Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields:
Camp Pinedale
(Pinedale Assembly Center, Fresno Army Air Forces Specialized Storage Depot)
 
 
The Main Gate
 
This assembly center was located 8 miles north of downtown Fresno on vacant land near an existing mill-workers housing area. The area is now within the Fresno city limits, north of Herndon Road 1 mile west of Blackstone Avenue.
 
The Army officially acquired the site on 24 March 1942. At the time of acquisition there were 21 warehouses and 11 other buildings which had been used to store cotton, sugar, and machinery. From 7 May 7 to 23 July 1942, the Pinedale Assembly Center housed a total of 4,823 evacuees, with a maximum of 4,792 at a time. The evacuees were from Sacramento and El Dorado counties, and Oregon and Washington. Ten barracks blocks, each with 26 buildings, were constructed for the evacuees, and a separate block was built for the military police and administration.
 
Pinedale Assembly Center 1942
 
The large industrial/warehouse complex visible in the 1942 aerial photograph, above, is still present, which provided confirmation of the assembly center location. However, the site of the assembly center is now a subdivision; the architectural style and mature vegetation suggest the housing development dates to the 1950s or 1960s. Subdivision roads appear to generally follow the assembly center roads.
 
Established on August 1, 1942, on the site of a Pinedale Assembly Center became Camp Pinedale began receiving soldiers selected for training as Army Air Forces signal technicians in December of that year. The proposed use was for the Air Service Command to store clothing, parachutes, equipment, office supplies, and salvage material. In July of 1944 Camp Pinedale became the home of the 840th Army Air Forces Specialized Depot. The Fourth Air Force decided to concentrate all unit and team training of certain Signal companies used by the Army Air Forces.
 
The Signal units organized and trained at Camp Pinedale were:
 
 
The Fourth Air Force was made responsible for the administration of the Training Center, and was to supervise the training, subject to the requirements to be specified by the
Directorate of Communications, Army Air Forces.
 
By war's end, the post had trained 25,000 soldiers as electronic specialists and for allied army assignments, clerks, truck drivers, chemical warfare specialists, camouflage specialists, ordnance technicians, and cooks. The camp was deactivated in February 1947, when the Corps of Engineers assumed custody of the sprawling base and began preparations for the disposal of the post's building and other installations.
 
Camp Pinedale was a busy and populated area. Records indicate that approximately 10,000 officers and enlisted men were stationed there in 1944. The number decreased to 4500 by the end of 1944. Records are sketchy for 1945, but further research indicates that 3600 soldiers were left at the installation during the period 1 January 1946 to 30 June 1946. Prisoners were kept at Camp Pinedale also, averaging 46 in the stockade one month. Besides troops and prisoners, there were civilian personnel on duty, but total numbers
of personnel are unknown.
 
The 840th AAF Specialized Depot used their approximately 190 acres for storage, salvage, and a reconditioning depot. The Western Signal Aviation Unit Training Center used their approximate 380 acres for a signal training center. A rifle range and railroad facilities were also located at the site.
 
During the period June to December, 1946, Camp Pinedale's operations were rapidly drawing to a close. Effective 3 December 1946, approximately 380 acres of the installation were declared surplus. The remaining 190 acres occupied by the 840th AAF Specialized Depot were declared surplus effective 1 March 1947. On October, 1947, the property reverted to its owner, the Pinedale Compress and Warehouse Company (formerly Valley Compress). Four years later it was sold to the California Cotton Cooperative Association Ltd (Calcot).
The industrial area later occupied by the 840th AAF Specialized Depot
 
Monuments to the Pinedale Assembly Center and Camp Pinedale
There is an historical marker just east of Blackstone Avenue on the site of the railroad stop where the Japanese were brought to Fresno. The tracks were removed and are now a bike trail. The granite maker is on the side of the trail below an overpass of Freeway 41.
 
Army Units Assigned to Camp Pinedale and Fresno Army Air Forces Specialized Storage Depot

 Data Source

Date(s)

 Unit(s)
 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 1943
Western Signal Aviation Unit Training Center
Fourth Air Force Replacement Depot, Detachment 11 (AAF)
301st Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
310th Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
313th Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
321st Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
324th Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
326th Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
332nd - 337th Signal Companies, Wing (AAF)
339th - 347th Signal Companies, Wing (AAF)
349th - 350th Signal Companies, Wing (AAF)
387th Signal Company, Wing (AAF)
388th Signal Company, Aviation (AAF)
391st Signal Company, Aviation (AAF)
394th - 399th Signal Companies, Aviation (AAF)
406th Army Air Forces Band (AAF)
411th Signal Company, Aviation (AAF)
421st - 422nd Signal Companies, Aviation (AAF)
424th Signal Company, Aviation (AAF)
432nd Signal Constuction Battalion, Aviation (AAF)
433rd Signal Construction Battalion, Aviation (less Company B) (AAF)
515th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron (AAF)
Detachment 11, 854th Signal Service Company, Aviation (AAF)
951st - 958th Signal Radio Intelligence Companies, Aviation (AAF)
1203rd Guard Squadron (AAF)
1301st - 1302nd Signal Operations Training Companies, Aviation (AAF)
1304th - 1305th Signal Operations Training Companies, Aviation (AAF)
1351st - 1356th Signal Companies, Wing (AAF)
1357th - 1370th Signal Companies, Wing (AAF) (to be activated)
 Army of the United States Station List 7 April 1945
840th Army Air Forces Specialized Storage Depot (AAF)
4840th Army Air Forces Base Unit (Specialized Depot)
Western Signal Aviation Unit Training Center (AAF)
Signal Company, Aircraft Warning Service XVI Fighter Command
2nd Radio Squadron, Mobile
49th - 53rd Signal Aircraft Warning Detachments
55th Signal Aircraft Warning Detachment
95th Fighter Control Squadron
462nd Army Air Forces Base Unit (Signal Aviation Training)
Womens Army Corps Detachment
562nd Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion
571st Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion
661st Signal Aircraft Warning Company
714th Signal Aircraft Warning Company
721st Signal Aircraft Warning Company
765th Signal Aircraft Warning Company
9th Service Command Station List 1 March 1946
840th Army Air Forces Specialized Storage Depot
Army Air Forces Communications Unit Training Center
Central Assembly Station
18th Tactivcal Air Communications Squadron
327th Signal Company, Wing
414th Night Fighter Squadron
425th Night Fighter Squadron
426th Fighter Control Squadron
426th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion (Colored)
434th - 435th Fighter Control Squadrons
435th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion, Aviation
462nd Army Air Forces Base Unit (Signal Aviation Training)
Womens Army Corps Detachment
 Army of the United States Station List 7 May 1946
840th Army Air Forces Specialized Storage Depot
Army Air Forces Communications Unit Training Center
Central Assembly Station
18th Tactivcal Air Communications Squadron
327th Signal Company, Wing
435th Signal Heavy Construction Battalion, Aviation
462nd Army Air Forces Base Unit (Signal Aviation Training)
Womens Army Corps Detachment
AAF - Army Air Forces units AGF - Army Ground Forces ASF - Army Service Forces units WDC - Western Defense Command

Updated 18 July 2014


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