In 1917, American University (AU) offered the government use of its unfinished campus for army training. At the time, AU only had two buildings Hurst Hall and McKinley. The Army used both buildings during the war years. The government established two separate camps, Camp American University and Camp Leach. The largest operation was the Engineer Officers’ Reserve Corps training camp. Camp Leach also offered training for camouflagers and foresters. Camp American University was the birthplace of American chemical warfare. Scientists working with the army’s Gas and Flame Battalion (the 30th Engineers) developed gases and apparatuses for use at the front.
A new exhibit on the first floor of Bender Library featuring photographs and postcards of Camp American University and Camp Leach will be on display through the end of 2018.