Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields:
Forces Training Area
(Camp Parks, Camp
Shoemaker, Naval Hospital Shoemaker, Parks Air Force Base, Camp
Camp Parks, designated Parks Reserve Forces
Training Area in 1980, is named after Rear Admiral Charles W.
Parks, CEC, USN. It was built a Navy Base during World War II,
and was commissioned Jan. 19, 1943 -- home to the Navy Seabees.
Adjacent Camp Parks to the east, laid Camp Shoemaker and the
U.S. Naval Hospital Shoemaker, also built during the war. The
three Navy bases laying side by side were called "Fleet
City." In 1946, at the end of World War II, the Secretary
of the Navy disestablished the three facilities, and from 1946
to 1951, the Navy leased the land to the County of Alameda for
use as a rehabilitation center. In 1947 the Santa Rita County
Jail became operational.
Images of Camp Parks,
During World War II Camp Parks grew from
a muddy expanse to a huge naval training and replacement center
and took its place as a vital unit in the Navy Seabee program.
In 1945 on its huge paved parade ground Camp Parks could muster
more than 20,000 men and hundreds of officers. Few structures
remain from Camp Parks Seabee days. Among them are the base commanders
house, which overlooks the base from the top of a hill, and the
art deco-style sign at the main gate on Dougherty Road in Dublin,
California. All else is gone. The World War II buildings were
razed after the war. Even the street numbering sequence changed
to suit the Air Force. Surviving buildings are Korean War vintage,
the streets are named after Air Force heroes and Congressional
Medal of Honor awardees and hundreds of Army trucks fill a dozen
Commissioned on January 19, 1943 as the
Construction Battalion Replacement Depot, Camp Parks functioned
as home for Seabees returning from the Pacific Theater of Operations.
Battalions returned to the States after a year or more of arduous
construction duty. They came to Camp Parks for medical treatment,
military training and reorganization. The base housed up to 20
battalions at a time. Most battalions prepared for a second tour
in the Pacific. Many Seabees were hospitalized, and those no
longer fit for duty received their discharge. After leave, personnel
were subjected to a rigorous training schedule. The battalions
were brought back up to fighting strength.
This land-locked naval base sat adjacent
to the quiet Bay Area towns of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton.
Today, the intersection of Interstate Highways 580 and 680 is
but a short distance from the southwest corner of the base. Much
of the surrounding countryside is built up. Army units use some
2,300 acres north of the main camp for field exercises and weapons
training. Camp Parks is located 28 miles east of Oakland, California.
East of the Seabee base, toward Livermore,
Camp Shoemaker housed a Naval Hospital and Naval Training and
Personnel Distribution Center. These facilities served the fleet
in much the same manner as Camp Parks served the Seabees. Collectively
the area was known as Fleet City.
closing in 1946, Camp Parks sat unused until the Air Force established
a basic training center in 1951. Known as Parks Air Force Base,
the Air Force found it necessary to completely rebuild the base.
The sea of Quonset huts and two-story wooden barracks had been
dismantled following World War II. Base personnel were initially
housed in temporary facilities and ate from a field mess. Training
began in March 1952. The first group of Airmen who arrived at
Camp Parks in the Summer of 1951 were transported to California
on a troop train that felt like a cattle car. The base was in
complete disarray when they arrived. The remaining buildings
in poor shape. Otherwise, a few concrete pads were all that remained.
The weeds were waist high. The weeds were pretty high. All the
lower ranking Airmen, including the cooks, were out there cutting
In 1951, the Navy reacquired control of
most of the land, with the exception of the county's 900 acres,
and transferred the property to the U.S. Air Force. Although
construction of Air Force facilities began in 1951, the official
transfer of ownership occurred in 1953. The facility was renamed
Parks Air Force Base and functioned as a basic training center,
overseas replacement depot, and air base defense training area
during the Korean War.
