Nearly 60 Years Later, Veterans Come Together and Remember Camp Fannin - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/5/02 - Camp Fannin, Smith County

Nearly 60 Years Later, Veterans Come Together and Remember Camp Fannin

Nearly 60 years ago in April, 1943, groups of young men made their way to Tyler, Texas to Camp Fannin. There, boys were trained for battle and made into soldiers for war.

Today, soldiers and sergeants, corporals and privates, who were taught and trained at Camp Fannin came together to remember their experiences at a reunion of the Camp Fannin veterans.

"We didn't know at the time but one group we sent to the battle of the bulge. I worried about those boys, cause they were cannon fodder, they were bodies and a lot of them got killed right at the beach there and we did all we could do for them train them in the weapons and how to conduct themselves," Say Bob Hobkirk.

Hobrick also says today his memories are bitter sweet.

"I've been told by a lot of people that come back, they say you guys sure were tough on us but you saved our life."

Because of the training the men received at Camp Fannin solider like Tommy Slaughter survived battle after battle in the Philippines and Japan.

"I was proud I went. It was hell... I'll tell you... miserable. but I enjoyed it there was good and bad," says Slaughter.

Mr. Slaughter can remember many a humorous anecdote, though.

"We were in mud and I had whiskers and it had dried. I had to get scissors and cut those whiskers off and then shave."

But he remembers the pain of war just as clearly.

"You can read a whole set of encyclopedias about war you have someone explain it and make you picture it but you do not know war until you have been baptized by enemy fire."

But all of the veterans of Camp Fannin and World War II agree that no matter what they will always be brothers, bonded together for eternity.

"You feel sorry for the ones that are not here But if you are a veteran you always know each other regardless," says Slaughter.

Tonight, the men and women who were stationed at Camp Fannin will hold a USO show and tomorrow they will tour the camp.

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