Camp Swift – Texas (PDF)


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History of Camp Swift ……. Called the Model Camp of the United States by many officers and enlisted men who have served in other Array stations, Camp Swift is unique in many respects. Its terrain is rolling, affording perfect drainage. In the hottest of Texas summer, it is fanned by breezes from the Gulf of Mexico. Land area of the Camp is approximately 52,000 acres. The entire Government Reservation is fenced, and considerably more than 48 miles of fencing was required for this purpose. The area surrounding the Camp is rich in Texas history. The town of Bastrop, county seat of Bastrop County, derived its name, as did the county, from the Baron De Bastrop, staunch friend of Stephen F. Austin who colonized Texas. The Camino Real, the Royal Road, which in days prior to Texas’ independence and statehood, linked the Eastern Tejas area with Mexico, of which Tejas (Spanish spelling for Texas) was then a State. Construction of Camp Swift was achieved in about four months. This tremendous feat was accomplished by a force which at times approximated 12,000 workmen. In this brief time what had been an expanse of woodland and farm land was converted into a modern Army camp, with paved streets, sanitary facilities and utilities, ready to accommodate its first contingent of troops. Colonel Lawrence A. Kurtz, who was designated to command this new Post, reached Camp Swift in April, 1942, accompanied by a small group of officers who constituted his staff. The Post flag was raised for the first time on May 4, 1942, when the Camp was activated. Shortly following that date the first units of troops arrived in Camp Swift. The 95th Infantry Division was activated here on July 15, 1942. Numerous specialized units had been previously activated, and many others were activated following that date. Camp Swift derives its name from the late Major General Eben Swift, a distinguished officer who served his country in the Spanish-American War and later in many parts of the world. Camp Swift is the home station for training purposes of a number of units, including at this time the 97th Infantry Division, Army Ground Troops, Army Special Troops, Air Base Security Units, Army Service Forces, and many specialized groups. Streets of the Camp are lettered and numbered. The principal thoroughfare, leading to the Main Gate is Pershing Boulevard, which runs in a general east-west direction. Streets are numbered and run north and south crossing Pershing Boulevard. Avenues are lettered and run east and west, paralleling Pershing Boulevard. At the northern end of the cantonment area is the section occupied by the Infantry Division now in training. At the southern end is the Station Hospital section. From north to south the cantonment area, that is, the portion of the camp in which there are buildings, stretches approximately five miles.