The Greatest Generation: Camp Fannin

Leon St. Pierre is a  veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and one of the first young servicemen to be trained at Tyler's Camp Fannin.  He was only eighteen and fresh out of high school when he stepped off the train onto the fifteen thousand acreage known as Camp Fannin.

Approximately 200,000 young American men were trained at Camp Fannin during the war. Most of them were sent to the front lines: many never returned.

Camp Fannin, located just outside of Tyler on what are now the grounds of the University Of Texas Health Center at Tyler, was originally cleared off to serve as an airfield. But the need for trained soldiers to replace those wounded and killed on the front lines, soon took precedent. In September of 1944 St. Pierre was sent to Europe and soon was in the middle of the most decisive battle of the war, the Battle of The Bulge.

St. Pierre, who had earned numerous medals, including two Bronze Stars for his service on the European front, was on a ship in the Atlantic, headed for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. In 1991, Camp Fannin veterans held their first reunion. St. Pierre was among the organizers. He now serves as President of the Camp Fannin Organization and has been instrumental in the building of the Camp Fannin Memorial, a monument to the legacy of those thosands of young men, living and dead,who began their wartime journey here at Camp Fannin