Clay County enjoys a rich and colorful military history. From its first fort, Pupo, through today's Camp Blanding we have almost never been without some local military presence. Would it surpise you to know that the original Blue Angels practiced at a most unusual landing field called Branan Field? Ft. Heileman, the Second Seminole War fort at the Middleburg boat ramp, is one of the most researched sites. And several other camps have been used sporadically during the British, Spanish, Seminole War, and Civil War eras.
The naval base at Green Cove Springs is highlighted in the Mothball Fleet exhibit.
Camps & Forts
Camp Blanding has been and remains, by far, the largest military operation in Clay County, both in acres and in soldiers. More than 750,000 men and women in uniform have passed through the camp.
1943 aerial photos of the entire county are available, including a much more detailed version of this view of Camp Blanding when it was in full operation.
Ft. Heileman was a Second Seminole War fort at the fork of Black Creek, at the present site of the Middleburg boat ramp.
A private website has collected information about landing fields in Clay.
Belmore Naval Outer Landing Field
Benjamin Lee Field
Fay Irwin conducted research about Ensign Benjamin Lee and prepared a report available at the Archives: "Ensign Benjamin Lee, II & Lee Field GCS"
Branan Naval Outer Landing Field
If you have an interest in exploring the 1943 aerial photo set, this would be a good place to start since the Fleming Island Landing Field is clearly visible. Choose the 1943 index and zoom in to Fleming Island.
Foremost Naval Outer Landing Field
Middleburg Naval Outer Landing Field
A bay on the south side of Doctors Lake, indicating the probably location of an early saw or sugar mill.
Also the location of a small bombing range during WWII.
Can you help us identify these airfields? They appear on 1943 aerial photos. Do you know? We have identified all other known camps and forts in Clay County.
This one is on flight 9-27-43 in the 1943 aerial photo set.
This one is on flight 3C-27-43 in the 1943 aerial photo set.