Major Navy And Marine Corps Installations During World War II

marines military bootcampThe United States Navy, reflecting the fact that much of the war was fought in the Pacific theater, had hundreds of installations in California during World War II. They included numerous shipyard facilities (public and private), a bewildering selection of Coast Guard shore stations, ordnance and supply depots, naval and marine training centers, naval and marine aviation shore facilities, as well as many hospitals and receiving centers. They are so numerous that it is impractical to list them all. In the San Diego area alone there have been more than a hundred navy facilities, like the headquarters of Eleventh Naval District. The San Pedro-Long Beach area likewise was dotted with naval bases of all types. R. O. T. C. and V-12 units wcre found on many college campuses. San Francisco, headquarters of the Twelfth Naval District, had a much greater concentration. Many installations which basically were independent units were actually subdivisions of parent bases. Then, too, a Marine detachment was assigned to each naval unit for guard duty.

Naval Auxiliary Air Stations (NAAS) had as their function “operational training for fleet units.” They were located at: Brown Field, Chula Vista, Camp Kearny, Salton Sea, Holtville, Los Alamitos, Ream Field, San Ysidro, San Clemente Island, San Nicolas Island, Twenty-Nine Palms, Oxnard, Arcata, Hollister, and Oakland. Naval Air Stations (NAS) also did fleet air training, served as headquarters for naval district commanders, were major shipping centers for aircraft and air craft supplies, and acted as assembly and overhaul centers. NAS locations in California were at San Diego, Alameda, and Terminal Island. Auxiliary Air Facilities (NAAF) beneath the Alameda headquarters command were located at: Livermore, Vernalis, Crow’s Landing, Mills Field, San Francisco, Monterey, and Santa Rosa. A Naval Air Facility (NAF) at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at Inyokern was mainly experimental, but was also used for training purposes. Naval bases were also located as adjuncts to other activities, like the bases on the Port Hueneme complex and Terminal Island. Similar facilities were also at Lindbergh Field (San Diego) and Mendocino. Marine Corps Air Stations (MCAS) were located at: El Centro, El Toro, Goleta, and Mojave. A Marine Corps Air Depot (MCAD) was at Miramar (San Diego) and a Marine Corps Aviation Base at Kearny Mesa (San Diego).

The Naval Air Station at Santa Ana had as its function shore patrol against submarines utilizing lighter than air (LTA) equipment. Auxiliary (to
Santa Ana) LTA bases were at Del Mar and Lompoc. Moffett Field at Sunnyvale was the LTA center in northern California, with auxiliary fields at Eureka and Watsonville.

Headquarters for Marine Corps training was at Camp Elliott, but actually embraced the entire San Diego area. Rancho Santa Margarita (near Oceanside), which became Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, was the largest installation, with some 38, 000 officers and men. Camp Dunlap was another essential training center, but amphibious practice was also conducted along the coast and on the islands of southern California. Barstow was’ (and is) the main Marine supply depot. An area near Lake Cuyamaca was utilized to train Marines for jungle warfare. Camp Gillespie was originally used for parachute training, but was designated as a Marine Corps Air Facility in February, 1944.

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