Camp San Luis Obispo – A Picture Book of Camp San Luis Obispo California (PDF)



Camp San Luis Obispo derives its name from the city of San Luis Obispo, five miles away, a community with a normal population of 9,000 which grew up gradually through the years around the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772 by Father Junipero Serra. The camp nestles in Chorro Valley at the foot of the Santa Lucia mountains of the Coast Range, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a short march from the Pacific Ocean at Morro Bay. The region, with its thriving beef cattle, dairy, and other agricultural pursuits, is rich in scenic beauty and the historic influences of Spain and Old Mexico. Three flags have flown here, those of Spain, Mexico and the Republic of California, before the Stars and Stripes of the United States of America were unfurled over the presidios along the California coast. The camp site was formerly Camp Merriam, summer training ground of the California National Guard, marked by a cluster of administration buildings. Construction of the present federal establishment, at a cost of more than $17,000,000, was commenced in the fall of 1940 and completed in the early summer of 1941. The camp was first a city of pyramidal tents among miles of roads and streets, parade grounds, ranges and basic utility installations, but in 1942 the tent frames were converted to wooden hutments. The hutments, each of which accommodates a maximum of six men, are small cabins with windows and gabled roofs, and are heated with oil-burning stoves. Infantry divisions and other units have received training here, and tens of thousands of men have gone from Camp San Luis Obispo to various theaters of combat throughout the world. The picture story in this book is necessarily limited to fragments of camp life and activities, because of restrictions for the security of military information. It is attempted, however, to tell part of the story of each man’s activities here, and to give an insight into the camp routine and recreation enjoyed as the soldier prepares for combat.