First Officers Training Camp

Location: IH-10 at Boerne Stage Rd, San Antonio, TX

The first World War came to America on April 6, 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the declaration, passed by Congress, that a state of war existed between the United States of America and Germany. Immediately thereafter, eight camps were established in the U.S. to train officers for combat leadership. The first was at Leon Springs, Texas, and on May 8, 1917, three thousand volunteers assembled at Camp Funston on the Schasse Ranch (now a part of Camp Bullis near this site) for training in various branches of the army. They endured three months of intense training and 1,846 young men graduated on August 15, 1917, as second lieutenants. The length of their training resulted in the term "90-day wonders." Embodying their motto "brave men shall not die because I faltered," the members of the first officers training camp served with distinction in the war, many of them highly decorated for valor in combat. Almost 300, many highly ranking colonels or generals, returned to active duty for service in World War II. Three of those trained here later became governors: Beauford Jester of Texas, James R. Beverley of Puerto Rico, and Charles H. Martin of Oregon. Many more "first campers" were prominent leaders in business, industry and government throughout Texas and the United States. Following their training and service, the former comrades in arms organized the "First Officers Training Camp Association" in 1931. Members residing in 30 states and several foreign countries gathered for annual meetings for more than fifty years. Now succeeded by generations of modern soldiers and officers, the First Officers Training Camp veterans leave a legacy of honor, courage and service to their country. (1999)