In 1941, the War Department began constructing the 1573-acre Camp Kilmer in order to have a staging area in close proximity to the port of New York. As many as 11,000 workmen labored daily to build the camp, which was completed in six months. They erected 1,120 buildings, including rows and rows of wooden barracks, seven chapels, five theaters, nine post exchanges, a gym, three libraries, four telephone centers, a post office, a 1,000-bed hospital, 28 miles of roadway and about 11 railheads that fed into the main line, according to a Kilmer historian.
In addition to processing and administrative detail, Camp Kilmer was partially created to accommodate the growing needs of the 19 NIKE batteries in the northeast.Located between Edison and Piscataway in New Jersey, Camp Kilmer played a vital role as a major transportation hub for U.S. soldiers traveling to and from the European Theater during World War II. More than 20 divisions staged at Camp Kilmer before being deployed to Europe. The site also hosted various Allied units which had come into port in the United States. The units would then be processed and sent to various U.S. facilities for training. Camp Kilmer occupied one of the most essential processing and administrative posts in the United States during World War II.
The Camp was deactivated in the fall of 1949, but reactivated at the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. While it was somewhat active during the Korean War, Camp Kilmer lost its status to Fort Dix as the major processing point by the mid 1950s and was made inactive shortly after in 1955.
Despite its inactive status, Camp Kilmer personnel still participated in humanitarian operations. In November 1956, the United States launched Operation Mercy as a mission to help process Hungarian refugees from the latter years of the War. In 1958, Camp Kilmer became the home of the Reserve US 2nd Army Corps Headquarters. Eventually the HQ group was attached to another unit and major military presence left Camp Kilmer.
In 1963, almost all of the 1500 acres were sold or auctioned mostly to local universities and colleges. Today, Rutgers owns a substantial portion for its Livingston College. The Edison United Soccer Association (EUSA), working closely with the Mayor and BRAC officials, purchased some of the last acres of government owned land which constituted Camp Kilmer.
Since then, there has been limited military presence on the few acres of Army land left. However, the BRAC 2005 Commission accepted DoD's proposed closure of the Camp, and so the Headquarters of the 78th Division headed to Fort Dix.
Secretary of Defense Recommendation: Close Camp Kilmer, NJ, and relocate the HQ 78th
Division at Fort Dix, NJ..
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation transforms Reserve Component facilities and command and control structure throughout the Northeast Region of the United States. The implementation of this recommendation will enhance military value, improve homeland defense capability, greatly improve training and deployment capability, create significant efficiencies and cost savings, and is consistent with the Army's force structure plans and Army transformational objectives.
This recommendation is the result of a nation-wide analysis of Reserve Component installations and facilities conducted by a team of functional experts from Headquarters, Department of the Army, the Office of the State Adjutant General, and the Army Reserve Regional Readiness Command.
This recommendation transforms Army Reserve command and control by consolidating four major headquarters onto Fort Dix, NJ; this recommendation supports the Army Reserve's nationwide Command and Control restructuring initiative to reduce Regional Readiness Commands from ten to four. The realignment of Pitt USARC, Coraopolis, PA, by the disestablishment of the 99th Regional Readiness Command allows for the establishment of the Northeast Regional Readiness Command Headquarters at Fort Dix, NJ, which will further support the re-engineering and streamlining of the Command and Control structure of the Army Reserves throughout the United States. This restructuring will allow for the closure of Camp Kilmer, NJ, and the relocation of the HQ 78th Division to Fort Dix and establishment of one of the new Army Reserve Sustainment Units of Action, which establishes a new capability for the Army Reserve while increasing the support capabilities of the Army Reserve to the Active Army. To further support restructuring; the realignment of Fort Totten and the disestablishment of the HQ 77th RRC will enable the establishment of a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Dix, resulting in a new operational capability for the Army Reserve. The realignment of Fort Sheridan, IL, by relocating the 244th Aviation Brigade to Fort Dix coupled with the Department of the Navy recommendation to close NAS Willow Grove, PA, and relocate Co A/228th Aviation to Fort Dix consolidates Army aviation assets in one location. Other actions supporting restructuring include realigning maintenance functions on Fort Dix, the closure of Charles Kelly Support Center, PA, and relocation of multiple subordinate units to Pitt USARC, PA; and the closure of five US Army Reserve Centers in the greater New York City area with relocation of those units to Fort Totten. These actions will significantly enhance training, mobilization, equipment readiness and deployment.
This recommendation reduces military manpower and associated costs for maintaining existing facilities by closing one Camp, five Army Reserve Centers, realigning five facilities and relocating forces to multiple installations throughout the Northeast Region of the United States. These actions will also improve business processes. The implementation of this recommendation and creation of these new command structures will enhance military value, improve homeland defense capability, greatly improve training and deployment capability, create significant efficiencies and cost savings, and is consistent with the Army's force structure plans and Army transformational objectives. The Department understands that the State of New York will close NYARNG Armories: 47th Regiment Marcy Armory, Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bedford Armory/OMS 12. The Armed Forces Reserve Centers will have the capability to accommodate these units if the state decides to relocate the units from these closed facilities into a new AFRC on Fort Hamilton, NY.
This recommendation provides the opportunity for other Local, State, or Federal organizations to partner with the Reserve Components to enhance homeland security and homeland defense at a reduced cost to those agencies.
This recommendation considered feasible locations within the demographic and geographic areas of the closing facilities and affected units. The sites selected were determined as the best locations because they optimize the Reserve Components' ability to recruit and retain Reserve Component soldiers and to train and mobilize units affected by this recommendation.
Although not captured in the COBRA analysis, this recommendation avoids an estimated $168.3M in mission facility renovation costs and procurement avoidance associated with meeting Anti Terror / Force Protection construction standards and altering existing facilities to meet unit training and communication requirements. Consideration of these avoided costs would reduce costs and increase the net savings to the Department of Defense in the 6-year BRAC implementation period, and in the 20-year period used to calculate NPV.
Community Concerns: There were no formal concerns expressed by the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found DoD's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and the Force Structure Plan. Community concerns were carefully weighed and considered, but the Commission did not find they rose to the level of substantial deviation. The Commission also notes that DoD will address the further requirements for the commissary and exchange at the Kelly Support Center after the BRAC recommendations are approved and the effects on the area population can be assessed.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found the Secretary's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and force structure plan. Therefore, the Commission approved the recommendation of the Secretary.
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