Camp Mackall Adds To Richmond County Military Heritage

August 3, 2011

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Camp Mackall (pronounced MAY-Cahl), originally named Camp Hoffman, sits on the eastern edge of Richmond County. And while most residents readily know that it is a military installation, the history behind the facility is nothing short of amazing. The training and proving grounds are something that Richmond County should be proud to host.

Construction began on the camp in November of 1942, just as the tide of World War II was beginning to turn in both the Pacific and European theatres. In just four months, engineers had turned a dense pine forest into a commanding facility of over 60,000 acres, with two airplane runways, over 1,700 buildings, 65 miles of paved roads and a 1,200-bed field hospital.

Camp Mackall was used primarily as a facility to train U.S. paratroopers during World War II. The pilots that flew them trained alongside and activity was at a maximum as America began its final push to defeat the Axis Powers. Today, the camp is used to train the elite Special Forces soldiers of the United States Army. Within its secretive perimeters lies a mock POW camp, where soldiers undergo simulated capture, torture and resistance techniques. The training compound where all of these specific exercises take place is named after former Col. James “Nick” Rowe. The near-unbeatable obstacle course is nicknamed “Nasty Nick” in his honor.

Richmond County-resident and former Editor of the Richmond County Daily Journal, Tom MacCallum has recently printed a book entitled, “Camp Mackall and its times in the Sandhills of North Carolina”, which covers the facility’s rich history. Copies can be purchased for $20 each at the Rankin Museum of American Heritage in Ellerbe, NC and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 1300 Broad Avenue in Rockingham, NC.

It’s a history worth learning about, as Camp Mackall lives on in the minds of the thousands upon thousands of soldiers who learned just how to become one at this treasured facility.

Because Camp Mackall is a private military installation, there are no tours available to the public, but please check out the map below to see the location of this facility.

Maps: View a map of this area.

  • Dianne McKillips

    Trying to locate family of Ollie Ray. He was a world war 2 vet. Born May 2 1922; died May 17 2002 in North Carolina. I believe he was at camp macKall in 1943 or 1944.

    • Richmond County Tourism Development Authority

      Hi Dianne,

      Feel free to contact Tom McCallum – if you provide us an email, we can give you his phone number. He wrote a book about Camp Mackall entitled, “Camp Mackall and its times in the Sandhills of North Carolina”. If he can’t locate your relative, you should contact the Military’s Archive or Veteran’s Offices:

      National Military Personnel Records Archive:
      http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/

      National Archives Veteran’s Service Records:
      http://www.archives.gov/veterans/

      Hope that helps, thank you for getting in touch.

      -RCTDA


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