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LIFE IN OCEANSIDE: A glimpse into Camp Pendleton's history and its impact on Oceanside

Posted: 1:01 PM, Dec 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-13 20:43:25-05
Main Gate Camp Pendleton circa 1940s highest resolution.jpg

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - A major turning point for the town of Oceanside was the creation of Camp Pendleton.

"It was just a village, Oceanside was just a village and all of a sudden you have all these workers coming into Oceanside for a place to sleep, a place to eat," said Faye Jonason, History and Museum Director at Camp Pendleton since 1996.

According to the Oceanside Historical Society, the town's population more than doubled in five years. Restaurants, schools, and hotels were bursting at the seams.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor spurred the U.S. Navy to purchase the 132,000 acres of Rancho Santa Margarita y las Flores Mexican land grant. The base was only supposed to be temporary, but the process of turning the quiet Rancho into the world's largest Marine Corps Base had begun.

"I think they found it was such good training area, they weren't about to let go," said Jonason.

Camp Pendleton was declared a permanent installation in 1944.

A glimpse of Camp Pendleton Through the Years, compiled by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce :

June 1950: Outbreak of the Korean War sees peacetime activities come to an end; Reserve Marines arrive at the base and begin processing and training for subsequent deployment to Korea. Over 200,000 Marines would pass through Camp Pendleton on their way to Korea.

1960s: 1st Marine Division deploys to Southeast Asia for involvement in the war in Vietnam. Marines rotating to Vietnam arriving at Camp Pendleton were assigned to Staging Battalion and were provided with 12 to 15 intensive training days before deployment to Vietnam.

1975: 1st Marine Division supports the evacuation of Saigon Refugees from Vietnam. Over 50,000 Vietnamese refugees were processed through Camp Pendleton and located at eight different camps in the northern portion of the base.

1980s: Marine Corps "amphibious" operations became "expeditionary" as land, air, and support units are incorporated into expeditionary forces.

1990s: Marines deploy to Saudi Arabia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

2002: I Marine Expeditionary Force deploys to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

2003: 1st Marine Division deploys by air and sea to link up with its advanced headquarters deployed to Kuwait under the I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 1st Marine Division conducts the longest ground march in Marine Corps history attacking Baghdad alongside the U.S. Army.

2007: Camp Pendleton launches the Marine Corps Grow the Force facilities recapitalization/renovation program consisting of 50+ projects worth more than $1 billion.

2008: Camp Pendleton begins the Marine Barracks Recapitalization program to replace and renovate 42 barracks at the cost of $1.4 billion.

2010s: 1st Marine Division personnel and units deployed to Afghanistan provide advisory support and maneuver elements in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

2014: The new $456 million Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton is officially dedicated and opened.

2015: Construction and opening of the Pendleton Fisher House, a $2.65 million, eight-suite home serving military families with a hospitalized service member at Camp Pendleton.