Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums (on post, be prepared to stop at security checkpoint).
The Texas Historical Commission (THC), U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bliss, and the El Paso County Historical Commission will dedicate an Official Texas Historical Marker, which tells the history of the Fort Bliss Enemy Alien Detention Station during World War II, on August 16, 2014. Fort Bliss Garrison Commander Col. Thomas E. Munsey and Texas State Representative Marisa Márquez (District 77) will join El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, the El Paso County Historical Commission, and THC Historians as speakers. The event is free and open to the public.
BACKGROUND: After the December 7, 1941 Empire of Japan attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii the United States entered World War II. One U.S. Government response began in early 1942 with the incarceration of more than 120,000 Issei (first generation, Japanese immigrants) and Nisei (second generation, U.S. citizens) in War Relocation Authority Camps across the country. Prior to this and through separate confinement programs, thousands of Japanese, German, And Italian citizens in the U.S. (and in many cases, their U.S. citizen relatives) classified as Enemy Aliens, were detained by the Department of Justice (DOJ) through its Alien Enemy Control Unit and, in Latin America, by the Department of State. Enemy Aliens were held until paroled or exchanged for U.S. and Allied citizens seized overseas by Axis nations. Temporary U.S. Army detention stations were set up at military posts across the U.S. in areas where the number of Enemy Alien apprehensions was too few for the DOJ to maintain a facility. The site in El Paso opened in February 1942 and closed before the end of the year.
The National Park Service, through the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, provided a grant to help preserve and interpret the history of this and four other confinement sites in Texas during World War II. The project, “Japanese Confinement Sites in Texas: An Untold Cultural Legacy of World War II,” is part of the THC’s national award winning, Texas in World War II initiative. Historical markers, a commemorative brochure, oral history workshops, and a comprehensive statewide site survey are part of this special program.
“This project is assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the THC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army, or Fort Bliss-Garrison.”