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As If They Were Ours: The Story of Camp Tyson, America's Only Barrage Balloon Training Facility

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As If They Were Ours: The Story of Camp Tyson, America's Only Barrage Balloon Training Facility

by Shannon McFarlin
Camp Tyson was unique and historic because it was the only barrage balloon training facility in the U.S., so soldiers who were there had an experience unlike any other. The Camp also became ingrained in the lives of Henry Countians — most every home in Paris, Tennessee, had a soldier and his family living with them (including the author’s) and the camp is credited with modernizing Paris and the county. Camp Tyson was also the home of the all-black 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, which landed on the beaches on D-Day. They were trained at Camp Tyson and their accomplishments have been largely unheralded. Additionally, both Italian and German prisoners of war were held there during and after the war. First-person accounts from white and black soldiers who were at the camp are included. Much of the book is first-person interviews, as well as documents from government sources that have never been published before.

  • Chapter 1: Eddie Finds A New Home
  • Chapter 2: Motors Roared, Hammers Thudded And Saws Swished
  • Chapter 3: They Just Came Out And Destroyed Our Farms, Our Barns, Our House"
  • Chapter 4: "They Didn’t Feel Like Strangers"
  • Chapter 5: Flying Elephants In The Sky
  • Chapter 6: "It Just Exploded"
  • Chapter 7: Shot Down Over Lake Erie
  • Chapter 8: Good Times For Entrepreneurs
  • Chapter 9: "They Would Throw Hands of Candy And Gum At Us As They Marched By"
  • Chapter 10: "We Reached Out To Those Boys As If They Were Ours"
  • Chapter 11: "War Is Hell, But Pretty Entertaining, Too"
  • Chapter 12: "The Day Jeanette MacDonald Came To Town"
  • Chapter 13: Death In An Army Camp
  • Chapter 14: "The Deuces"; The African-American Experience
  • Chapter 15: "We Were There. We Did Our Part"
  • Chapter 16: Working There Was An Education In Itself
  • Chapter 17: A Close Encounter Of A General Kind
  • Chapter 18: "This Is Your Life, Pearl Routon"
  • Chapter 19: 4,000 Hamburgers To Go
  • Chapter 20: "Paris Has Nowhere To Go But Up, So I'm Staying Right Here"
  • Chapter 21: Hospitality, Southern Style
  • Chapter 22: Haul 'Er Down
  • Chapter 23: From Surplus To POW Camp
  • Chapter 24: Didn't You Hear? The War Is Over!
  • Chapter 25: "It Was Considered Sinful"
  • Chapter 26: "Don't Come Back From Washington Without A Signed Deed"
  • Chapter 27: Soldiers Tell Their Stories
  • Chapter 28: "Hi There, Soldier!"
  • Chapter 29: Keepers Of The Flame

An important and welcome addition chronicling a community's contribution to the war effort. On a national and local level, it relates the importance of individuals' pulling together to defend the country and to defeat the enemy, while telling about the effect of the camp on the small Southern town, Paris, and how the town and its residents affected the young soldiers. Highly recommended for anyone interested in history, especially in time of World War II. —J. Routon

I live 5 miles from Camp Tyson. Great book. —Mark D Warren

A scrapbook of anecdotes. —William T. Warren, III

Never knew about the camp. You learn something everyday. —Robert A. Jones

You will enjoy learning about Camp Tyson in Paris, TN, and its importance during WWII. —Lynne

Amazon Customers:

My maternal grandmother worked in the laundry at Camp Tyson. On page after page, I encountered familiar names. Several of my schoolmates are featured as their northern fathers married local girls and remained in Paris.

The book was wonderful. I live near the sight talked about in this book - and knew many of the people who were involved in the Camp Tyson story. I bought enough for my children and some friends - and everyone loved the book.

Yes I enjoyed it very much, I grew up in Mckenzie, Tennessee, and remember Camp Tyson. Clearly remember the buildings, I was young at the time, but the book brought back memories of that time. Well written.

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