California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
A United States Army Museum Activity
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Historic California Posts:
Camp Callan
by Mark Berhow
Coast Defense Study Group
 

Location: University of California at San Diego, private land: Genessee Ave to N. Torrey Pines Rd. (foundations to the south). The old main entrance is at the Torrey Pines Inn off of Torrey Pines Rd.

Camp Callan was built in November of 1940 as a Coast Artillery Corps replacement training center for new inductees. Open for business in January of 1941, it was named for Maj. Gen. Robert Callan (1874-1936), a veteran of the Spanish American War and World War I. By 1942, the post had over 297 buildings, covered 23 blocks, had 5 post exchanges, 3 theaters and 5 chapels. About 15,000 men went through a 13 week training cycle with a strong emphasis on modern coast artillery and anti-aircraft defense weapons. The Anti-Aircraft training program was moved to Ft. Bliss, Texas, in 1944 and Camp Callan was declared surplus in November 1945. Most of the buildings were purchased by the city of San Diego and sold for salvage. Today, the site contains a variety of developments including: the Torrey Pines golf course, several private businesses and research facilities, a glider port and a section of the University of California at San Diego. A few foundations remain in the area to the north of the University of California Campus.
 
Acquisition, Improvement and Disposal
 
The property was authorized for acquisition on 9 October 1940 as follows: 710 acres by lease from the City of San Diego , 0.90 acres by lease form the City of San Diego, 120.08 acres by lease from Margaret C. Hawkins, 72.12 acres by lease from F.T. Scripps, Inc., 367.00 acres by revocable permit from the City of San Diego and 12.85 acres by license from the City of San Diego. Total acreage acquired for the site was 1282.95 acres.
 
The site was used as an anti aircraft replacement training center. Improvements included barracks, a 910 bed station hospital, offices, storage, shops, support buildings, a landfill, small arms training ranges and artillery gun positions. No evidence of buildings or other improvements, with the exception of the landfill, were noted during the site visit.
 
The site was declared surplus on 1 November 1945 and disposed of as follows: 710 lease acres and 0.90 lease acres were cancelled 25 March 1946, 120.08 lease acres were
cancelled 9 August 1946, 72.12 lease acres were cancelled 30 June 1946, 376 permit acres were cancelled 13 December 1945, and 12.85 license acres were cancelled 25 March 1946.

The land under permit was released in lieu of restoration clause. Note: The landfill is not on the permit land. The site is currently owned by several hundred parties. Most of the
property is developed residentially and commercially. A park and golf course are located in the northern portion and the University of California, San Diego is located in the southeast portion of the site. The total acreage terminated was 1282.95.
 
Source: Army Corps of Engineers
 
History
By Justin M. Ruhge
Goleta Valley Historical Society


Camp Callan was named in honor of Major General Robert E. Callan, distinguished Coast Artillery Officer. He served in the United States, the Philippines, and saw frontline action in the Spanish-American War and World War I. He was born March 24, 1864 in Baltimore and died November 20, 1936 in Washington, D.C.

As stated by Judy P. Schulman "Camp Callan was a World War II anti-aircraft artillery replacement training center. Located along U.S. Highway 101 approximately 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, it occupied a three-by-half mile rectangular area on Torrey Pines Mesa.

On November 22, 1940, the War Department announced plans to create the nucleus for new coast artillery units with men inducted under the Selective Service Program and assigned to the center on Torrey Pines Mesa. A month earlier, the San Diego City Council had granted the military 710 acres of land for $1 a year. Additional acreage was acquired from private sources.

With the establishment of a cantonment site and gun firing positions, the purpose of the camp was to teach trainees how to fire long-range weapons in the event the Japanese fleet tried to attack the West Coast.

Construction of the camp began in November 1940 and official occupation of the facility was marked by a flag-raising ceremony on January 15, 1941. Twenty officers and 120 servicemen, all members of the first unit of operations personnel, attended the ceremony. Brigadier General Francis P. Hardaway was the camp's first commander. He spoke on the importance of the camp to the defense program.

On February 24, 1941 the first large guns arrived at the camp. Among these were nine French-made 155-mm guns that dated back to World War I. Between the last week of February and the end of March, some 5,000 trainees arrived by rail at a nearby reopened railroad station. These trainees came mainly from Forts Ord and MacArthur in California, Fort Sheridan in Illinois, Fort Missoula in Montana, and Fort Vancouver in Washington.

The first military review was held April 2, 1941. Six thousand men passed in formation before Major General Joseph A. Green, Chief of Coast Artillery. He congratulated the trainees on the progress they had made in such a short time. As Camp Callan still had no band of its own, a 100-piece Marine Corps band provided military music.

