Camp Reynolds - World War II Army Cam


William Hoy

(Source: Art Williams)

William Hoy was one of the million men who passed through Camp Reynolds during it's short but important existence during World War II. Although one of many, his story of his time at the camp and later on in the service is unusually interesting.  

William was born and raised in Columbus, OH and entered the Army in 1943.
After completing his Basic Training he was sent for training in Chemical warfare. Upon completion of his training he was sent to Camp Reynolds along with thousands of others to be processed for overseas assignment in the European Theater of Operations.

He arrived at Camp Reynolds shortly after the Race Riot in July 1943 and before the name of the camp was changed from Camp Shenango to Camp Reynolds in September 1943. He was stationed at the Camp for a year.

He was only at the camp four days when he responded to a Bulletin Board notice by the Special Services who was looking for someone to help out in the art department. His dad had worked in the sign business but he had no experience in the business himself. As he put it he bluffed his way through. After helping for a while he was transferred to the Special Services unit and ended up staying at the camp.

One of the main projects he worked on while at the camp was to help to create a large banner of the Constitution with a giant eagle on it that was hung in Service Club #1s as part of the Fourth of July Celebration at the camp in 1944. He also created a variety of other signs telling of upcoming events at the camp.

During his stay at the camp he lived with his wife Betty. Their first residence was in Greenville, PA at 160 West Main Street. The house was owned by a family named Reigleman which also housed several other couples.
Later his wife found a log cabin for rent at $40 a month, which was owned by a local Doctor. It had two stories with a beautiful stone fire place. The log cabin was located just outside the camp on the east side of the Shenango River in view of the German Prisoner Stockade.

After leaving Camp Reynolds he was sent to an Army camp in the state of Washington. From there he was sent over seas to Europe in time for V-E day. He was later sent to the South Pacific and was part of one of the first units to enter Nagasaki, Japan shortly after the dropping of the second Atomic Bomb on Japan.

After the war he and his wife Betty returned to Columbus OH and he worked for his father Art Hoy who had  purchased the Columbus Sign Company in the 1950's. William eventually took over for his father and now the company is run by his sons, William Jr. and Mike. The company celebrated it's 100 Year Anniversary in 2012. .

Side Note: William's brother Robert in the Army Air Force gained notoriety for his cartoon drawings on the envelopes of the letters he sent his family and friends while he was in the service. He is mentioned in Ripley's Believe It or Not.


To read more CLICK HERE

(Source: The Internet)

September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.

Next we were sent by troop train to Camp Barkley. Texas for our basic training. We spent 21 weeks there in training for overseas service. It was a cold, bleak camp. The barracks were made of plywood and the winter wind and snow penetrated the cracks and filtered into the barracks. We were then shipped to Camp Reynolds, Pennsylvania, just north of Greensburg, in the western part of the state.

My job at Camp Reynolds was a rough one. While all the other men were sleeping, I spent the night keeping the pot belly stoves going in the various barracks. It was VERY cold. I had to go to the coal bins located outside the barracks, and with a shove and bucket, would carry in the coal and keep the fires going all night. The snow got to be quite deep. There was no path except the one I had shoveled out. From there we were shipped to Camp Shanks, New York.

On December 6, 1943, Sid began intensive training at Officers Camp Reynolds in Victory, Pa., and then went on to Fort Slocum, NY. Next he crossed the Atlantic to Liverpool, England, where he was assigned to supply work in Northern Wales. 
Source: The Internet

Joseph ALBERT Samons was stationed at Camp Reynolds in early in 1944
Co A, 4th Regiment, 10th Group, Camp Reynolds, PA   ASN 6798553.
He shipped from the area of Riverside, California, approximately 24 July 1944. 
- Dolores Samons Harvell (Daughter)

Capt. J.K. Jung -served at the camp during Nov 1944.
- Gayle

The four Basiliere brothers, sons of Mr. and Mrs. W. Henry Basiliere of 118 Magill Street, are all in the Army.  They hold different grades and are in different branches.  Three of them are overseas.
Pvt. Irvin F. Basiliere, 19, is stationed with an engineer combat battalion in France.  A former foundry worker for the H. & B. American Machine Company, he was inducted into service in June 1943.  He trained at Fort Belvoir, Va., Miller Field, Staten Island N. Y., and Camp Reynolds, Pa., before leaving for England in December 1943.
- Source: The Internet    To read more CLICK HERE

HAROLD F. PLANK  (Source: The Internet)
Memoirs of World War II: The Story of a Tioga County Soldier by Harold F. Plank CLICK HERE to purchase Harold's Memoirs of his World War II experience.

