LOCATION: 7 miles northwest of the city of Gainesville, TX and
essentially bounded by three roads forming a triangular pattern (Roads
numbered 420 on the north, 1200 on the west, and 1201 on the east).
Gaineville is approximately 6 miles south of the Texas-Oklahoma border.
Interstate 35 today runs north-south through the western edge of the
POINT OF CONTACT: Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, 101 S.
Culberson Street, P.O. Box 518, Gainesville, TX 76240 Telephone (817)
SIGNIFICANCE: The 103rd Infantry Division was assigned to Camp
Howze for further training and maneuvers during the period of 18
November 1943 - 20 September 1944.
The remains of what constituted the hospital complex at the north end
of the camp, 1998
HISTORY: (From a pamphlet published by Southwestern Bell
Telephone while Camp Howze was still an active installation)
Development of Camp Howze - In all phases of work and training
carried on here since activation day, 17 August 1942, Camp Howze has
typified the spirit of America in this war. This huge new infantry
division training camp is the result of America's determination to win
in the quickest possible manner. Its fighting units have been trained to
enter battle with the same "hurry up" attitude.
Camp Howze is a temporary cantonment, designed for immediate utility
and built in a hurry. But the natural desire of men to have pleasant
surroundings is apparent. Everywhere, units have laid neat sidewalks of
gravel, and well-tended plots of grass surround orderly rooms and mess
Actual construction of the railroad siding, wells, and roads for Camp
Howze began in April 1942. By September, barely more than five months
later, the first soldiers moved in to begin their duties while
carpenters and electricians continued to work around the clock
completing barracks and other buildings.
Much of the colorful history of the West made on ground now covered
by barracks or used for artillery ranges here. Where jeeps, half-tracks,
and scout cars roll through Black Hollow in the range area, desperadoes
once ambushed stage coaches and robbed the passengers. The north
reservation along the Red River a year ago was still the country of the
Western novels. Now some of that cattle country serves as an artillery
shell impact area. Other land gives infantry soldiers excellent maneuver
The country is a great deal like that in which Major Gen. Robert Lee
Howze first saw service. General Howze, for whom the camp is named, was
a veteran of the two major wars, an Indian campaign, and the Philippine
Insurrection. he was twice cited for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Born at Overton, Texas, on 22 August 1864, General Howze died at
Columbus, Ohio, 19 September 1926.
The same type of rolling plains which gave General Howze his first
taste of action now are giving soldiers the basic training the need to
defeat their enemies. Over the thousands of acres of Camp Howze,
hundreds of men are learning the rugged profession of the modern
soldier. Two divisions which served the country in World War I have
alredy made use of the excellent training terrain here.
This immense Army Ground Forces training area is directed by the
Eighth Service Command with headquarters in Dallas. The Camp Commander
is Col. John P. Wheeler. The 1885th Service Unit operates the camp's
headquarters, supply, service, and police sections.
Service Clubs - Reserved solely for enlisted men are three
Camp Howze Service Clubs. Generally the clubs are open from 0800 to 2200
daily except Saturdays when closing time is 2300. The clubs offer
dances, variety shows, games, camp radio programs, good reading, or just
a place to relax and write letters home. Cafeterias operate in
connection with each club, as well as complete soda fountains. Long
distance telephone offices are located on the balconies of the clubs.
Libraries - Reading for pleasure and education is offered on
the well-stocked shelves of two camp libraries, open to all military
personnel. Located in the south wings of of the two main Service Clubs,
each library oprates just like the one back home. Books may be drawn for
two weeks on regular library cards. The libraries are open from 1200 to
2200 daily, and open at 0900 Sunday.
Theaters - Six War Department theaters provide the latest
Hollywood productions in camp. Two large theaters are located in each of
the Division areas, and smaller houses serve the Station Complement and
Special Detachment. Single admissions to all theaters are 15 cents.
Coupon books good for 10 admissions cost $1.20. The theaters are used in
the daytime to show troops training films. USO-Camp Shows play there in
the winter season.
Recreation Buildings - Everything from basketball to
Regimental dances takes place in the huge Recreation Buildings along the
camp's main streets. One building is provided for each Infantry
Regiment, one for Division troops, and one for Division artillery.
