Camp Clark building demolition nears completion

The Missouri National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team VI trains at Camp Clark in Nevada, Mo., in February, 2012. The unit trained at the Missouri Guard camp prior to deployment to Afghanistan. (Ann Keyes/Missouri National Guard)

By Ann Keyes

NEVADA, Mo. - The landscape at the Missouri National Guard's Camp Clark in Nevada has changed with the demolition of more than 60 structures originally built in the 1920s. Once used as barracks, the outdated buildings were most recently used for storage.

"This gives us room to expand, to build new mess halls, new billets or whatever we need," said base operations supervisor Lt. Derek Forst. "There is no impact on training from the demolition of these buildings."

Camp Clark is a 456-bed military training facility spread over 1,300 acres. Primarily used to train Missouri National Guard Soldiers over drill weekends and annual training, the site is also used as a mobilization site for deploying Soldiers and Airmen.

Most recently, the Guard's Training and Evaluation Battalion got the Missouri Guard's Agribusiness Development Team up to speed before departure to Afghanistan. Next, Springfield's 935th Aviation Support Battalion will train before deploying.

"This is the mobilization site for the Missouri National Guard," said Forst. "Any Soldier going overseas comes through here for at least 30 days of training.

In addition to Missouri Guardsmen, other state Guard's utilize Camp Clark, said Forst, as well as law enforcement personnel and Missouri Department of Conservation employees who use the facility for field training. Everyday citizens can be found on Camp Clark during hunting season, as deer can be taken by bow in season.

While most of the buildings set for demolition are now razed, a few will be preserved for historical purposes. The camp itself holds historical value, said Forst, pointing out a now-empty prisoner of war cemetery marked by faded wooden crosses. Between late 1942 and mid 1946, Missouri was home to more than 10,000 German and Italian POWs, many housed at Camp Clark.

Currently, Camp Clark is the only Missouri Guard facility with an in-ground pool. The site has an Army helipad, urban training site, six rifle ranges and a 9-milimeter pop-up range. Newer 110-bed billets sit alongside spots left vacant from building demolition.

"We're expanding training systems, facilities, barracks and classrooms," said Forst. "The future at Camp Clark looks good."

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More than 60 buildings at Camp Clark in Nevada, Mo., have been demolished to make way for newer structures and expanded training facilities at the Missouri National Guard site. Some of the 1920s-era buildings will be preserved for historical purposes. (Ann Keyes/Missouri National Guard)

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