Camp Croft in South Carolina near Spartanburg...
After completing our training about the 18th of May, we were put on a train and sent to a replacement depot north of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. The rumors were that we were probably headed overseas, and we were doubtful if any of us would get a furlough. So I got hold of a telephone, called my folks, and told them where I was and what the situation was; and they arranged to come to Camp Shenango to visit me. So they got in Dad’s ’37 Chevy sedan—my sisters Margie and Eileen, my Mom and Dad, and my fiancée—and they came to Camp Shenango. I was able to get a pass for the rest of the afternoon and evening to be with them. We were able to eat out and do some visiting, and at about 11:00 I went back to my barracks. They left the next morning, and that was the last time that I saw my folks for about two-and-a-half years. When we left Camp Shenango by train, we went across Pennsylvaniainto New Jersey and ended up in Camp Kilmer.

JAMES T. LING - WWII - 18 January 1943   (Source: The Internet)
To read more CLICK HERE

I took my Basic Training at Camp Hood, which was basically learning how to do "left turn", "right turn", "left face", "right face" and "about face". We learned how to salute and how to climb through barbed wire strung through muddy fields. More of an induction of what we were going to see later in life. And conditioning, we were constantly being conditioned.

We spent about three months down there, 13 weeks. I had about eight weeks Basic Training, nothing but soldiering, how to handle a rifle, how to shoot, how to bayonet. From there I had five weeks of driving a half-track and truck. I thought, "Well at least I'm back driving a truck or half-track". I didn't get into driving the tank destroyer.

After we completed our unit training, we were all sent in different directions by train. Most of us went to Shenango Personnel Replacement Depot, at Greenville, Pennsylvania. The name of this Depot was changed to Camp Reynolds September 21, 1943

On the trip north to Shenango, every time we went through a town, the M.P.s would come in and pull the shades or blinds so no one could see in and we would not see out. In Pittsburgh, PA one of our companions peeked out through the blind and yelled "Hey that’s my brother!" The same soldier had told us he lived only a few blocks from the station before we arrived. He went immediately to the door and told the M.P.s his brother was out there and they let him stand on the platform and talk with his brother until the train pulled out, which proved M.P.s can be nice people at times.

At Shenango, when we got off the train, at the first formation, they lined us up and said, very carefully, "There are no furloughs from here, if you want to see your parents, if you want to see your lover, or if you want to see anybody before you go overseas, you better go over the fence." They pointed out the area where the guards weren't too good and that's where we were to go over then fence if we wanted to take a furlough, but they said, "Whatever you do, don't stay over 30 days because after 30 days, you'll be a deserter". I didn't even think about going back home, my thoughts were to go on and get the war over with.

There was a guy taking care of one of the Officer's Barracks. He got his overseas orders so had to move out. When we fell out for formation one morning, the Sergeant in Charge wanted to know if anybody wanted to take care of the Officer's Quarters. Of course, nobody wanted to do that, so since I was one of the smallest guys in the outfit, he pointed to me and said, "come over here". I went and he said, "As of now, you are the 'Dog Robber', you are to take care of the Officer's Quarters, you clean the quarters and when they put their shoes down, you get them shined and fix them up. Other than that, your day is your own. You can do anything you want to and they pay you for it. If you don't like it you can probably get off of it by complaining, but I'll make your life so miserable you'll wish you hadn't." So I became the "Dog Robber" for a short period.

Then we received the orders to load up again. We went to the dentist, we sat there until 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon before they got to us to clean our teeth and fix what cavities we had. I had 5 cavities and I had an awfully sore mouth before I got on the train.

We went to Camp Patrick Henry near Newport News, Virginia.

Staff Sergeant ALBERT R. PANEBIANCO   (Source: The Internet)

To read more CLICK HERE

I was an infantryman with Company "K" , 157th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. Uncle Sam sent greetings to me, March 1943. After completing 13 weeks of basic training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, I was sent to Camp Kilmer, NJ, a port of embarkation. My basic training consisted of 4 weeks of close order drill, learning weapons, etc. While most trainees went through an infiltration course, for some reason or other, I did not. In fact, my first experience with an infiltration course was after the war. Nine weeks of basic training was spent in Clerk's and Stenographers school at Camp Wheeler. I was trained for duties as a company clerk, or any other field clerical position. After spending three months at Camp Kilmer, port of embarkation headquarters, typing and performing clerical duties, I was transferred to another port of embarkation at Camp Shenango, Sharon, Pennsylvania. Once again after three months of clerical duties, orders came down to ship out. One could not remain at a port of embarkation longer then three months unless you were permanent cadre. The next move was to Newport News, Virginia, where I boarded USS General Horace A. Mann on 1/31/44 headed for Casablanca.


To read more CLICK HERE

(Source: The Internet)

February 18, 1943, Lowell Tribune
First Lieut. Robert E. Schmal has just been transferred from Camp Robinson, at Little Rock, Ark., to the Shenango replacement depot at Greenville, Pa., where, he says, he has been placed in command of a company which is stationed there to "get men ready to go sailing". This place is new and a long way from being finished and there's mud everywhere, but I suppose in time things will get straightened out." 

