The Camp Bowie Army Base is located in Brownwood, Texas. The base is currently occupied by the Texas Army National Guard and used for training purposes. The official address of the camp is 1510 Chennault Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76113.
Camp Bowie is in the center of Texas. Therefore, there are many transportation options available around the state. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom are both roughly 2.5 hours away. The San Antonio International Airport is an exact 3 hour drive south.
The climate of central Texas is known for its cool winters and hot summers. The average high temperature does not fall below 60° F throughout the year. Precipitation amounts reach around 30 inches yearly, with the most rain coming in April and May.
The Camp Bowie Historical District in Fort Worth, Texas is not associated with the current base. Before moving to its current site in Brownwood, the Camp Bowie base was situated in Fort Worth. The area where the base used to be is now a booming neighborhood, with both residential and commercial buildings. The present-day camp in Brownwood is around 2 hours from the previous site in Fort Worth.
World War I
In the midst of World War I, the U.S. War Department ordered for the establishment of a training base for the Texas Army National Guard's 36th Infantry Division unit. In 1917, construction of Camp Bowie began just minutes from downtown Fort Worth. The site stretched over 2,000 acres and was positioned by Lake Worth.
The camp was named after James Bowie, a historical figure in Texas. Bowie, apart of the Texas militia, played a promient role in the Texas Revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo.
During World War I, tens of thousands military members trained at Camp Bowie before heading to Europe. The relations between Fort Worth and Camp Bowie were very positive, as shown by parades held to celebrate the 36th Infantry Division. As the war ended, the camp was designated as a demobilization center. The area emerged as a trendy residential area.
World War II
In 1940, the emergence of World War II sparked the need for further development of U.S. National Guard units. Camp Bowie was soon moved to the town of Brownwood, two hours southwest of Fort Worth. The new site was more isolated and larger, consisting of over 9,000 acres.
The 36th Infantry Division once again trained at the reactivated base. The unit was the first to land on the European Continent during World War II, where it participated in the VIII Corps Brownwood Maneuvers in June 1941. After the U.S. entered the battle, Camp Bowie was used as a prisoner-in-war camp as well. Thousands of German soldiers were sent to Camp Bowie, where they were forced to work on the local farms.
Tragedy struck the 36th Infantry Division in March 1942. A unit of the division was captured at sea by Japanese forces and sent to work camps in Thailand. The conditions were dreadful, resulting in 20% of the 36th division members dying in capacity. The group was referred to as the "Lost Battalion", as their fate was unknown until the end of World War II.
The War Department declared the camp "surplus" following the end of World War II. Today, the camp is used as an Army Reserve and Texas National Guard Training Center.
Lodging on base is accessible through the Gate 1 Inn. Many room options and amenities are available for low costs. To receive information and/or make a reservation, call (325) 643-5463.
Options off base include the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Brownwood. Just a few minutes from Camp Bowie, the Inn has complimentary breakfast, free wifi, and a fitness center. Feel free to call the Inn at (325) 641-8085 or visit their website.