Indoor athletics, stage shows, dances, and other special service
activities are held in the buildings.
Outdoor Theaters - On the parade ground of each Division area
is a red, white, and blue painted Outdoor Theater, scene of colorful
USO-Camp Shows in the summer season. Camp variety shows are presented
there, and thousands of GI's cluster around the footlights for band
concerts and informal programs.
Camp Exchanges - Everything essential to the soldier, from a
new toothbrush to an ice cream soda, can be bought in Camp Exchanges.
Commonly called the PX, the Exchange across the street from the Orderly
room sells everything at prices much below "outside" rates.
Twenty Exchanges serve soldiers here, with dry cleaning and barber
service offered in Exchanges serving troop areas. PX 19 is the camp
clothing store. PX 20 is the cafeteria. Both are located near the Camp
Laundry on Lincoln Avenue. All the PX counters sell soft drinks, beer,
and ice cream. During warm weather the soft drink sales are outdoors in
beer gardens. Mobile PX units serve troops in bivouac areas. Profits
from Exchange sales are divided equally among units which patronize the
Religion - The soldier's spiritual welfare concerns the Army
equally as much as his physical well-being. Chaplains of all faiths and
denominations conduct weekly services in 11 camp chapels and in addition
are ready to give individual consultation and advice. Chapels, of
standard design, are the only buildings of their type in the Army. A
schedule of services in all camp chapels is published weekly in The
Howitzer. Religious services are conducted in the field for all troops
who cannot return to camp on Sunday.
Transportation - Camp Howze is served by two bus lines. Dixie
Trailways uses Gate One, and Gainesville Bus Lines travels through Gate
Two. Both bus lines cover the entire camp and terminate in Gainesville.
Fare to Gainesville is 15 cents. Fare within camp is five cents. From
Gainesville, connections may be made on three bus lines, the Santa Fe
and MKT railways. soldiers may obtain furlough rates on inter-city
Communications - A large dial telephone exchange, adequate to
meet the needs of a fair-sized city, provides the official telephone
service for Camp Howze. In addition to dial equipment, Camp Howze had a
modern switchboard at which three operators may be on duty to handle
incoming calls, outgoing official long distance calls and furnish
assistance on calls. Also, Camp Howze is served by teletypewriters over
which two-way written conversations may be held with distant cities.
Telegraph - Through the Camp Signal Office at Polk Avenue and
12th Street soldiers send and receive telegrams. The office is open 24
hours a day, and has both Western Union and Postal Telegraph circuits.
telegraphed money orders cannot be cashed at the camp office, but must
be taken to Gainesville. Western Union in Gainesville is at 312 E.
California Street, open from 0730 to 2200. Postal Telegraph is in the
Turner Hotel, open from 0800 to 1900 on weekdays. Soldiers must have
"dogtags" or a pass for identification when cashing a money
U.S. Mail - Soldier and civilian postal workers handle the
mail through four branch post offices located in Camp Headquarters,
Station Hospital, and Division Headquarters. Money orders and stamps may
be purchased at all post offices.
American Red Cross - When a soldier has financial or family
troubles, the American Red cross field service men are ready to help.
The Camp Red Cross office at the corner of Anderson and Polk Avenues is
a branch of a national network which serves every community in the
nation. The Red Cross will help soldiers in obtaining emergency
furloughs by verifying an emergency at the soldier's home. Loans will be
made in cases of emergency. The Red Cross also operates a recreation and
welfare service at the Station Hospital, which includes the Red Cross
building and lounge. Games and magazines are among the many things
provided by professional and volunteer workers to aid patients.
Army Emergency Relief - Army Emergency Relief is still another
agency which stands ready to help soldiers and their families in time of
financial stress. The AER officer in Camp Headquarters is qualified to
make loans or outright grants wherever necessary.
Camp Newspaper - Over a year of service to the soldiers of
Camp Howze is on the records of the Camp Howze Howitzer. Its soldier
staff covers all important news events in camp, and edits contributions
from company reporters. The paper is distributed free each Friday.
