On November 21, 1941 General Marshall activated the Tank Destroyer Force which was developed by the Army Ground Force's General Leslie J. McNair, and implemented by General Andrew Bruce at Camp Hood, Texas. They were charged with the mission to SEEK, STRIKE and DESTROY enemy tanks.
Camp Hood is located in southwestern Bell and southeastern Coryell counties in Central Texas. Most of the 218,000 acres owned by the United States Army is located in Coryell County. On January 14, 1942, at the beginning of United States involvement in World War II, it was announced that a Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center would be established near Killeen, Texas. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce was selected as the first commander.
The first major unit, the 893d Tank Destroyer Battalion, arrived from Fort Meade, Maryland, on April 2, 1942. As other troops began arriving, some 300 farming and ranching families were required, on very short notice, to give up their land. Camp Hood was officially opened on September 18, 1942, and has been continuously used for armored training ever since. The installation was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood.
The mission at Camp Hood was almost immediately expanded to include a Replacement and Basic Training Center at North Camp Hood. At times, as many as 100,000 soldiers were being trained for the war effort. During the later part of the war some 4,000 German prisoners of war were interned at Camp Hood. Text courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Society.
1.) Camp Hood History - A 37 page document, by an unknown author, presenting the history of Camp Hood from it's inception through January, 1949. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.
2.) Letter regarding naming of Camp Hood - A short letter, written Sept. 27, 1982 by Lucille Vann Cohen, describing how Camp Hood came to be named. Courtesy of the Tank Destroyer Association by L. L. Gill, TDA Historian.
3a.) Welcome to Camp Hood Booklet - A 24 page booklet presented to the arriving soldiers, which provided them with basic information about the facility and the surrounding areas. It was provided compliments of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, which used it to promote their services in addition to the information about the camp. Booklet courtesy of Henry Anderson.
3b.) Welcome to Camp Hood Booklet (Mid war edition) - Issued with a greatly reduced amount of tank destroyer references, clearly showing the shift in the camp's focus. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
3c.) Welcome to Camp Hood Booklet (Late war or post war edition) - A later version which includes edits, done by the original owner of the booklet. It no longer focuses on the tank destroyers but shows the insignias of many other units that were stationed or trained there. Most notable is that the attended telephone centers are crossed out and probably no longer there. I can only assume that the amount of calls had been greatly reduced and the technology had probably improved, allowing the calls to be handled off-site. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
4.) This Is Camp Hood - A 32 page camera trip through the Army's Tank Destroyer Center, which was printed using the gravure process by the Ullman Company of Brooklyn, NY. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
5.) Camp Hood Picture Folio - A collection of 18 images with short descriptions showing life at the camp. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
6.) Photo Gallery 1 - Over the next few months, we will be adding a collection of over 200 photos, taken at Camp Hood, TX, between May and September of 1942. These photos include images of facilities from the ground and air, many command personnel, equipment and training as well as events and activities. This grouping, identified as the "Camp Hood Collection" was provided courtesy of the MCoE (Maneuver Center Of Excellence) Museum Division Archives, Armor Branch.
I want to especially thank Len Dyer, who is the Director of the Armor Collection and Justin Batt, who is an archivist and did the conversion of the photos. These photos have not been available to the public since they were moved from the Patton Museum. Additionally, they have never been available electronically.
Please note that the archival section of the Museum Division is currently CLOSED to the public. Please read the following notice for more information.
7.) Original Tank Destroyer School Officers - Shown in the photo are, sitting L to R: Lt. Col. Wheaton, Director of Automotive Dept.; Col. Cole, Operations Officer; Col. Beatty, C.O. Student Regt.; Brig. Gen. Mayberry, Commandant; Col. Devine, C.O. Officers Cand. Regt.; Col. Berry, Director of Tactics Dept.; Lt. Col. Maloy, Executive Officer.
Standing L to R: Lt. Col. Schermerhorn, Director of Pioneer Dept.; Major McGregor, C.O. of Academic Regt.; Lt. Col. Frederick, Director of O.C.S. Dept.; Lt. Col. McNair, Director of Weapons Dept.; Capt. Davis, Director of Reproductions Dept.; Major Poole, Adjutant; Lt. Col. Howell, Secretary; Capt. Miller, Property Officer; Maj. Dansereau, S-4 and Fiscal; Lt. Col. Whalen, Director of Communications Dept. Photo courtesy of Jim Moore.
8.) Officers Roster of Unit Commanders and TDC Staff - A 14 page list of TD Commanders and Officers that served at the Tank Destroyer Center. The list shows rank, organization, and home addresses. Document is dated January 1944. Provided courtesy of Paul Stevens.
9.) OCS Graduation Programs - The following are programs for the Camp's Officer Candidate School or OSC Classes:
OCS Class #3 - Graduation Ceremony held on October 30, 1942
(Courtesy of Henry Anderson)
OSC Class #16 - Graduation Ceremony held on February 4, 1943
(Courtesy of Henry Anderson)
OSC Class #27 - Graduation Ceremony held on April 30, 1943
(Courtesy of Sean Claymore)
OCS Class #35 - Graduation Ceremony held on June 25, 1943
OSC Class #40 - Graduation Ceremony held on August 6, 1943
(Courtesy of Dan Ford)
10.) Officer Candidate Class Photos
Class #13 Photo - The graduating class of officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of January, 1943. Donald L. Kern is shown in the sixth row from the front, second from the right. Also shown is Joseph C. Boyer, who is shown sitting in the first row, seventh from the right. Photo courtesy of David Kern.
