Camp Bowie (3)
Camp Bowie (3) (1940-1946) - A World War II Camp established in 1940 near Brownwood in Brown County, Texas. Named Camp Bowie after James Bowie, an early Texas patriot who died at the Battle of the Alamo on 6 Mar 1836. Abandoned as a federalized camp in 1946.
World War II
Established as an infantry and artillery training center at Brownwood, Texas on 19 Sep 1940 for the 36th Division, Texas National Guard. First occupied at the end of December 1940 by the 36th Division, commanded by Major General Claude V. Birkhead.
The original 2,000 acres of Camp Bowie expanded to 120,000-acres by October 1942,
Eight divisions trained at Camp Bowie, along with many other units that came for a short time to use the training grounds. During the War at least 30,000 men were at Bowie for training and at times the population surged to 60,000 men.
On 10 Jul 1943 a Prisoner of War (POW) camp was established at Camp Bowie. The POW camp was built to hold about 3,000 prisoners and initially held German prisoners of war, mostly from Field Marshall Erwin Rommell's defeated Afrika Corps. The prisoners arrived at the Santa Fe train depot and were marched to the camp.
The POW camp was reportedly built in just 30 days by Galveston contractor Charley Oehler. Structures included wood frame military-style barracks, mess halls, medical facility, a command building and various recreational buildings including a theater and even a beer garden. In September 1943, the POW camp housed some 2734 German POWs. In 1945, the camp was changed from Army POWs to a camp for German Naval personnel.
Camp Bowie was declared surplus by the War Department as of 31 Aug 1946. Permanently abandoned 30 Sep 1946.
Camp Bowie remains an active military training camp.