In July 1959, the installation was transferred
to the United States Army. From 1959 to 1973, it was operated
in a standby status under the jurisdiction of the Sixth United
States Army, Presidio of San Francisco. In 1964, Sixth Army declared
the entire installation excess, but was directed by the Department
of the Army to retain 1600 acres for National Guard and Navy
use. Between 1964 and 1973 much of the excess property was transferred
to the County of Alameda and used as a Job Corps Training Center.
The program taught academics and trade skills to underprivileged
male youths. One of the youths enrolled in the program became
boxing's heavyweight champion of the world ... George Foreman.
By 1973, the U.S. Army determined that
Camp Parks was needed as a mobilization and training center for
Reserve Components in the event of war or natural disaster. On
December.11, 1980, the Army officially designated Camp Parks
as a semi-active installation, renamed it Parks Reserve Forces
Training Area, and declared it a sub-installation of the Presidio
of San Francisco. On October. 1, 1992, Parks RFTA became a sub-installation
of Fort Lewis, Wash. With the reorganization of the Reserve Component,
command and control passed from Forces Command October. 1, 1993,
to the United States Army Reserve Command in Atlanta, Georgia.,
and on October. 1, 1994, Parks RFTA became a direct-reporting
installation of Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Today, the sprawling base's mission is
similar to its World War II mission. Thousands of National Guard
and Army Reserve Soldiersand 94 Naval Reserve Seabees'
train for war at Camp Parks. One occupant, 1st Brigade of the
91st Division trains Army units using computer simulators. The
base supports some 11,000 San Francisco Bay Area Army Reserve
and California National Guard Soldiers from 180 units. Many of
these units train at Camp Parks for two weeks each summer.
Camp Parks, home of the Armys 91st
Division (Reserve), is located in the eastern reaches of the
San Francisco Bay Area near the City of Livermore. The Parks
Reserve Forces Training Area (PRFTA), historically known as Camp
Parks, is located in the city of Dublin, California, South East
of Oakland near the intersection of Interstate Highways 580 and
Located in the Northern California Bay
Area, Camp Parks RFTA is a vital part of the total Army in the
Western United States. A sub-installation of Fort McCoy, Camp
Parks is the only training facility within a short drive for
11,000-plus reservists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Firing
ranges and a wide variety of training facilities are available.
The post is home to state-of-the-art facilities: the Regional
Training Site-Intelligence, Regional Training Site-Medical and
the 91st DIV Battle Projection Center. Growth is on the horizon
as new facilities have been built and more are programmed for
construction in the near future.
Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (Camp
Parks) has a primary mission of exercising the functions of command,
training, security, administration, servicing and supply to all
troop units, military activities, and other governmental agencies
assigned or attached. The installation is operated by the U.S.
Army Reserve Command, Atlanta, Georgia, as a direct reporting
installation of Fort McCoy, WI. The readiness of today's Army
Reserves is critical to national defense. Parks RFTAs area of
responsibilities include providing services and training support
to military units (active and reserve) and to other requesting
organizations and activities. New and state-of-the-art training
facilities have been built and more are being programmed.
Reserve units permanently stationed there
conduct weekend inactive duty training throughout the year, and
reserve component units travel here for their two-week annual
training. Parks RFTA is ideally situated to provide total forces
with meaningful training and offers the convenience of accessibility.
Airports, freeways and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system
provide easy access to the installation.
The U.S. Army has a significant impact
on the State of California, especially in the Dublin-Livermore-Pleasanton
Valley (Tri-Valley) of Northern California. The 91st Division
constructed and opened a new Battle Projection Center, and a
beautiful facility as their Division Headquarters. The front
gate will soon be relocated on our southern border across from
the BART station on Dublin Boulevard. Renovation of buildings
now house a modern Department of Defense Police Department, a
Distance Learning Center, and the Bay Area Training Support Center.
In the cantonment area are administrative and classroom buildings,
upgraded troop billets, a remodeled dining facility, a modern
lodging facility, an informative history center, and other support
and training facilities that make everyone's stay much more pleasant.
