Fort Crowder (2)
Fort Crowder (2) (1941-1946, 1953-1958) - A World War II U.S. Army Fort first established as Camp Crowder in 1941 near Neosho, Newton County, Missouri. Named after Major General Enoch H. Crowder, (Cullum 2909), provost marshal of the United States during World War I and author of the 1917 Selective Service Act. Post abandoned in 1946, reactivated in 1953 for the Korean War and finally deactivated in 1958.
Established in 1941 as an armor training center and repurposed as a U.S. Army Signal Corps replacement training center. Troops were trained in forty different communications specialties including radio, radar, telephone operation and maintenance.
In addition to the Signal Corps communications courses, the post hosted an Army Service Forces training center and an officer candidate prep school. The post also found use as an infantry replacement training center.
Camp Crowder's first commander, Major General William S. Rumbough, left the post in 1942 and went on to become the Army's chief Signal Corps officer in the European theater during World War II. He oversaw the Signal Corps preparations and operations for the D-day invasion and the final defeat of Germany.
Camp Crowder also hosted a large prisoner of war camp with mostly German POWs. The POWs worked within the camp in support jobs as butchers, auto mechanics, bakers, and in the laundry.
By 1943 the Army had acquired some 42,786 acres in both Newton and McDonald counties for the post.
The post was deactivated in 1946 and placed in caretaker status. Many of the temporary WWII barracks were declared surplus and sold.
In 1953 two permanent barracks and a disciplinary barracks were built. The post was reactivated as a permanent installation and used as a reception center for newly inducted draftees. The fort was deactivated again in January 1958 and portions were transferred to the U.S. Air Force for use as a buffer zone for a liquid-fueled rocket manufacturing plant.
The permanent barracks were obtained as surplus and formed the core of the community college campus for Crowder College in 1962. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages some 4,358 acres used by the National Guard and in the mid-1980s, the remaining parcels were transferred to various public and private entities.