Camp Upton New York: 10 Cool Facts

camp upton
WWI training at Camp Upton

It was an Army installation that was well used. Camp Upton has some really fascinating history behind it.

In today’s post, I am going to give you 10 cool facts about Camp Upton, New York.

#1: Creation

Camp Upton was created in 1917 as a means to house and train troops that were going to be shipped to over the Atlantic Ocean to fight in World War I. It was 1 of 3 Camps created to provide housing until troops were taken by train back to the New York Port of Embarkation. The majority of these troops were from the New York/New Jersey area.

#2: Named After

Camp Upton is named after General Emory Upton who was a great Union war strategist. Upton helped reform the United States Army into a more professional and well designed system.

#3: 152nd Depot Brigade

The unit that handled all the incoming and outgoing troops at Camp Upton was the 152nd Depot Brigade. The role of the 152nd was to receive and organize recruits, provide them with uniforms, equipment and initial military training, and then send them to France to fight on the front lines.

#4: Major General Franklin Bell

He was a veteran of the Spanish American War and good friend of Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.

Major General Franklin Bell had been given Command of Camp Upton when it opened.

#5: Irving Berlin

One of the greatest musical composers of all time was processed through Camp Upton for World War I. While there, he wrote the musical Yip, Yip Yaphank and one of his most famous songs, Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning.

That musical was later, in 1943, a Broadway hit titled This is the Army and starred the great Ronald Reagan. I had the pleasure of watching it just a few weeks ago with tears in missing one of the greatest Presidents this nation ever had.

Here is the masterful Irving Berlin doing that song from This is the Army:

#6: Alvin York

He was the most decorated soldier in World War I and also was processed at Camp Upton.

Sergeant York is best known for the action that earned him the Medal of Honor. He led an attack on a German Machine Gun Nest… Took 1 machine gun, killed 25+ German soldiers and captured 132.

I believe I will soon write a post on York all by itself.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. 77th Infantry Division: Top 10 Cool Facts
  2. 307th Infantry Regiment: Top 7 Cool Facts
  3. Sergeant Alvin C. York
  4. The Boy Scouts and The U.S. Army
  5. WW 2 Nazi Concentration Camps: 10 Sad Facts

#7: Recruit Educational Center

The Army was in need of troops and in 1919, a great idea was formed. The Recruit Educational Center was developed at Camp Upton. Military inductees who didn’t speak English or were illiterate would be taught language and also given military training. The program aimed to “Americanize” these immigrants through instruction.

After graduating, these immigrants would be able to serve 3 years in the military and once completed, they would become United States citizens.

#8: World War II

In 1940, Camp Upton was fired back up again. It became a prison for Japanese Americans who were in and around New York City when War started.

Many of these prisoners were traded for United States POWs with Japan.

#9: 1944

In 1944, Camp Upton held a convalescent and rehabilitation hospital for wounded veterans. It had bowling alleys, swimming pools and more recreational therapy.

#10: Atomic Warfare

In 1947, because of the move into the atomic age, Camp Upton was transformed into what it is even today. It is home to Brookhaven National Laboratory and operated for the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

Final Thoughts

Camp Upton has a cool history and it was the site where many famous soldiers once slept and ate before fighting for our freedom.

Do you have anything you would like to add about Camp Upton?

Just post any comments and questions below. Thank you.



About The Author

Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at

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