Camp Upton was built in 1917 as an induction and training facility for new soldiers who were to fight in World War I. The camp was named after Major General Emory Upton, a Union general in the Civil War. Construction began in the summer of 1917. When the first men arrived on September 10th, two-thirds of the camp had yet to be completed. The new soldiers were put side by side with the laborers to help complete the camp. On December 20th, the camp was officially declared complete, and turned over to Camp Commander Major General J. Franklin Bell.
In October, General Bell put into action a sixteen-week training program, which included almost every aspect of infantry combat. French and British officers were brought to the U.S. and instructed the men in tank, trench and gas warfare. The draftees trained in the use of hand grenades and machine guns, and professional boxers taught the men hand-to-hand combat.
From these raw recruits came the nucleus of the 77th Division. Officially formed before the first draftee arrived in camp, the 77th was to gain recognition for its valor at the Argonne Forest in August of 1918.
With the war's end in November of 1918, Upton's use was limited. The camp served as a demobilization site for returning veterans, but the Army soon decided that Camp Upton was of no further use, and it was deactivated.
In 1944, Camp Upton was used as a hospital to treat wounded veterans of the war. It also served as a Prisoner of War Camp, when in May of 1945, 500 German prisoners were sent to Camp Upton.
In 1947, the camp was replaced by Brookhaven National Laboratory, to conduct scientific research. The lab remains in operation to this day as a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It currently staffs 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff as well as over 4,000 guest researchers annually.
“Camp Upton.” BNL Blood Drives: 56 Facts, www.bnl.gov/about/history/campupton.php
Genealogy, Long Island. “CampUpton.” History of Hempstead Village, longislandgenealogy.com/CampUpton.html