Camp Barkeley was a large United States Army training installation during World War II. The base was located eleven miles southwest of Abilene, Texas near what is now Dyess Air Force Base and the community of View. The base was named after David B. Barkley, a Medal of Honor recipient during World War I. The camp was 70,000 acres in size and had a population of 50,000 at its peak of operation.
Construction of the camp began in December 1940 and was completed in July 1941. Before it was finished, the 19,000 man 45th Infantry Division began to occupy the camp. Other units that trained at the camp include the 11th Armored Division, and the 12th Armored Division. On February 1, 1944, the 1846th Unit POW Camp was activated at Camp Barkeley. At its peak, in March 1945, the POW camp housed 840 German prisoners.
Camp Barkeley was officially closed in September 1945 and dismantled. The land, which was leased, reverted back to the original landowners. Seventy years after the start of Camp Barkeley, its influence can still be seen and felt in Abilene. The influx of servicemen altered Abilene in a variety of ways resulting in History In Plain Sight.
Stay tuned to this site for more information on the next installment in the History In Plain Sight series, Camp Barkeley.