A facilities maintenance department (DPW) employs a small, dedicated
The Troop Medical Clinic is staffed during
annual training with medical personnel providing medical care
to service personnel training here. Fire and emergency services
are located on 5th Street at Building 636, and provide full response
capabilities including fire, medical (EMTs), and fire prevention
inquiries on a 24-hour basis. A small Post Exchange, located
on Davis Avenue, is equipped to sell clothing and food. The DoD
federal police, located in Building 692 (east of the post flagpole),
are tasked with handling law enforcement and can be contacted
24-hours a day, seven days a week. Parks' offers safe refuge
to special-status species and endangered wildlife. Environmental
issues, concerns and protection questions can be addressed through
the environmental office in Building 791.
Regional Training Site-Medical, Building.
860 provides new equipment training, sustainment training, and
external evaluation subject matter experts to the total medical
104th Division (IT) (4th Bde CSS; 6th
Bn PSS; 9th Bn PN/HS) provides MOS/NCOES training to soldiers
to enhance the readiness of individual units.
Headquarters, 91st Division (Training
Support), Building. 510 plans and conducts simulation exercises
for Reserve Component battalions and brigades in the Fifth Army
West Region. On order, assists CONUSA Mobilization Assistance
Team, provides personnel augmentation and simulation support
as directed. 1st Bn, 363rd Rgt, 3rd Bde, 91st DIV (TS), Building.
141 plans and conducts pre-mobilization training support for
U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard units located in Northern
California and Nevada. The Battalion also is prepared to establish
a Defense Coordination Element which coordinates all Military
Support to Civilian Authorities during disasters and incidents
involving weapons of mass destruction. The battalion is organized
into five teams and an HHD. Their parent headquarters is 3rd
Brigade (TS), 91st Division located at Travis Air Force Base.
Equipment Concentration Site (ECS30) /
Area Maintenance Support Activity (AMSA), Building. 730 provides
organizational and direct support maintenance on automotive,
heavy mobile, and communications for USAR units in the Bay Area.
Western Army Reserve Intelligence Support
Center (WARISC) 418th MI Company, Building. 610 provides operational
training for Reserve Component Military Intelligence soldiers,
sailors, airmen, and Marines within its area of responsibility.
Navy Seabees (MU-303), Building. 611 transferred
to Parks RFTA from Treasure Island, the Seabees are a construction
unit and they repair and build.
Company B, 319th Signal Battalion, Building.
180 provides theater-wide communications and emergency communications
equipment in a near battlefield or peacetime environment.
Company B, 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry
Regiment (Air Assault), Building. 330 is an airmobile infantry
company of the California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division
Camp Parrington is home to Detachment
D of CBMU 303. The camp, consisting of a small building at the
northwest corner of 5th Street and Fernandez Avenue, became home
to the Bay Area Seabees two years ago after Naval Station Treasure
Island closed. Although it may not be the newest unit to train
at Camp Parks, Detachment D of CBMU 303 is certainly the most
"historic." Camp Parrington, named after retired EOC
Russ Parrington, is home to 94 Seabees Reservists. CBMU 303 is
headquartered on Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado,
The Seabees provide a valuable service
to Camp Parks. Since their mission upon mobilization is to maintain
an advanced base, they train by repairing Army facilities on
the sprawling base. In addition to refurbishing their own building,
Building 611, last year the Seabees poured over 1,000 linear
feet of new sidewalks on Camp Parks, according to Ens. John Hurlburt,
OIC of the detachment. This year the detachment will construct
a rappelling tower and renovate houses for the multi-service
The History Center of the Parks Reserve
Forces Training Area preserves artifacts from Camp Parks
three military eras. Since late 1942, Camp Parks has been home
to the Navy, Air Force and Army.
Camp Parks (Navy)
Camp Shoemaker 1946
Naval Hospital Shoemaker
Naval Hospital Shoemaker,
circa 1946 (NARA)
Looking south, 1946
Parks Air Force Base
AFB in 1954. The former Naval Hospital Shoemaker is on the right,
The area between Parks AFB and the hospital is the location of
Camp Shoemaker. (NARA)