Camp Cooke – A Camera Trip Through Camp Cooke (PDF)



History of Camp Cooke ……. Centrally located in the midst of Southern California’s rolling hills, Camp Cooke is situated in the center of a 42,000 acre grant, famous since the days of the Dons. Three great ranches, granted by the King of Spain 150 years ago, are incorporated in the area. The beautiful terrain offers unusually fine training grounds for the production of tough, rugged soldiers and prepares them to meet any foe on the face of the earth. The Pacific Coast from Lompoc on the south to Guadalupe on the north, from inland Casmalia to the turbulent waters, the broad plains, lupin and sage covered mesas, tremble to the tread and sound of the nation’s youth training for War. Named in memory of one of the outstanding leaders and military pioneers of California, General Philip St. George Cooke, Camp Cooke is steeped in Army tradition. It is the policy of the War Department to name new Army camps in recognition of military personnel who have contributed to the ideals and traditions of the army. To immortalize the name of the dashing cavalry officer, explorer, and historian, the reservation site was selected to bear his name. When war broke out between the states in 1861, many officers who had graduated from the United States Military Academy and served as officers in the United States Army, cast their lot with the Southern cause due to the fact that they had been born in the South and that their sympathies were with the South. There were exceptions however, and among them was Major General Philip St. George Cooke, a native of Virginia. Cooke stayed with the Northern States and the Stars and Stripes. His loyalty was never questioned and he was given a most important assignment in Washington. It was a hard decision to make, as Cooke’s son and son-in-law both were officers in the Confederate Army. Cooke had already been to California as leader of a battalion of Missourians who were Mormons. Of his Mormon battalion, Cooke wrote home that the column was handicapped in their march westward due to the fact that the Mormons were accompanied by their families and that the size of the families multiplied frequently while en route to California. On his arrival in San Diego in January, 1847, General Cooke served prominently in breaking a deadlock between military and naval officers respecting control of the new territory. His military record reveals that he played a most important part in settling the West over a period of some fifteen years. His march at the head of the Mormon Battalion brought him recognition as a builder of a practical wagon road that others were to use in later years. Military history records him as an officer who was loyal to the United States when duty called. This book pictures Camp Cooke in an era of life and use and portrays a number of the activities of the life of a soldier in training. A schedule of hard work develops physical and mental preparedness. Steel muscles, iron nerves and the determination to win are the keynotes of the program. Evenings of play and relaxation round out every-day life. All phases of normal human interests are developed at Camp Cooke. Chapels are accessible to all military personnel bringing surcease to the devout of all religious denominations. Fine libraries provide ample reading matter. Motion picture theatres feature the finest films produced. Two Guest Houses are available to visitors. Two splendid Service Clubs incorporate every possible facility for the amusement and pleasure of servicemen. Every encouragement is offered to develop the physical and spiritual welfare of the soldiers. All in all, Camp Cooke constitutes a monument to the foresight, perseverance and intelligence of the pioneer military personnel who planned and constructed the great training center.