REYNOLDS, Pa. (WKBN) — In Mercer County, the Reynolds Drive-In hosted a special presentation on Camp Reynolds.
It was in operation from 1942-1946. At its peak, 75,000 soldiers were stationed there at one time before shipping off to the battlefields of Europe.
Over 1 million soldiers came through the camp through its operation.
“My dad was stationed here when I was born,” attendee Don Enoch said.
Enoch said his father was responsible for guarding prisoners of war — more than 1,800 were held at the camp.
“From stories from him, he was in charge of guarding German prisoners,” Enoch said.
Bob Liro shared how his father asked his mom to wear a red dress, so he could spot her in the crowd and surprise her as he was marching out.
“He broke formation to say goodbye to her and his buddy said, ‘Tony, you’re going to get in trouble,’ and he said, ‘What are they doing to do? Send me to war?’ They were married here in the chapel,” Liro said.
Before being converted into a military training camp, the area was largely potato farms. Lloyd Meyer remembered how his brother-in-law went AWOL to help on his father’s farm.
“He stayed at home and did the farming for his dad. One day one of his buddies came over and says, ‘Hey, we’re shipping tomorrow, you better get your tail back here,'” Meyer said.
The camp shuttered in 1946, but still inspires historian Art Williams, who wrote a book about it and organized this special presentation. He used to pretend to be an American soldier at war.
“I grew up down the road just to the right of the VFW. Used to fight ‘Germans’ back here as a kid with my friends,” Williams said.