Class #16 Photo - The graduating class of officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of February, 1943. Photo courtesy of Henry Anderson.
Class #22 Photo - The graduating class of officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of March, 1943. The only identified person is Marvin E. Mikles, who is standing in the 5th row from the front, 4th from the left. Unlike many of the officers who went on to serve in TD units, Marvin went on to Jump School and ultimately served with the 101st Airborne. Photo courtesy of Don Mikles.
Class #27 Photo - The graduating class of officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of April, 1943. The photo was provided by Damon Pressman whose grandfather, Leonard J, Michaels, graduated with the class. He is shown in the fifth row from the front, eighth from the right. He went on to serve with the 654th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Class #54 Photo - The graduating class of officers from Camp Hood's Tank Destroyer OCS of March, 1944, poses with what looks like their mascot sitting front center. Commanding officers listed are 1st Lt. Barron B. Posey, 2nd Lt. Dana L. Williams, 2nd Lt. Joseph P. Ludan and 2nd Lt. Floyd W. Coley also sitting front center in the dark uniforms. This photo was provided courtesy of Tom Grannis, whose father Robert L. Grannis is shown in the front row, 4th from the right.
11.) Tank Destroyer Replacement Training Center (TDRTC) Welcome Booklet - A small booklet given to new personnel upon their arrival at the TDRTC.
12.) TDRTC Welcome Booklet (Version 2) - A second version of the Welcome Booklet. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
13.) Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1942 - This is not only a menu of the food from the November 26, 1942 event but it also includes the names of all the officers of the Tank Destroyer School based at Camp Hood. At the time, Brigadier General H.T. Mayberry was the Commandant but what is interesting is that it lists at least six officers that would ultimately be assigned to my father's unit, the 6th TD Group.
14.) Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1943 - It is interesting to come across the same document from one year later. There have been a number of changes, including the switch of Col. Branner P. Purdue from commanding the 6th TD Group to head of the Tactics Department in place of Col. Logan Berry who leaves the Tactics Department for the 6th TD Group.
15.) Student Regiment Officers - A single sheet listing of the officers assigned to the Student Regiment on April 26, 1944. This date was just a month and a few days prior to the Normandy invasion.
16.) Motorcycle Training at Camp Hood - From the Harley-Davidson Magazine "The Enthusiast" of May 1943, the article reviews both the driving and mechanical training practices learned while at Camp Hood. Colonel Wheaton, Director of the Automotive Dept., is shown sitting proudly on one of the motorcycles. The magazine was sent free of charge to all factory registered owners or for 50 cents per year to all others. From the letters I read in the magazine, many of the soldiers looked forward to receiving their copy of the publication no matter where in the world they were stationed, England, Africa, Germany and the United States. Additional information on Harley-Davidson's role in WWII and use of their motorcycles during war times can be found on the Harley-Davidson website.
17.) Camp Hood Pistoleers - A few small articles about the Camp's pistol club, which was started on February 1, 1943, on the approval of Maj. Gen. A.D. Bruce. Bruce was the Commanding General of the Tank Destroyer Center at the time. The club had 13 charter members who all had to qualify as "Expert" to join the club. The club had its on patch which you can see here. Courtesy of Colby Kenyon.
18.) Carpenter Crew Photo - This image from March of 1943, shows foreman M.M. Pattillo and his crew of 38 men, who were responsible for the much of the construction done at Camp Hood, TX, over the next few years. Fort Hood's website identifies that approximately 300 families were relocated and building of the new camp began in 1942. In less than a year, facilities for 95,000 soldiers were created.
19.) TDS Training Aid Shop Group Photo - Taken on May 9, 1943, a group of 15 men are shown who were tasked with the creation of many of the training aids used by the Tank Destroyer School. Since part of a tank destroyer man's training included live rounds, many of the aids didn't last long and would need to be replaced regularly. Commanding the group was Lt. John T. DeJarnette who is listed elsewhere as the Assistant Property Officer. The names are listed on the image but we have also provided the men's names and ranks on page two of the document. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
20.) Civilian Identification Card - This card belonged to Mrs. Lillian C. Corella, who is listed as a housewife. She might have been the wife of Ray J. Corella, who was was a veteran of WWII and may have been stationed at Camp Hood. Both he and Lillian are buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
21.) Camp Hood Regulations Manual - A later publication from August 1, 1946, which supersedes the previous regulations from July 1, 1944. By this time, the tank destroyer training had long since been stopped and other units were now being trained there. I'm sure the regulations were revised to accommodate the change in personnel and the fact that we were no longer at war. The document is large so we have divided it into four parts. Courtesy of Henry Anderson.
22.) The Hood Panther Newspaper - We were able to find 57 issues of the newspaper published at Camp Hood, Texas. We had them scanned professionally with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so you are are able to search them using Adobe PDF's "Find" feature. We have also provided an overview of the issues, which is listed below.
I want to especially thank Bill Whitney and his staff at MBI Imaging Systems for their work to digitize these documents.
* Courtesy of Joel Hanby