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Page 5 text:
Page 4 text:
U S. NAVAL TRAINING CE
Son Diego, California
OUNTLESS GENERATIONS of seafaring men
have come to regard the anchor as a symbol of
their profession and a mark of security to the ships on
which they serve. By the Romans the anchor was re-
garded as a symbol of wealth and commerce, while the
Greeks gave to it the significance of hope and steadiness,
a meaning that persists in religion and heraldry today.
The symbolism of the Greeks was carried on by the early
Christians with a meaning of steadfastness, hope and
Here, too, in recruit training, the anchor has special
significance, not only as the symbol of the recruit's new
life and surroundings but also as the steadfast symbol of
the security in his new career that his recruit training
will give him.
In the pages that follow, the daily life of a recruit is
traced from his initial arrival at the Naval Training
Center until his graduation.
N T E R
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THE NAVAL TRAINING CENTER, San Diego,
had its inception in 1916 when Mr. William Kettner,
Congressman from the Eleventh Congressional District of
California and spokesman for the San Diego Chamber of
Commerce, interested the Honorable Franklin D. Roose-
velt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, in establishing
a naval training activity on the shores of San Diego Bay.
Due to the Nation's entry into World War I, further
development of this plan was postponed until 1919, when
Congress authorized acceptance by the Navy of the pre-
sent site of the Training Center. The original grant con-
sisted of 135 acres of highland donated by the San Diego
Chamber of Commerce and 142 acres of tideland given by
the City of San Diego. Construction work began in 1921,
and on 1 June 1923 the U.S. Naval Training Station, San
Diego, was placed in commission under the command of
Captain flater Rear Admiralj David F. Sellers, U.S.
At the time of its commissioning in 1923 the station
bore little resemblance to its present size or arrangement.
At that time Camp Paul Jones housed the entire popula-
tion of the station and the maximum recruit strength was
1,500. The period of recruit training was then sixteen
weeks. The shore line of San Diego Bay extended consid-
erably further inland than at present, and the land now
occupied by Preble Field, the North Athletic Area and
Camp Farragut was entirely' under water. The recruit
parade ground was located on the present site of the
Public Works garage. During the 1920's the Recruit Re-
ceiving and Outgoing Units were housed in the Detention
Unit, known as Camp Ingram, which consisted of a group
of walled tents adjacent to the south boundary of Camp
Paul Jones. Until Camp Lawrence was completed in 1936,
recruits spent their first three weeks of training under
canvas in this Detention Unit.
In 1939 a construction program was commenced which
within three years was to increase the capacity of the
station four-fold. This expansion went hand in glove with a
large scale program of harbor improvements by means of
which the channel and anchorages in San Diego Bay were
deepened and 130 acres of filled land were added to the
eastern boundaries of the station. By 1941 Camp Luce had
been completed, and the construction of Camps Mahan,
Decatur, and Farragut was already well under way when
the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Virtually all this
construction work was completed by September, 1942,
when the capacity of the station had reached its wartime
peak of 33,000 men, 25,000 of whom were recruits. The
period of recruit training during World War II varied
between three weeks and seven weeks.
In April, 1944, the Secretary of the Navy changed the
status of the Training Station to that of a group command
and redesignated it the U.S. Naval Training Center, San
Diego. Under the Center Commander were established
three subordinate commands: The Recruit Training Com-
mand, The Service School Command and the Administra-
The years immediately following World War II saw a
considerable reduction in population of the Training Cen-
ter despite a post-war expansion of the Service Schools,
and by the end of 1949 the population of the Center had
dropped to atwenty-year low of 5,800 men. Six months
later, when the Communists invaded the Republic of Ko-
rea, an immediate expansion of all Naval training activi-
ties took place and by September of 1950 the Center was
again operating at nearly full capacity.
During the early months of the Korean conflict it be-
came apparent that the demand for trained personnel in
the rapidly growing Pacific Fleet would require further
expansion of this training center. Accordingly steps were
taken by the Navy Department to reactive Camp Elliott,
formerly a World War II Marine Corps training camp
which is located ten miles north of San Diego on Kearny
Mesa. On 15 January 1951 Camp Elliott was placed in
commission as Elliott Annex of the Naval Training Center
for the purpose of conducting the primary phases of re-
cruit training. In March, 1953, in line with the planned
reduction in size of the Navy, training at Elliott Annex
was discontinued and it was placed in an inactive status.
During its two years of operation, over 150,000 recruits
received training there.
Late in 1952 projects were approved to convert some
recruit barracks into classrooms and to extend training
facilities by construction of a permanent recruit camp on
the undeveloped Training Center land lying to the south
and east of the estuary. The six converted barracks went
into service as recruit classrooms in April, 1953, and con-
struction work on the new camp was completed in 1955.
In late 1965, the demand for trained Navy men to man
the additional ships and overseas billets, required to meet
the Vietnam crisis, brought the on-board population to a
record of over 18,000 recruits, the highest since Korea. At
the same time, a mil itary construction program got un-
derway with the foundation of a new 8,000-man mess hall
being laid adjacent to Bainbridge Court. In addition, an-
ambitious five-year program was formalized for the con-
struction of modern barracks, TV classrooms and admin-
istration facilities. The face lifting of the Recruit Com-
mand was completed by the early 1970's.
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