About Camp Fannin
Camp Fannin, Texas…named in honor of the hero of Goliad, Colonel James Walker Fannin, was located northeast of Tyler, Texas. In March 1943 Camp Fannin was officially dedicated as an U.S. Army Infantry Replacement Training Center.
There have been few military facilities located in Texas that have made greater social and economic contributions than has Camp Fannin. Camp Fannin is a place where more than 200,000 young American men became Army Infantry Replacements between May 1943 and December 1945. When they had finished their training, these soldiers were assigned to serve in both theaters of war at places with names such as, Normandy, Malmedy, Remagen,, Bougaineville and many other sites of combat. Many became casualties.
By applying the 2.4% average WWII casualty rate of all Army personelle, it is probable that at least five thousand six hundred who trained here made the supreme sacrifice, losing their lives while serving their country. Twice that many may have been wounded. Because most who trained at Camp Fannin served as infantry, these estimates are considered conservative. (A combat infantry casualty rate greater than 4.5% is suggested by some military historians.)
Today, few recognize that this WWII Infantry Replacement Training Center ever existed. Even local residents are not aware of the magnitude of the gift given by the young men who came here to learn how they could protect and preserve our freedoms.
Camp Fannin trained combat veterans who returned had conducted and deported themselves in a manner equal to those whom we honor as having made the greatest sacrifice. As suggested by one of them, “They returned not as Great Soldiers, just Grateful Soldiers.” All served their country well and honorably. All contributed in major measure to protecting our freedom as an American Heritage.
After WWII ended may of the veterans who received training at Camp Fannin returned to the area. Some married sweethearts they had met while stationed here. Others returned because they believed this area to be an ideal place to live and raise families. Business opportunities attracted quite a few. Still others have found this area to be well suited for retirement and have moved here later in life.
The area where Camp Fannin existed was returned to non-military use during 1946, and few vestiges other than foundations of some of the many buildings were built in the main cantonment area can be found. A few hardstands built in range areas where training exercises were held also remain. People live in homes or work with companies that have been built on the foundations of this place which was Camp Fannin. It can be recognized that it is indeed a place such as that referred to in the Old Testament, Isaiah 2.4, “a place where the swords are beaten into plowshares”. It is in fact a “Living Memorial” to both the site and to those who trained and served here.