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Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee


Camp Forrest, Previously Named Camp Peay

Camp Forrest, located near Tullahoma, Tenn., was one of the Army's largest training bases during World War II. It was an active Army post between 1941 and 1946. 

The camp, named after Civil War Cavalry Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, was originally named Camp Peay. Camp Peay was named after the Tennessee Gov. Austin Peay and built east of Tullahoma as a National Guard Camp in 1926. Camp Peay covered 1,040 acres. Camp Forrest covered 85,000 acres located just beyond the old Camp Peay. 

The camp was a training area for infantry, artillery, engineer and signal organizations. It also served as a hospital center and temporary encampment area for troops during maneuvers. Maj. Gen. George Patton brought his 2nd Armored "Hell on Wheels" Division from Fort Benning, Ga., for maneuvers. 

William Northern Field, an air training base, was an addition used as a training site for crews of four-engined B-24 bombers of the Army Air Forces.

Incoming troops had the normal amenities such as service clubs, guest houses, library, post exchanges, post office, hospital, religious services, theaters, showers, Red Cross and Army Emergency Relief facilities. Recreation facilities include swimming, archery, tennis, a sports arena and a nine-hole golf course. 

Camp Forrest officially became a prisoner of war camp May 12, 1942. The camp housed Italian and German POWs. Prisoners became laborers at Camp Forrest in the hospitals and on farms in the local community. 

In 1945, the U.S. government implemented an Intellectual Diversion Program to enlighten Germans on the American way of life and increase their appreciation for our country. This program used educational and recreational media to change views of POWs, and the program was successful with many prisoners. 

Tullahoma was greatly affected by the installation of Camp Forrest. Because of maneuvers and operations, civilians became accustomed to blocked roads, traffic jams, crowded stores, the absence of mail delivery and driving at night without lights. Soldiers camped out on lawns and fields; many crops and fences were destroyed. 

In 1940 the population in Tullahoma was 4,500. By the end of the war, the population had grown to 75,000. Many military people who moved in for construction and operation of the camp remained after the war. 

In 1946, the war was over and Camp Forrest and Northern Field were declared surplus property. Buildings were sold at auction, torn down and carted away. Water and sewage systems and electrical systems were sold as salvage. All that remained were roads, brick chimneys and concrete foundations. 

Soon after the close of the camp, the area was selected for the site of the Air Force's new Air Engineering Development Center. In 1951, the center was dedicated by President Truman and renamed the Arnold Engineering Development Center in honor of General of the Air Force Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. General Arnold was World War II Commander of the Army Air Corps and the only Air Force officer to hold 5-star rank. 

AEDC is the most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world with more than 58 aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, rocket and turbine engine test cells, space environmental chambers, arc heaters, ballistic ranges and other specialized units. Twenty-seven of the center's test units have capabilities unmatched anywhere else in the United States; 14 are unmatched anywhere else in the world. Facilities can simulate flight conditions from sea level to altitudes above 300 miles and from subsonic velocities to those well over Mach 20.


Arnold Engineering Development Center, Office of Public Affairs; 100 Kindel Drive, Suite B-213; Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., 37389-2213; DSN 340-4204, Commercial (931) 454-4204.