placing a page on the Internet several years ago about the McLean
Prisoner Of War Camp located north of McLean
in Gray County during WWII,
seldom a week goes by that we don't receive a request of more information
about the installation.
The facility was constructed and opened in 1943 and closed a few
days after Armistice was signed in 1945. Little interest was shown
by the public in the massive POW program and the details of operation
were not classified. As a result, much of the information has been
lost or destroyed. Slowly, as such information is being found today,
interest by historians and collectors in the program is steadily
In 1996 the McLean/Alanreed Area Museum decided to accumulate whatever
information possible in order to place a Texas Historical Marker
at the old camp
site. They issued a plea to the public for copies of any such information
they might have.
The request generated tremendous community response resulting in
the museum placing the historical marker, building a large display
in the museum, creating both an American and a German notebook of
information, the writing of a book on the subject and a page on
While assembling this array of information and memorabilia, it was
evident the feelings of certain former employees, guards and veterans,
families of veterans and townspeople ran the gamut of emotions from
compassion to hatred. No doubt the placement of the camp
had a traumatic effect on the community.
Aside from the feelings, the stories of the camp
operations are interesting as both construction and operations were
geared to supporting the war effort. Miro Pakan, an early-day resident
of the Pakan Community east of McLean,
was a farmer and stockman, and was issued one of the earliest Department
of Transportation trucking permits. He was called on to haul most
of the freight coming into the camp. Here are a few stories Miro
told about this operation.
Because of the war demands almost no iron, gas or rubber was used
in the construction and operation of the camp. Only limited vehicle
use was used to haul supplies from the railroad at McLean.
During the first many months horses pulling wagons and an old wooden-wheeled
ambulance was used to haul supplies, garbage and personnel inside
the camp. Dare to guess where the horses came from?
Miro was sent
to the Fort Reno, Oklahoma Military Reservation where the U.S. Cavalry
had been disbanded and where hundreds of Cavalry horses had been
gathered before being sold to the public. A total of 36 ex-Cavalry
mounts were hauled to McLean
for work. When unloaded at the camp, hundreds of German prisoners
gathered to see an actual western horse and clamored to feed, care
for and curry them. Oddly, foreigners gave these old horses the
best care of their lives.
prisoner program, some thought the men were coddled and resented
their good treatment. However, all treatment was required by the
Geneva Accords and inspections were made monthly for compliance.
Miro hauled the bedding of the prisoners and stated all the bed
covers were padded furniture packing, like he used to haul furniture
in his truck, and not the nice wool blankets used by the U.S. military
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" April 21, 2008
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