10__" - A 1942 training platoon or company real photo postcard from World War II.  Sent by Pvt. Elmer Stevens (kneeling 5th or 6th from left).

    Further Reading & Resources

    Heritage Battle Creek

    Michigan National Guard Fort Custer Training Center

    Military History of the Upper Great Lakes

    The University of Michigan and The Great War

    The U.S. Army Center of Military History