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Page 6 text:
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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Page 7 text:
In the furtherance of its mission of supplying trained
naval personnel to the fleets and ships of the United States
Navy, each of the three subordinate commands of the
Naval Training Center has important roles to fill.
The Administrative Command has the responsibility of
conducting most of the Centeris administrative business
and furnishing a wide range of services necessary to the
daily life of the large community which the Center has
become. The Administrative Command has the responsi-
bility of maintaining the Center's buildings and grounds,
and through its facilities all personnel on the Center are
housed, fed, clothed and paid, and receive their medical
and dental care. The Administrative Command also pro-
vides such other community services as recreational and
Navy Exchange facilities, communications, postal and
transportation services, and police and fire protection.
Under the Service School Command are grouped more
than twenty Navy Schools in which recruits as well as men
from the fleet receive training in the specialized duties of
certain ratings. Most of these are Class "AH schools,
where non-rated men learn the skills and information nec-
essary to them to perform a specific petty officer rating.
Among these schools are those which train electricians
mates, radiomen. Other schools teach specialized skills
such as teletype maintenance and stenography. The pre-
sent capacity of the Service Schools is about 5,000 men.
Today after five decades of service to the Navy the
Naval Training Center San Diego still faces with confi-
dence the challenges of an unsettled world.
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