California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
A United States Army Museum Activity
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Camp Santa Anita
(Santa Anita Assembly Center, Santa Anita Ordnance Training Center)
 
 
Located at the world-famous Santa Anita Racetrack, the Santa Anita Assembly Center was the longest occupied assembly center, used for 215 days, from March 27 to October 27. It was also the largest assembly center, housing a total of 19,348 persons from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Clara counties, with a maximum at one time of 18,719. Those interned lived in hastily constructed barracks and in existing stables, with 8,500 in converted horse stalls.
 
(Left) Newly-constructed barracks at the Santa Anita Assembly Center. (Right) Converting horse stalls into housing at the Santa Anita Assembly Center.
The assembly center was divided into seven districts: District 1 had 21 stable buildings converted into barracks, District 2 had 20 stable building, District 3 had 19 stable buildings, District 4 had four stable buildings and 113 freshly-built military barracks, District 5 had 161 barracks, District 6 had 160 barracks, and District 7 had 155 barracks (Lehman 1970). Bachelors were housed in the grandstand building. There were six recreation buildings, six showers, six mess halls (referred to by color; Blue, Red, Green, White, Orange, Yellow), a hospital, and a laundry (Figure 16.50; Santa Anita Pacemaker various issues 1942). There was a large warehouse and an automobile storage yard in the racetrack infield and the grandstand seating area was used for a camouflage net factory which employed the Japanese Americans.
 
1942 aerial photograph of the Santa Anita Assembly Center; A - automobile storage, G - grandstand (housing), H - hospital, L - laundry, M - mess hall, MP - military police and administration area, R - recreation building, S - showers, W - warehouse, 1-6 - barracks districts.
 
There is no historical marker at the site. The areas where the assembly center barracks had been (Districts 4-7) are now paved parking lots, and the District 3 and 4 stables and the military police compound are now a large shopping mall (Santa Anita Fashion Park). However, the massive grandstand and other racetrack buildings present in the 1940s remain, as do the horse stalls of Districts 1 and 2. The stables, of wood, are the same as in aerial and historical photographs Security personnel at the stables mentioned that Japanese Americans occasionally return to see their former homes. There are presently as many people (stable workers and their families) as horses living in the stall area.
 
On November 30, 1942, the center was turned over to the Army Ordnance Corps for training purposes and was officially renamed Camp Santa Anita. The camp continued in this role until November 1944. Later still, it served as a Prisoner of War camp holding several thousand German soldiers from Rommel's Afrika Korps.
 
Photo Credit: Nataional Archive and Records Administration and US National Park Service
Source: Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War IIJapanese American Relocation Sites by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord
 
Historical Data Cards
 
Ordnance Training Center
 
 
Ordnance School
 
 
Army Units Assigned to Camp Santa Anita

 Data Source

Date(s)

 Unit(s)
 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 1943
Ordnance School (ASF)
5th Ordnance Training Group
21st through 24th Ordnance Training Battalions
6th Ordnance Training Group
25th through 29th Ordnance Training Battalions
30th Ordnance Training Battalions
Band (Ordnance Training Center) (ASF)
Band (305th Ordnance Base Regiment) (ASF)
23rd Special Service Company (ASF)
305th Ordnance Base Regiment (less 4th Battalion) (ASF)
456th through 463rd Ordnance Evacuation Companies (ASF)
542nd through 544th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Companies (Field Army) (ASF)
548th and 549th Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Companies (Field Army) (ASF)
557th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company (Truck) (ASF)
558th through 561st Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Companies (Truck) (ASF)
610th Ordnance Ammunition Company (ASF)
634th, 635th and 849th Ordnance Ammunition Companies (ASF) (to be activated)
810th, 812th, 813th and 814th Ordnance Depot Companies (ASF)
822nd through 827th Ordnance Base Depot Companies (ASF)
1948th Service Command Unit (Station Complement (ASF)
3911th Service Command Unit (Ordnance Training Center (ASF)
ASF - Army Service Forces units AGF - Army Ground Forces AAF - Army Air Forces units WDC - Western Defense Command



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