A WWII tank destroyer on its way to a demonstration at the open house at Camp Edwards
A soldier holds a new M1161A1 hand grenade simulator during a demonstration of the more environmentally friendly training grenades.
An ambulance crew uses a litter to transport a casualty from a Blackhawk helicopter during eXportable Combat Training Capability exercises.
Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts Army National Guard depart Tactical Training Base Kelley.
Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment performs an exercise during annual training 2009 at Camp Edwards.

Camp Edwards is a military training facility located on the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) on Upper Cape Cod. It is the largest training area in the north-east region. Camp Edwards occupies a 15,000 acre training area hosting units from Massachusetts and the entire region.

Camp Edwards, along with the Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Otis Air National Guard Base, and other federal and state agencies, aims to accomplish the objectives of Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Camp Edwards history

The adjutant general of Massachusetts appointed a board of six Army National Guard officers in 1931 to discover a site for a new military camp. Cape Cod was initially identified as a feasible area for the new camp in 1933.

In April 1935, a bill was signed to fund the purchase of a campsite and establish a Military Reservation Commission.

Acquisition of up to 200,000 acres of land in the Cape Cod area was approved by the War Department in September 1935.

“The Massachusetts Army National Guard gained operational control over the base in 1975.”

Construction began in 1935 and a large number of buildings were built and two runways were constructed at Otis Field by 1940.

The Massachusetts National Guard units began formal training at Camp Edwards in 1936. Large tent camps were setup to serve the accommodation needs of the troops.

The base was transferred to the US Army under a lease agreement signed in 1940. Camp Edwards and the MMR hosted major units and conducted troop training during World War II.

The US Army began to withdraw from Camp Edwards and the Otis Air Force Base was re-designated as Otis Air National Guard Base in 1973. The Massachusetts Army National Guard (MAARNG) gained operational control over the base in 1975.

Design and construction

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the federal government built 63 buildings and two, 500ft wide turf runways at Otis Field between 1935 and 1940. Around 600 people were employed in the work.

The basic structure of the cantonment area was set up by early 1938. The US Army initiated a major mobilisation construction programme during World War II.

The Walsh Construction Company was contracted to build the initial 1,300 buildings in the cantonment area. A railroad spur was built at Sagamore. The peak of construction occurred in November 1940, with 18,343 employees working in three shifts, completing 30 buildings a day.

The project was completed within 125 days between September 1940 and January 1941. It served as the national prototype for other camps built using the 700 series drafts.

Continuous developments at Camp Edwards made the site a modern training facility in the north-east. Two new training facilities were opened in June 2008.

Camp Edwards facilities

Training facilities at Camp Edwards include manoeuvring and patrol training areas, small arms ranges, helicopter landing zones, nuclear, biological and chemical training bunkers, and a dedicated road network for convoy and driver training.

“Camp Edwards is served by the Otis Air National Guard Base located within the MMR.”

Training Support Center at Camp Edwards features a range of facilities including simulated training, rappel towers, obstacles and a driver training area.

The Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer (VCOT) simulates Baghdad and other geospecific areas.

It offers mission rehearsals, leader training and after action reviews.

Camp Edwards has barracks-style and townhouse accommodations housing approximately 2,500 people. Three dining facilities, as well as meeting and conference facilities are available at the base. Recreational facilities include a golf course, gymnasium, movie theatre, bowling alley, swimming pool and sports fields.

Air facilities

Camp Edwards is served by the Otis Air National Guard Base located within the MMR. The Otis Field has two runways surfaced with asphalt / concrete. The United States Air Force Space Command radar system PAVE PAWS installed on the field is operated by the 6th Space Warning Squadron.

The PAVE PAWS detects and tracks sea-launched (SLBM) and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).