- California State Military
- The California
State Military Museum
- Preserving California's
- Historic California
- Camp Seeley
- A World War II training post, it was established
in the near environs of the town of Seeley, four miles east of
El Centro, in the Imperial Valley. Camp Seeley was named for
the town which, in turn, had been named for Henry Seeley, a pioneer
in the development of Imperial Valley. Established by the Army
in Nov. 1940 to house elements of the 11th Cavalry Regiment (Horse)
that had recently moved in from the Presidio at Monterey. In
December 1941 these elements moved, on horseback, to Camp Lockett
at Campo, CA to join the main body of the unit. Camp Seeley then
became an ordnance proving ground.
11th Cavalry Regiment and Camp Seeley
- In 1939 General George C. Marshall became
Army Chief of Staff. With war clouds looming over Europe, Marshall
knew it was only a matter of time before the United States was
drawn into another conflict overseas. In order to prepare the
60,000-man army, he began a program to get the men out of the
barracks and into the field for a year of "toughening up."
Tent camps were to be constructed and in turn various regiments
of cavalry and infantry would take to the field. By September
1940 General Marshall had convinced Congress to begin the first-ever
peacetime draft beginning in September 1940. In November 1940
the field rotation for the 11th Cavalry began.
- The new camps for the Regiment were constructed
in San Diego and Imperial counties, near the Southern California/Mexican
border. Camp Seeley, near El Centro, California and Camp Morena;
near Campo were built simultaneously. Camp Seeley was used for
desert training, training the horses to swim with rider up (mounted)
and was the location of Regiment's rifle and machine gun ranges.
Camp Morena was for mountain and cold weather training. The Regiment
would rotate Squadrons between the two throughout the year. It
was later decided to establish a single camp suitable to house
the entire Regiment at one site. Construction of Camp
Lockett (named for Colonel James Lockett, 4th Colonel of
the Regiment) in Campo, where "E" Troop had been posted
in 1918, began in 1941. Built by the Quartermaster Corps, it
is generally acknowledged that Camp Lockett was the last designated
mounted cavalry camp constructed in the U.S. Army's history.
It remained a cavalry post for the 10th and 28th Cavalry Regiments
after the 11th gave up its horses. Today the El Centro/Camp Seeley
area remains the home of the 11th Cavalry Horse Honor Guard (Historical)
- "The Colonel's Own."
- Led by Harold M. Rayner, (16th Colonel
of the Regiment) the main body moved from the Presidio of Monterey
to the Camp Seeley/Camp Morena duty stations. By this time the
Regiment had reverted to three troops (companies) per squadron.
The Regiment's HQ, First Squadron and Provisional Squadron were
based at Camp Seeley, while Second Squadron was posted at Camp
Moreno. In March 1941, some 700 draftees from Illinois, Wisconsin
and Michigan joined the Regiment. They were the first conscripts
to have ridden with the Regiment.
- The Regiment underwent extensive training
until 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
On 10 December, the entire Regiment was ordered to occupy the
unfinished Camp Lockett. Those units based at Camp Morena made
the five-mile trek in short order. The Squadrons based at Camp
Seeley commenced what became the last "Forced March"
in U.S. Horse Cavalry history, completing the ninety mile march
over extremely rocky, mountainous terrain in one and a half days.
Once at Camp Lockett, horse-drawn artillery units occupied Camp
Seeley while its rifle range continued to be used by cavalry
units from Camp Lockett. Camp Morena was closed.
- Immediately following the bombing of Pearl
Harbor, there were wild reports of Japanese attacks on the California
coast. Once at Camp Lockett, the regiment was posted along the
United States/Mexico border for the fourth time in its history;
this time to counter the rumored threat of enemy troops landing
in Baja California and marching north. Once the threat was proven
to be false, the 11th Cavalry Regiment was relieved by the 10th
and the 28th (Horse) Cavalry and stood down to await further
orders. They were supposed to ship out for Australia, but many
of the troopers came down with jaundice from the yellow fever
vaccinations, so they remained in California for the time being.
Seeley Proving Ground
The former Camp Seeley Ordnance
Desert Proving Ground was located about 12 miles southwest of
El Centro, Imperial County, California. The War Department acquired
the 1,040-acre site by transfer of public domain lands under use
permit No. RE-D2886 (General) from the Department of the Interior
dated 21 April 1944. The acquisition was part of a 1,280-acre
transfer associated with Camp Seeley Ordnance Training Center.
The site was used by the
Army Service Forces as desert dust proving ground. No indications
or records of the War Department improvements were noted.
The 1,040-acre proving grounds
was declared excess and the site was retransferred to Department
of the Interior by revocation of the use permit; custody was assumed
by the Department of the Interior on 18 April 1946. The site is
currently a BLM-administered off-road vehicle recreation area.
Source: Army Corps
Selley Ordnance Training Center
The Army acquired 17,574.79
acres from the Department of interior for Camp Seeley Ordnance
Training Center. The acquisition included 16,294.79 acres acquired
by Executive Order 8865 dated 21 August 1941, and 1,280.0 acres
acquired by Use Permit dated 21 April 1944.
The property was used by
various branches of the Army stationed at nearby Camp Seeley
The site was used by the 4th Cavaly Brigade, the 10th, 11th and
28th Cavalry Regiments, and a Battalion of the 75th Field Artillery
Regiment for combat firing range and maneuver purposes. The 1,280.0-acre
tract was acquired for use as a "dust proving ground,"
by the Desert Test Command, charged with the testing of transport
vehicles, ordnance combat tanks, and other combat vehicles and
automotive equipment in soft sand terrain and under
high temperature conditions. Improvements constructed on the site
include timber-lined holes designed for ammunition storage.
Source: Army Corps
- Known Units at Camp Seeley
- 4th Cavalry Brigade, 2d Cavalry Division
- 10th Cavalry Regiment (Horse)(Colored)
- 28th Cavalry Regiment (Horse)(Colored)
- 11th Calvalry Regiment (Horse)
- [WELCOME] [LOCATION
WALTER P. STORY LIBRARY] [SATELLITE AND PARTNER MUSEUMS]
CAN I HELP?]
CENTER FOR MILITARY HISTORY] [LINKS]
FastCounter by LinkExchange
Questions and comments concerning
this site should be directed to the Webmaster