April 15, 1943, Lowell Tribune
Fred Schmal spent last week in Greenville, Pa., visiting his son, Lieut. Robert Schmal, stationed at the Shenango Replacement Center.

April 29, 1943, Lowell Tribune
Lt. Robert Schmal, who arrived home Tuesday morning on an expected 10-day leave, was suddenly recalled this morning to report back at Shenango Replacement Center in Pennsylvania, where he has been stationed for some time. Lt. Schmal was supposed to have been transferred to a camp in Georgia, but this order was cancelled by telegram from his commanding officer last night in addition to cutting his visit home to two days.

June 29, 1944, Lowell Tribune
Promoted to Captain

Robert Schmal, son of Fred Schmal, writes his father that he has been promoted from the rank of Lieutenant to that of Captain, which, says Bob, gives him a different slant on life from an army viewpoint. Capt. Schmal, who enlisted in the army two years ago last February, is the third Lowell boy attaining that rank. The first was Capt. LaVerne McNay, formerly of Lowell and the other Capt. Abbott Dinwiddie.

October 19, 1944, Lowell Tribune
Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Schmal have returned from a visit with their son, Capt. Robert Schmal and family at Greenville, Pa.

April 19, 1945, Lowell Tribune
Captain Robert Schmal and family arrived here from Shenango, Pa. where he is stationed, last Wednesday night for a visit with his parents, sisters and brother.

ALEX MILLIGAN       (Source: Email/The Internet)

I was stationed in Camp Reynolds in the summer of 1944.  I was drum leader in the Drum and Bugle corps during that summer. 

PAUL L. GENEREUX  20th Field Hospital   (Source: The Internet)

I was drafted into the US Army on 16 September 1943 and sent to Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Washington (Army Ground Forces Training Camp –ed). Once there, I was outfitted with military clothes and gear and was put on a troop train for a seven-day trip through Oregon, Wyoming and on to Camp Barkley, Abilene, Texas (Medical Replacement Training Center –ed) for basic medical training for a duration of 6 weeks or so, then on to Brooke General Hospital (Army General Hospital activated 29 October 1942 –ed) located at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Texas. Going from Camp Barkley, which I considered a hell hole compared to Fort Sam, was like going to heaven.

In mid-January 1944 I was assigned to go overseas with the “First Provisional Replacement Battalion” in England. From Fort Sam, I went to Camp Reynolds, Greenville, Pennsylvania (Army Service Forces Replacement Depot –ed) which was an Army Camp where soldiers bound for overseas assignment were given additional training, including anti-gas warfare, live fire training, weapons shooting and so forth. After several days there, a number of us were shipped to Fort Slocum, New York.

Sid (Source: The Internet)
In 1943 Sid graduated from Indiana University after spending exactly one month short of three calendar years on campus. On December 6, 1943, Sid began intensive officers training at Camp Reynolds in Victory, Pa., and then on to Fort Slocum, NY and later was shipped to Europe.
- Internet

The Otsego Farmer (Source: The Internet)
The Otsego Farmer - Friday, October 27, 1944 Mrs. Webb's Nephew Is Killed In Action. Pfc. Gano H. Jewell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold G. Jewell of No. 13 Cromer Avenue, Schenectady, NY previously reported missing in action, was killed August 4th while serving as a field medical man in France the War department informed the parents. He was stationed at Camp Reynolds, PA before going overseas in May, 1944.

Wally Nadel - Camp Shenango - PA  (Source: The Internet)

A temporary facility for the transfer and replacement of "trained" soldiers to where they might be needed. 
From there, you could be sent North, South, East, or West. It was an isolated and uneventful place with no one ordering you to march or exercise. This is where we put back the weight we lost in basic training.

Unknown - Camp Reynolds  (Source: The Internet)
Quite a few of us were transported here by truck from Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG), Maryland a few days after finishing basic training and graduating from Ordnance School.

The Quartermaster personnel issued new G.I. garb and duffle bags upon arrival to Camp Reynolds. Some of us had to report back a couple of days later because we were issued mostly cotton-made clothes instead of wool. Hmm? I didn't know why. Another delay.

 Once we were processed, assignment documents were issued to some of us selected to report at a specific date to Camp Hood, Texas after a 15-day furlough.

The 15-day furlough was great news but the outcome was not so great. It was a catastrophe for me. Getting home to Philadelphia was a problem. The empty convoy of 3/4-ton trucks that brought us here were returning to Aberdeen, Maryland driving through the outskirts of Pittsburgh and those on furlough going in that direction were allowed to hitch on for a free ride but had to get off and manage other means of transportation from there on. I was the only one going to Philly. They let me off at a highway crossroad heading toward Philadelphia.

Hitchhiking was not a problem in those days, specially for soldiers and sailors. I was lucky to hitch a ride all the way in to a trolley-car terminal southwest of Philadelphia I was familiar with.