December 7, 1941
The first soldiers arrived at Camp Chaffee (which later became Fort Chaffee), the same day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Fort Chaffee, just outside of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and Barling (Sebastian County) on Arkansas Highway 22, has served the United States as an army training camp, a prisoner-of-war camp, and a refugee camp. Currently, 66,000 acres are used by the Arkansas National Guard, with the Arkansas Air National Guard using the fort’s Razorback Range for target practice. Construction on Camp Chaffee had begun on September 9, 1941, as part of the Department of War’s preparations to double the size of the army in the face of imminent war. The camp was named after Major General Adna R. Chaffee Jr.