With the approach of World War II, amphibious warfare training centers were hurriedly built. Camp Carrabelle opened in September 1941. Construction began in July 1942 and the camp was renamed in honor of Colonel Gordon Johnston (1874-1934), a highly decorated Army officer and veteran of multiple wars. The 165,000-acre camp served as an Amphibious Training Center and Armed Service Forces Training Center for soldiers from all branches of the military during the war. Once referred to as the "Alcatraz of the Army" by columnist Walter Winchell, the camp housed around 10,000 troops at any one time and rotated between 24,000 and 30,000 from 1941 to 1946. Nearby islands and beaches, particularly Dog Island and St. George Island, were used as landing points for amphibious exercises. Florida's sandy beaches, swamps, and jungle-like forests allowed the military to simulate the conditions of landings in the European and Pacific theatres. Camp Gordon Johnston provided some of the toughest military training in the world and was the Army's major amphibious training center. The camp was responsible for training nearly 250,000 men and women before it closed in June of 1946.