About 90 miles northeast of Atlanta, it was the training ground for a new kind of soldier: paratroopers.

French president mentions North Georgia training camp in D-Day address

Paratroopers trained at Camp Toccoa were in the first wave of soldiers landing at Normandy in 1944

A little-known World War II training camp in the North Georgia mountains was mentioned Thursday by French President Emmanuel Macron in his Normandy speech for the anniversary of D-Day. 

Macron said the young fighters who came to Normandy by air and sea on June 6, 1944 were "far from the grueling training that began in the mountains of Georgia," according to a translation. Macron delivered his address in French. 

It was an apparent reference to Camp Toccoa, a facility on northeast Georgia's Currahee Mountain that trained 18,000 paratroopers and support personnel during World War II. Sending soldiers into combat by parachute was at the time a new and experimental specialty. 

Originally a National Guard training ground, what became Camp Toccoa was opened by the United States Army in 1942. 

WWII Easy Company of 506th Regiment, Parachute Infantry, training in Toccoa. (SPECIAL PHOTO)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The men of the 501st, 506th, 511th and 517th Parachute Infantry regiments did not win World War II themselves, but they played a decisive and dramatic role, according to an article in the AJC by Tyler Estep. 

"They were the first Americans sent into France on D-Day," Estep wrote. "Their daring exploits would help break Hitler’s back in Europe and gain them worldwide fame." 

The location of Camp Toccoa is under renovation and restoration by the nonprofit Camp Toccoa at Currahee Project. It is located outside of Toccoa, in Stephens County, about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta. The group held its eighth D-Day at Currahee Park on May 31 and June 1.

Read Tyler Estep's 2017 article about the history and restoration of Camp Toccoa

D-Day 75th Anniversary in Georgia

Georgia veteran recalls gripping scene on Omaha Beach 75 years later

Atlanta and Georgia events, including observance at National Infantry Museum

Remembering four Georgians who were killed in the Normandy invasion

An Atlanta journalist broadcast the first eyewitness reports from D-Day

From Atlanta 1944: Soldiers at an Atlanta army hospital hear the D-Day news

On this 75th anniversary, many D-Day veterans have passed

Foe, now friend: Germans find place at D-Day sites in France

President Trump reads FDR’s 1944 D-Day prayer at ceremony in England 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X