Citizens’ Military Training Camps (CMTC) were military training programs of the United States, held annually each summer during the years 1921 to 1940. The purpose of CMTC’s was to train young men (17 to 30 y.o) for thirty days in order to promote citizenship, patriotism and Americanism, as well as benefit the young men individually and instil a sense of obligation to the country through physical, athletic, and military training. Those interested filed an application, which included a medical fitness statement, and a certificate of good moral character signed by a prominent citizen such as a member of the clergy, current or former officers of the armed forces, or a schoolteacher.
The program consisted of four training levels: Basic, Red, White, and Blue. There was no obligation to join the regular service, but opportunities did exist to do so.
The largest number of CMTC participants in the III Corps area, which included men from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, trained at Camp Meade, Maryland. In 1923, about 4,000 attended Camp Meade, and the number remained high in 1940 at approximately 3,000. CMTC camps held at about 50 Army posts nationally. At their peak in 1928 and 1929, about 40,000 men received training, but as a whole the camps were a disappointment at their multiplicity of stated goals, but particularly in the commissioning of Reserve officers.
The photographic album containing the series was provided by Cronhardt and Son from Baltimore, Maryland, and depicts various activities that occurred at the Camp Meade CMTC, including rifle shooting instruction and practice; physical exams; marching; artillery practice; and cavalry training.
Among known participants were Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, Robert Penn Warren, Walter S. McIlhenny, Chuck Yeager, and William Guarnere.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Citizens’ Military Training Camp
Ghosts of DC: The Citizens’ Military Training Camp
US National Archives
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