The 1600-acre tract that comprises Camp Johnson was originally known as Montford Point, named after Colonel James Montford, a civil war veteran whose family actually traces back to the American Revolution. In January 1941, the Marine Corps acquired the land to establish the Marine Barracks New River.
On 26 April 1942, Montford Point was opened under the command of Colonel Samuel A. Woods and a select group of enlisted staff noncommissioned officers (SNCO's). This group of SNCO's were known as the "Special Enlisted Staff." Their mission was to set up the camp and then function as drill instructors for the new recruits. The first black Marine recruits were selected for their leadership and demonstrated maturity for they would be the backbone of the black SNCO/Drill Instructor core. Nearly 20,000 African-American recruits were trained at Montford Point until 1949, when the U. S. military was fully integrated.
One of the most famous of the black recruits was Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson. Private Johnson would eventually become a drill instructor at Montford Point and later become the Sergeant Major. On 10 April 1974, Montford Point was renamed Camp Johnson in honor of Sergeant Major Johnson.
The entrance to Camp Johnson is the site of the Beirut Memorial, the North Carolina Veterans Cemetery, and the Vietnam Memorial. The Beirut Memorial was constructed in remembrance of the 273 Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors who lost their lives in Beirut and Grenada in 1983.
Today Camp Johnson is the home of Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools (MCCSSS) which consists of four MOS producing schools, four tenant commands and the Navy's Field Medical Training Battalion. Many of the original buildings can still been seen today aboard Camp Johnson, for example the present day Chapel was also the Chapel then.