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Camp John T. Knight
 
Part of the overall San Francisco Port of Embarcation, Camp John T. Knight, was the name of the administrative and cantonment area of what became the Oakland Army Base. This name was officialy used from 1942 until it was fully incorporated into the Oakland Army Base in 1946. It was named for Brigadier General John Thornton Knight, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during World War I for his outstanding service in the Quartermaster Corps.
 
John Thornton Knight
 
John Thornton Knight, was a brilliant officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. An account of his record is given in the Hampden-Sydney magazine and is as follows
:

"John Thornton Knight, 1880, Brigadier General, U. S. A., retired, died at his home in San Francisco, California, after a brief illness of pneumonia, January 15, 1930. He was the son of the late Captain John H. Knight of Poplar Hill, Prince Edward County, Virginia, and was born April 18, 1861.

"He received his preparatory training at Prince Edward Academy, Worsham, Virginia, under Professor James R. Thornton and entered Hampden-Sydney College in 1877, a member of the class of 1880. In 1879 he entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point and in due time graduated (1884) and received a commission as second lieutenant of cavalry in the U. S. Army.

"After service in the West, he was appointed Commandant of Cadets at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute; then fought in Cuba during the Spanish-America War; and for some years was stationed in the Philippine Islands where he rendered valuable service, as also in China and Japan.

"In the World War his work was especially noteworthy. He was Quarter-Master of the Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia, August, 1917, to September, 1918; served overseas at Quarter-Masters Base, Brest, France, October, 1918, to January, 1919; was Chief Quarter-Master, A.E.F., April to September, 1919, with supervision extending to England, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Spain, Italy, and Russia. He was made Commander of the Order of Leopold -- a citation conferred by the King of Belgium and was commended by President Wilson for specially meritorious work as Quarter-Master at Newport News, Virginia.

"This military record, one of distinguished service, speaks for itself; but it does not give the intimate picture of the man as his friends knew him. Physically, no one could have looked the soldier more completely -- six feet and more in height, erect, and strikingly handsome. As stated above, General Knight's first commission was in the cavalry. This was due in large measure to his superb horsemanship. There are those yet living who remember his skill and grace in the cavalry drills on the old paradegrounds at the Military Academy. Some one has said that Virginians madesuch splendid soldiers in the War Between the States because they ride, shoot, and tell the truth. General Knight excelled in all three of these qualifications. His magnificent seat in the saddle reminded one of those great Virginia Cavalrymen -- Stuart and Fitz Lee.

"At the same time, his was one of the most lovable of natures -- kindly, sweet-tempered, generous, loyal. He was a man with whom one liked to associate -- affectionate but sincere, firm but kind, conscientious but tolerant -- the embodiment of that rare and charming trait, manly gentleness.

"Since his retirement, General Knight had made his home in San Francisco, and was buried at the Presidio there with the usual military honors. He is survived by his widow, four sons, and a daughter. Three sisters still reside in Prince Edward -- Miss Bettie B. Knight, and Mrs. W. G. Dunnington of Poplar Hill, and Mrs. J. B. Strachan, of Farmville."
 
Known Units at Camp John T. Knight
 
19th Italian Quartermaster Service Company

 

Updated 18 May 2008


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