North Carolina’s National Guard and their families got some much needed support recently from Gov. Perdue and  the state of NC. For starters the state believes the opening of the NCNG training facility in Butner will  be more  convenient and economical for the troops which means keeping families closer together.

(About the Video: Support for our National Guard, Town Hall Website, Governer Perdue announces additional support for North Carolina’s National Guard and their families)

From Rep. Miller’s Press Release:

Rep. Brad Miller (NC-13) delivered remarks at the dedication ceremony for the new Camp Butner Barracks Facility which is part of troop training improvements for the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG).

The Congressman secured nearly $1.4 million in funding for the NCNG training site at Camp Butner in the FY09 Military Construction Appropriations Bill. Camp Butner already had a housing shortage and training at the site has quadrupled over the last five years, increasing the need. The new construction will minimize costs for the NCNG by providing economical and convenient housing for troops.

             (About the Video: NCNG Rollover Training at Camp Butner)

In addition to the barracks facility, a multi-phase construction project at the training site includes a dining facility, maintenance areas and logistical facilities. The improvements will also support the use of Camp Butner as an alternate Command Post in the event of a disaster or terrorist attack.  The Department of the Army has mandated that each State’s Joint Forces Headquarters develop such contingencies.

Approximately 4,880 acres of Camp Butner are used as a training facility for the National Guard, Army Reservists and active duty Army personnel. 10 firing ranges are operational, with training exercises consisting of combat pistol, night firing, rifle qualification and a new multi-purpose machine-gun range. The camp is also used for pre-mobilization training for troops.  

The reopening of Camp Butner as an active training facility has been a work in-progress. But as with anything, there are questions which have prompted concerns from residents in the proximity of the camp. Most concerns relate to noise during training, as well as environmental concerns regarding air and water quality. To address those concerns, in March of 08, a Camp Butner Joint Land Use Study was funded to minimize potenial  future issues and conflicts associated with the growth expected. The project was funded (according to the Kerr Tar Council) with a U.S. Office of Economic Adjustment grant with a 10 percent match from Durham and Granville counties. To support the JLUS, a working group was formed to provide technical input, which included data from a Camp Butner Public Opinion Survey . The data complied by the Camp Butner Joint Land Use Study  is to be released in a final report and it is expected to be released to local government this month, March 09. The JLUS report includes Land use compatibility and recommendations as well as future land use for Granville and Durham Counties.

The stated goals of the JLUS are as follows:

  1. Ensure the compatibility of land uses between Camp Butner and the surrounding communities in the short- and long-term.
  2. Conduct education and outreach to surrounding communities regarding Camp Butner history, activities and mission.
  3. Ensure environmental protection, including air quality and water quality, on Camp Butner lands and in the surrounding communities.
  4. Ensure public involvement in the JLUS planning process and implementation phase.
  5. Protect the health, safety and welfare of the employees of Camp Butner and the residents in surrounding communities.

One touted benefit of the camp’s operations by local area government is its contributions to the local economy.  Southern Granville and Northern Durham Counties has the potential for continued postive growth and with this growth will come new residents and businesses to the area. In lays the potential for conflicts regarding residental property values, noise from training activites as well as environmental concerns. The Kerr Tar Council said, “The training activities are expected to increase over time and all of camp operations will add to the addtional traffic, noise, and environmental impacts being felt due to residential and business development in the area”. These are all issues the JLUS will hopefully address.

The History of Camp Butner (information complied from multiple sources) [1]

During World War II, the Camp was used as a training facility for U.S. Army soldiers. Camp Butner also housed a military hospital, firing/ammunition ranges and prisoners of war.

In 1947, the United States War Department closed the active military installation and transferred much of the property, including the large hospital, to the State of North Carolina. The North Carolina National Guard (NCNG) continues to use approximately 4,880 acres as a training facility for National Guard soldiers and airmen, Army Reservists and active duty Army personnel.

The War Department acquired the former Camp Butner property from private land owners in 1942 to be used as a training and cantonment facility during World War II. The camp was primarily established for the training of infantry divisions (including 78th, 89th, and 4th) and miscellaneous artillery and engineering units. The ordnance used at the camp included rockets, mortars, grenades, and artillery rounds up to 240 mm. Ordnance and explosives (OE) that may been countered within the camp include: 2/36-inch rockets (practice and high explosive (HE), rifle and hand grenades, 20mm through 155mm HE projectiles, 60mm and 81mm mortars, anti-personnel practice mines, and demolition items to include TNT.

(About the Video: Shooting at the 1000 yard target at Camp Butner, NC.  The rifle being used ” is a .308 FN SPR with a 10X Super Sniper scope firing 175 grain Sierra Match Kings”).

[1] Background/Butner Land Use Study by the Kerr Tar Council, Cause for Concern in the Triangle by Ron Howell