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Camp Custer was built in 1917 for military training during World War I. Named after Civil War cavalry officer General George Armstrong Custer, the facility trained or demobilized more than 100,000 troops during World War I. Following WWI it was used as a training center.On August 17, 1940, Camp Custer was designated Fort Custer and became a permanent military training base. During World War II, the post had an area of 16,005 Acres, and Quarters for 1,279 Officers and 27,553 Enlisted Personnel. More than 300,000 troops trained there, including the 5th Infantry Division (also known as the “Red Diamond Division”) which was sent to Iceland in 1942 to protect the North Atlantic convoy routes, and in 1944 landed in France shortly after D-Day. The division saw much combat and sustained heavy casualties, particularly at the Battle of Metz. In 1943, Fort Custer was the activation point for many Army inductees from Chicago, Illinois and other parts of the midwest. New troops received their equipment before being sent by train to Basic Training or other duty assignments. The primary purpose of the camp was to function as a Military Police Replacement Training Center. Fort Custer also served as a prisoner of war camp for 5,000 German soldiers until 1945.

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