Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Emory
(San Diego VHF Site 3HK3, Naval Radio Compass Station Imperial Beach, Naval Radio Direction Finder Station Imperial Beach, Naval Radio Receiving Facility Imperial Beach, Silver Strand Training Complex)
 
 
Fort Emory
by Justin Ruhge

In view of the concentration of defenses at Coronado Heights, i.e. Battery Imperial, Battery Grant and Battery Construction No. 134, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce asked Secretary of War Henry L. Stinson to name it Fort Emory, in honor of Brigadier General William H. Emory. Emory had arrived in San Diego in 1846 with the Kearny command to survey the new international boundary. The Chamber of Commerce believed that it was due to Emory's representations that the boundary was placed south of San Diego Bay. The War Department agreed and in December renamed the Coronado Heights Military Reservation Fort Emory, which became a sub-post of Fort Rosecrans, as was Fort Pio Pico. Today this facility is part of the Navy Radio Receiving Facility Imperial Beach.
 
Fort Emory
 
During most of the year 1941, the 155mm battery in the northwest part of Fort Rosecrans moved to Coronado Heights and was named Battery Imperial.
 
This movement extended the water area covered by Harbor Defense. At the same time a temporary base-end station was also established at Coronado Heights. In October 1942 the Army acquired ownership of the 412.14 acres at Coronado Heights through a Declaration of Taking action. On December 14, 1942 this site was offically designated Fort Emory in honor of Brigadier General William Helmsley Emory. Fort Emory was a sub-post of Fort Rosecrans. The 19th Coast Artillery had been moved to Fort Emory to man the new Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat armament and anti-aircraft machine guns.
 
In November 1943 Battery Grant proof fired at Fort Emory. Battery Grant superseded Battery Imperial. During December the plotting-switchboard room for the 16 inch battery at Fort Emory was completed and the fire control switchboard for that post installed. Communications had been maintained for two years with a field switchboard, field telephones, and originally all field wire. The wire had been progressively replaced with cables as construction continued.
 
In February 1944, the War Department ordered work on some parts of the moderization projects in the Harbor Defense of San Diego deferred, Affected were the mounting of the guns and carriages, installation of the director, and the power plant for the 16" battery at Fort Emory. The gun emplacements and all the base-end stations for the battery had been completed by this time. Also, deferred was the construction of the battalion command post tower.
 
Then on April 25, 1944 the 3d Battalion plus Battery E of the 19th Coast Artillery was sent to Texas to be used as field artillery replacements. During the year the fifth fire control radar was on the air at Fort Emory in July 1944 and assigned to Battery Grant.
 
On May 4, 1944, 100 acres of Fort Emory was declared standby and arrangements were made granting temporary use to the Navy. Then on July 19 a permit was issued to the Navy for its use of the 100 acres which became Naval Air Stationt-San Diego's Coronado Heights Annex. With the completion of World War 2, the fort was inactivated on January 31, 1947 and declared surplus on March 1, 1948. . From 1945 to 1950, the Army family of 1st Sgt. Frank C. Grissom were caretakers of the Army buildings and the guns at Fort Emory.
 
Finally in 1950 the Army transfered Fort Emory to the Navy and who incorporated it into their Imperial Beach Radio Station
 
 
San Diego VHF Site 3HK3
US Army Corps of Engineers
 
According to records obtained from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the San Diego VHF Site 3HK3 was located in San Diego, San Diego County, California.

The War Department acquired fee simple title to the site, subject to existing utility easements, following declarations of taking, on 19 November 1941 (19 acres), 16 October 1942 (412.14 acres), and 2 November 1943 (126.8 acres). In addition, two perpetual railroad right-of-ways were concurrently obtained, totaling 2.26 acres. Portions of the site were initially under U.S. Army control as Fort Emory and were transferred to U.S. Navy on 18 April 1944 (119 acres) and 16 August 1950 (412.14 acres).

The land was initially used as part of Fort Emory, Harbore Defenses of San Diego. It was later acquired by the Army Air Forces as a site for a Very High Frequency (VHF) aid to navigation site, including housing for enlisted personnel. Subsequent U.S. Navy use of the site included a communication station and radio direction finder station. Details of early use of the site are not known, but current use of the site is NAVRADRECFAC (Naval Radio Receiving Facility), Imperial Beach, which is an active current operation encompassing all the above-described acquisitions. There are current encumbrances and outgrants totaling 361.41 acres.
 
 
Silver Strand Training Complex
 
The Silver Strand Training Complex, formerly known as the Naval Radio Receiving Facility (NRRF), has become the premier training facility for the military's special forces. Located on the Imperial Beach / Coronado border, this facility is known by locals as the "elephant cage" which is the nickname of a large landmark located there, the large "Wollan Weber" circular antenna. The antenna area was used several years ago to provide primary communication links for the Navy's submarine community. Today this 450-acre facility provides an excellent training environment with waterborne approaches from both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay sides. The city-like layout of the base also provides a realistic site for critical urban warfare training.
 

Other Online Histories
 
Fort Wiki
Wikipedia
Navy Historic Resources Evaluation

Coast Artillery Batteries at Fort Emory
 
World War II Temporary
 

 Location

 Battery Name

 Number of Guns

 Type of Gun

 Type of Carriage

 Constructed

 Completed

 Decommisioned

   Coranado Heights

 Imperial

4

155mm

  Panama Mount

1941

1943 

194?

1940 Program
 

 Battery Name

 Number of Guns

 Type of Gun

 Type of Carriage

 Constructed

 Completed

 Decommisioned

Homor B. Grant

2

 6 inch M1905

 Shielded Long Range Barbette M1

 1942

 1943

1946 

134 (1)

2

16 inch

 Casemated Long Range Barbette

 1943

 Not Completed
 
(1) Battery Contruction 134 was unofficially named Battery Gatchell.
 
 
Site Map
 

Posted 18 May 2008 Updated 17 September 2015


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