The veterans of the Wiley B. Murray Post No. 27 will meet Tuesday, December 14th at the legion hall in San Saba for their final stated meeting of the year. The building will be open at 5:30 p.m. for fellowship and refreshments and at 6:30 p.m. a pot luck meal will be served. Members should bring their favorite mexican dish, side dish, salad or dessert. Drinks will be provided by the post.
After the meal, a program will be presented by Clay Riley of Brownwood, who will provide a presentation about the history of nearby Camp Bowie. Clay Riley was born in Dallas, Texas in 1943, and received his education at National University, San Diego,Manufacturing Engineering (SME). He has been married 47 years to Audrey Chapman Riley, Store Manager for Bealls Department Store in Brownwood. Together they have three adult daughters and four grandchildren, all in Texas.
Riley is a retired Aerospace Engineer and is a member of the Brown County Historical Commission, Brown County Heritage Association, Brownwood Public Library Trustee and a Volunteer Director - Brownwood Genealogical & Local History Branch Library. His passion is for local history and he will have a visual power point presentation to accompany his program about the history of Camp Bowie.
On September 19, 1940, the War Department announced that a camp would be built at Brownwood. Work began at the campsite on September 27, 1940. The Camp was the first major defense project in the state and there was no scarcity of labor when the building work began. In 1943, the first German prisoners of war arrived; many were members of Erwin Rommel's once proud Afrika Corps. The 2,700 men that settled in were well behaved and had become day-laborers for the farms in central Texas.
On August 1, 1946, the War Department notified Texas members of Congress that the Camp had been declared "surplus". The Civilian War Assets Administration was to take charge and began the distribution of the land and buildings. Camp Bowie remains an active military training station and recently completed construction of new facilities including a firing range.
American Legion members are reminded to pay their 2011 dues of $35.00, which can be paid to the adjutant before or after the meeting. Members should wear their service caps and may bring their family or guest.
Camp Bowie was named in honor of the Texas patriot James Bowie, and was a military training facility during World War II. From 1940-1946 it grew to be one of the largest training centers in Texas. In 1940, the war situation in Europe caused the United States Congress to determine that it was time to strengthen the defense system. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was handed the power to mobilize the National Guard units. The 36th Division of the Texas National Guard unit arrived at Camp Bowie in mid-December for their year's training, but before training was finished, war had been declared.