Site of main entrance to Camp Barkeley, one of the nation's largest military camps of World War II. At peak, 60,000 men were in training here. Named for Private David B. Barkeley of the 89th Division, who died on a secret scouting expedition behind German lines during the Meuse-Argonne Battle of World War I. Among famous units trained here were the 45th and 90th Infantry Divisions and the 11th and 12th Armored. A medical replacement training center, the largest in the country, was also established here, with 15 battalions. In May, 1942, the Medical Administrative Corps Officer Candidate School was activated and graduated about 12,500 candidates. Camp Barkeley eventually grew to be a complete city unit twice the size of Abilene of the 1940s. It had a 2,300-bed hospital, 2 cold storage plants, a bakery, 4 theaters, 2 service clubs for enlisted men, 15 chapels, and 35 post exchange buildings. The military personnel were housed in hutments, except for some 4,000 in barracks. Part of the post was also a German prisoner-of-war camp. Once some of the prisoners escaped, to the alarm of Abilene citizens, and others attempted to tunnel under the fences. Camp Barkeley was declared surplus in 1945.
US 277, S of Abilene Abilene, Texas
Year Erected: 1969
Marker Type: 27" x 42"