Contributions should be submitted to the Camp Headquarters Public
Relations Office by Tuesday night preceding publication. The paper is
published by the Public Relations Branch, and is financed by the Camp
Banking Facilities - For GI guys with enough money to worry
about keeping it in a bank, the First National Bank of Dallas is
inaugurating bank service in camp on or about October 1. The Dallas
First National, largest institution of its kind in the Southwest, will
open the branch adjacent to Service Club One guest House, on Polk Avenue
north of 12th Street.
Visitors - If a letter from mother comes next week saying she
intends to visit you in camp, it's "double time" on those
arrangements for her arrival. You must arrange for room in one of the
Guest Houses, and be ready to meet her at the gate so she can enter
camp. Military Police at the gate will call you when Mom arrives. Until
someone arrives at the gate to identify her, Mom will just have to wait
in the gate house. Guests are allowed to enter and leave camp if they
are in the company of the soldier they are visiting. Otherwise they must
have a pass. Temporary passes are issued at the gate, good for seven
days. Permanent passes are obtained at the Provost Marshal's office, and
cost 50 cents.
Guest Houses - when Mrs. John Doughboy comes to visit, the
Army provides a clean, comfortable place for her to stay. Two guest
Houses have been built next door to the Main Service Clubs. Each House
has 28 rooms, and accomodates 56 guests. The charge per person is 75
cents a day. Plain but adequate furnishings are found in the rooms,
which guests care for themselves. reservations should be made at least a
week in advance. Soldiers may telephone the hostess, or call at the
lobby. In case guests crowd facilities, those visiting men in the
hospital will be given preference, and no time limit is set on their
Automobiles and Traffic - Automobile traffic is carefully
regulated in Camp Howze. Top speed for any vehicle in camp is 25 miles
an hour, except where a lower limit is posted. When passing troops, all
vehicles must slow to 10 miles an hour. Speed limit for trucks in camp
is 20 miles an hour, except where otherwise posted. A private car must
carry $5,000 property damage insurance, and $5,000 to $10,000 public
liability insurance before a permanent pass will be issued allowing that
car to enter camp. Permission to drive a private car in camp must be
obtained from the Provost Marshal's office near the Camp Stockade.
Drivers are warned to use proper hand signals. Left hand straight out
signals left turn. Left hand upward signifies right turn. Left hand held
down signals stop.
,b>Legal Aid - The Camp Judge Advocate will give legal advice to
any soldier, free of charge. His office is in Camp Headquarters.
Soldiers are requested to call the Judge Advocate's office, telephone
306, for an appointment.
War Savings Bonds and Stamps - The best investment in the
world is the United States. U.S. War Bonds and Stamps are on sale
throughout the camp, supervised by the Camp Finance Officer. Bonds may
be purchased at the Camp Finance Office in Headquarters, or at the pay
tables each pay day. through the payroll deduction plan, soldiers may
set aside an amount of their pay each month for War Bonds. War Stamps
are on sale at the Post Office.
The State of Texas has placed a commemorative marker at the northwest
corner of the intersection of Farm-to-Market (FM) Road 1202 and
Interstate Highway 35. The inscription on the marker reads:
(One Mile West)
In operation from 1942 to 1946, Camp Howze served as an infantry
training facility during World War II. It was named for General Robert
Lee Howze (1864-1926), a native Texan whose distinguished career in the
United States Army began with his graduation from West Point and
included service in France, Puerto Rico, Germany, a South Dakota Indian
War, and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902)
Clifford McMahon of the Gaineville Chamber of Commerce first
contacted federal authorities with the idea of establishing a military
installation here. Attracted by the community's active endorsement of
the plan, the government activated Camp Howze on August 17, 1942, under
the command of Colonel John P. Wheeler. In addition to infantry
training, the base was also the site of a German Prisoner of War camp
and an Air Support Command base, now part of the Gainesville Municipal
Airport. Services provided for the soldiers included Camp Exchanges,
libraries, chapels, theaters, service clubs, and a base newspaper,
"The Camp Howze Howitzer."
The economic and social impact of Camp Howze on Gainesville was
significant and was instrumental in the town's rapid growth and
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Appreciation is extended to Southwestern Bell
Telephone Company for the pamphlet it published during World War II, and
which adds immeasurably to this web site.