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Camp Keyes

The Maine Army National Guard headquartersis is located at Camp Keyes in Augusta, as is the Maine Military Historical Museum. Named for General Erasmus Darwin Keyes, a notable Civil War Union Army Corps Commander, Camp Keyes has been an integral part of Maine's rich military heritage since the 1860's and before. Camp Keyes, up to WWII, was also unofficially known to local central Maine residents as "the Muster Ground".

There are many accounts of bivouacking and training at Camp Keyes in the published histories of Maine's Civil War Regiments. Later, returning soldiers, who were ill, may have been hospitalized here. Additionally, North's History of Augusta, also discusses the fact that Civil War bound units traditionally stayed at Camp Keyes before or after receiving their "Colors" from the Governor at the State House.

The Second Maine Infantry Regiment (later redesignated the 103rd Infantry) was called into active military service of the United States on several occasions from Camp Keyes. In 1898 the entire Maine National Guard was mobilized but only volunteers were taken. In June 1916 the organization was mobilized for duty on the Mexican Border, then in April 1917, for World War I.

In the years between WWI and WWII, Camp Keyes became the principal annual encampment site for the Guard's 103rd Infantry and the 152nd Field Artillery Regiments. In 1941, the Adjutant General's Department, an element of State Government, was permanently established at Camp Keyes where the Headquarters for Maine's military forces has remained. A core of full time state and a few federal employees managed federal and state resources allocated to the Guard from Camp Keyes.

During World War II, a small number of Italian and German prisoners were housed temporarily at Camp Keyes on their way to work harvesting Maine's forests. There was also a U. S. Army military police battalion stationed here prior to deploying to the European Theater. Additionally, the Maine State Guard operated from Camp Keyes. They took over as the Governor's response force for Maine's natural disaster assistance and civil disturbances in the absence of the mobilized National Guard for World War II.

After World War II, Camp Keyes continued to be the command and control hub for the Army and Air National Guard and their respective Active Component Advisor Staffs. The daily business of administering, supplying, paying the Guard people and maintaining Guard equipment is directed or happens here. This included selected mobilizations for the Korean Conflict and Operation Desert Shield and Storm.

 



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