March of 1942 began a period of important change for Camp Callan. Whereas training emphasis had been on anti-aircraft and seacoast artillery, the decision was made to place full emphasis on anti-aircraft weapons, The military had seen the terrible damage inflicted on England by the German Luftwaffe.

The change signaled what was to become a two-year period of peak activity for the camp. The camp had grown to some 297 buildings covering 23 blocks. About 15,000 men were now going through each 13-week training cycle. Ranges existed for training with everything from hand-held guns to the larger anti-aircraft artillery. This included a 1,000-inch range and a 200-yard rifle range. A pistol range, and automatic weapons range, and a three-inch anti-aircraft gun range."

The men trained with guns of 155-mm, 90-mm, 75-mm and 40-mm calibers and the associated fire control equipment.

Like other camps, all the living amenities were provided for the health, general education and war training schools for the troops. A weekly newspaper called The Range Finder and an annual pictorial review called The Callander were published at the camp. The camp got its own 40-piece band.

During June 1944 the training emphasis at Camp Callan was again to change. The anti-aircraft cadres were transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas, and the camp became an important link in preparations for massive overseas amphibious assaults. However, the need for such training was short lived. By May 8, 1945, the war was over in Europe and by August 15, 1945 the Japanese had surrendered. On November 1, 1945, Camp Callan was declared surplus.

But its usefulness to the American people wasn't over quite yet, at least not at the local level. At the time the camp closed, there was a serious shortage of lumber and building materials in Southern California. In order to mitigate the problem for the many veterans who chose to stay in San Diego, the City Council negotiated with the War Department to acquire all the 500 buildings and facilities of the camp_ The selling price was $200,000. These items were then resold to veterans and other citizens at reasonable prices." From these facilities several thousand homes, several churches and many utilities were constructed. In the end the city recouped its $200,000 and made a $250,000 profit. "Part of this money went to build the Veteran's War Memorial Building in San Diego's 1,074-acre Balboa Park."

However, by the 1980s what was once a proud and vital training camp became barely recognizable as such. Few today seem to realize what the area once was. It has been incorporated into a golf course, Torrey Pines State Reserve, research facilities, part of the University of California at San Diego and a residential area.

Reference: World War II Triggers Weapons Training Center by Judy P. Schulman, Traditions San Diego's Military Heritage Magazine, July 1994, Vol. 1, No. 2, pg 3. San Diego, San Diego County.


History

Acquisition

On October 9, 1940, the San Diego City Council leased the United States military 710 acres (2,900,000 m2) of land for $1.00 a year. The city council also leased an additional 0.90 acres (3,600 m2) to the military. Margaret C. Hawkins leased the military 120.08 acres (485,900 m2) and F.T. Scripps, Inc. leased them 72.12 acres (291,900 m2). The military acquired 367.00 acres (1,485,200 m2) by revocable permit from the city council and 12.85 acres (52,000 m2) by license from the city council. Altogether, 1,282.95 acres (5,191,900 m2) of land for the base was authorized for acquisition by the government.

Early Period of Operation

On November 22, 1940, the War Department announced plans to create a replacement training center for Coast artillery units in the Torrey Pines Mesa area. Men inducted into the military under the Selective Service Program would be assigned to this new training center. The purpose of this training center was to teach trainees how to fire long-range weapons in the event the Imperial Japanese Navy tried to attack the West Coast of the United States. This training center was named "Camp Callan" in honor of Major General Robert Emmet Callan, a distinguished Coast Artillery officer. Construction of the base began in November 1940 and official occupation of the camp was marked by a military flag-raising ceremony that took place on January 15, 1941. Twenty officers and one hundred and twenty enlisted men were present. They were all members of the first unit of operations personnel at the new base. Brigadier General Francis P. Hardaway was the new camp's first commander. He spoke on the importance of the camp to the defense program at this ceremony. On February 24, 1941, the first large guns arrived at the camp. Nine of these guns were French-made 155 mm guns that dated back to World War I. Around five thousand trainees arrived at the camp between the last week of February and the end of March. They arrived by rail at a nearby reopened railroad station. The first trainees came mostly from Fort Ord and Fort MacArthur in California, Fort Sheridan in Illinois, Fort Missoula in Montana and Fort Vancouver in Washington. The first military review was held on April 2, 1941. Six thousand men passed in formation before Major General Joseph A. Green, Chief of Coastal Artillery. He congratulated them on the progress they had made in such a short time. Since the camp did not have its own military band, a 100-piece Marine Corps band provided music for this ceremony.

