On December 10th, 1940 a contract was let to build Camp Davis, and Army Camp beside Holly Ridge, North Carolina. This development caused the population of Holly Ridge to explode from 28 in 1940 to 110,000 in 1943. Camp Davis was built in five months from the time the contract was signed. Camp Davis was made up of 46,683 acres. The first Barrage Balloon Training Center was started at Camp Davis. Camp Davis also had the distinction of being the only post with anti-aircraft, seacoast defense, and barrage balloon that fell under one command.

Anti-Aircraft training continued from April 1941 through September 1944 when the operation was closed and transferred to another base. After the war – Camp Davis was assumed by the Marine Corp and used for training.

Camp Davis came back to life again on June 1st, 1946 when the Navy took over. It became the base for “Operation Bumblebee” which was a secret guided missile testing program for the Navy. Camp Davis eventually ended in 1948 but the rich patriotic history still remains. Here is a pamphlet with the full history of Camp Davis that was prepared at the 50th anniversary.


These items were scanned from Mr. Russell Smith’s mother’s (Berna Smith) photo albums and scrap books. A photo of her is included on the Camp Davis pass. His mother and two siblings lived in Folkstone while his dad was at Camp Davis. Apparently he was there for nearly a year since the photos range from March 1943 to December 1943. This seems like a long time. Perhaps he was part of the Camp operations and not just in training.

Take a stroll through memory lane with the photographs from that time: