The Army’s sole barrage balloon training camp in northwestern Tennessee opened in 1941 and trained thousands of men to fly barrage balloons. The balloons traveled with the Americans to battlefields in Italy and France. Four battalions comprised African Americans except for the top officers, who were white. Under heavy fire, the men of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion carried the balloons ashore on Omaha and Utah Beaches on June 6, 1944.

Barrage balloons fly over Camp Tyson.
Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

A wartime postcard from Camp Tyson.
Photo: Courtesy of Bill Davison

An enormous barrage balloon is raised at Camp Tyson, in June 1942. The early balloons were 900-pound behemoths the length of two yellow school buses.
Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

← Back to the Men of the 320th Gallery