Middle Period of Operation

A period of significant change for the camp began in March 1942. The military had seen the terrible damage the Luftwaffe had inflicted on the United Kingdom so they diecided to place full training emphasis on anti-aircraft weapons rather than on a combination of seacoast artillery and anti-aircraft weapons. This change marked the beginning of a two-year period of peak activity for the camp. Approximately fifteen thousand trainees were going through their training during each thirteen week training cycle. Training ranges on the base included a 1,000-inch range, a 200-yard rifle range, a pistol range, an automatic weapons range and a 3-inch anti-aircraft gun range. The trainees learned to use 155 mm, 90 mm, 75 mm, and 40 mm caliber guns as well as the associated fire control equipment. Gun firing positions were established for this training. In addition to artillery gun positions and small arms ranges, a variety of other facilities and structures were built on the base. These improvements included barracks and cantonments, a 910-bed station hospital, offices, five Post Exchanges, three theaters, five chapels, support buildings, storage buildings and a landfill. In all, the developed part of the base covered twenty-three blocks and had over 297 buildings at this time. Various living amenities were provided for the health, general education and war training schooling of the trainees, much like other Army camps of the time. A weekly newspaper called The Range Finder and an annual pictorial review called The Callander were published at the camp. The camp eventually got its own 40-piece military band as well.

Late Period of Operation

The training emphasis at the camp changed again during June 1944. The anti-aircraft training program was transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas and the camp assumed an important role in preparations for massive overseas amphibious assaults. However, this period of camp activity was short-lived. By May 8, 1945, the war was over in Europe and by August 15 the Japanese had surrendered. Because of these changes, this training was no longer needed. On November 1, 1945, Camp Callan was declared surplus.

Disposal

After the camp was declared surplus, the land it was on was disposed of over the course of a year. 710 acres (2,900,000 m2) and an additional 0.90 acres (3,600 m2) of leased land was cancelled on March 25, 1946. 120.08 acres (485,900 m2) of leased land was cancelled on August 9, 1946. 72.12 acres (291,900 m2) of leased land was cancelled on June 30, 1946. 367.00 acres (1,485,200 m2) of permit land was cancelled on December 13, 1945. 12.85 acres (52,000 m2) of licensed land was cancelled on March 25, 1946.

After Closing

At the time the camp closed, Southern California was facing a shortage of lumbar and building materials. This problem was made worse because many veterans chose to stay in San Diego after the war. In order to mitigate this problem, the San Diego City Council negotiated with the War Department to acquire most of the buildings and facilities of the camp (which numbered around five hundred at the time the camp closed). The selling price was $200,000. These material were then resold to veterans and other citizens at reasonable prices. Several thousand homes, several churches and many utilities were constructed from this material. The city recouped its $200,000 investment and made a $250,000 profit on these sales. Part of this profit went to build the Veteran's War Memorial Building in Balboa Park. Today, almost all evidence of improvements or buildings built on the former base during its existence (except the landfill) have disappeared. A few foundations remain in the area to the north of the UC San Diego campus. The old main entrance of the base is at the Torrey Pines Inn off of Torrey Pines Road.


Major General Robert Emmet Callan

Robert Emmet Callan, born 24 March 1864 at Baltimore, Md., graduated from the Military Academy and was assigned to the 5th Artillery. Following service in Cuba, Puerto Rico, West Point, and Washington, D.C., he became Chief of Staff of the Philippine Department in 1917. During WWI he was on duty in France and was Chief of Staff of the 1st Army Artillery, Commanding General of the 33d Artillery Brigade, and participated in the Montdidier-Noyon Defensive and in the Aisne-Marne Offensive. General Callan served in New York, Panama, and Hawaii before his promotion to Major General in 1931. He commanded the 3d Corps Area, Baltimore, Md., until retiring at his own request in 1936 after 40 years of service. General Callan was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his services during WWI. He died 20 November 1936 at Washington, D.C.

In addition to Camp Callan, General Callan was memorialized by the troopship USS R.E. Callan (AP-139)


Images of Camp Callan
 

Updated 19 July 2009
 
[WELCOME] [LOCATION AND HOURS] [CURRENT EXHIBITS] [MG WALTER P. STORY LIBRARY] [SATELLITE AND PARTNER MUSEUMS]
[HOW CAN I HELP?] [WHAT'S NEW?] [UPCOMING EVENTS] [CALIFORNIA MILITARY HISTORY] [HERALDRY & INSIGNIA] [ONLINE BOOKSTORE]
[CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR MILITARY HISTORY] [LINKS]
 
Google
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Join our Online Discussion Forum
Google Groups Subscribe to California Military History
Email:
Browse Archives at groups-beta.google.com
 
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster