Historic Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Santa Barbara Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Station
A 1930 advertisement for the Vista Mar Monte Hotel, one of the three resorts that made up the Santa Barbara Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Station
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (1993)
Location: The above facilities are located along the coast in the City of Santa Barbara. The Miramar Hotel is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Eucalyptus Lane. The Biltmore Hotel is located at the corner of Channel Drive and Hill Road. The Vista Mar Monte Hotel is located on Cabrillo Boulevard.
Site History: The site was condemned for use as a redistribution station for Army servicemen and officers, prior to their discharge or reassignment during the latter part of World War II. The site was used for a period of 18 months. The Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel has since been renamed the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel. The Vista Mar Monte Hotel has since been renamed the Sheraton Santa Barbara Hotel & Spa; and as of 1 June 1993, will be renamed the Radisson Hotel.
Additional Information: The Army Air Forces operated its own redistribution centers, the nearest being the Santa Monica Army Air Forces Redistribution Center.
A current picture of the Santa Barbara Biltmore, now renamed the Four Seasons Biltmore.
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (1992)
In 1944, toward the end of World War II, the War Department, requisitioned the Miramar Hotel, the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel and the Vista Mar Monte Hotel for use as a redistribution station. The 68-acre site was acquired by condemnation. (There is no available information on the acreage for each hotel at the time of condemnation).

The facilities were converted by the Army into the Santa Barbara Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Station. The hotels were occupied exclusively for 18 months by the Army. The hotels, along with other facilities and attractions throughout Santa Barbara, were used as a place of relaxation for soldiers returning to the United States from the war. In addition, the former redistribution station was established to examine the physical condition and military qualifications of each returning soldier prior to reassignment.
The former Redistribution Station was restored to the individual private owners after the war when leases for the 68-acre site were cancelled between 15 March 1946 and 13 February 1947.
Boardwalk of the Miramar Hotel
Extract, WWII Home Front: A Sentimental Journey
by Hattie Beresford, The Montecito Journal
May 1945, 7.2 million men and women were in uniform and Big Band tunes dominated the airwaves. On the 8th, the nation was ready to “Sing, Sing, Sing” along with Benny Goodman when the Axis forces signed an unconditional surrender in Europe. Now, full attention could be given to the war in the Pacific Theater.
In Santa Barbara and Montecito, the Army Ground and Service Forces (AG & SF) commandeered the Biltmore, Miramar and Mar Monte hotels as Redistribution Stations. Soldiers returning from the battlefronts of Europe and the Pacific received a furlough here and were processed and evaluated for further duty. The Cabrillo Pavilion was pressed into service as the check-in and processing station.
While Harry James crooned his hit tune on the radio, the wives of returnees flocked to Santa Barbara to join their husbands to “kiss them once, and kiss them twice,” for it had been ”a long, long time.” Some couples had not seen each other in years.
The furlough included recreation and entertainment but also compulsory appointments and classes. Medical and psychological assessments, group discussions and educational presentations were interwoven with a sports program and social activities and amusements.
Required was a class called “Let’s Be Normal,” and men “over here” were encouraged to leave behind what they’d experienced “over there.” For those for whom the horrors of “over there” had a deeper impact, one-on-one interviews with a psychologist were offered. Topics of others classes included “The American Way,” and “Post-War Plans and Problems.”
The AG & SF offered a free sports program. Returnees played golf at Montecito Country Club, swam at Miramar and Coral Casino, fished in the Channel, and shot arrows at the Archery range near the Cabrillo Pavilion. By June, Santa Barbara’s beaches were “Bustin’ Out All Over” with the sunbathing wives of returnees. Guided horseback rides along miles of Santa Barbara and Montecito bridle paths as well as sightseeing tours via bicycle were popular.
Dances, bingo, parties, buffet suppers, movies and special U.S.O. shows were held regularly. Tea dances at the Biltmore, Miramar and Coral Casino had returnees “Swingin’ the Blues” with Count Basie. (After all, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.”) The Biltmore Theater saw a variety of big name radio comedians providing entertainment, and sightseeing excursions to the Mission, local ranches and mountains were offered. The artistically inclined could visit the art museum or study the architecture of Old Town. And for those who wanted to wet their whistles, several tap rooms at the hotels and in town proffered “Rum and Coca Cola” along with the music of the Andrews sisters.
After several weeks, the returnees were reprocessed, refreshed and reclassified and it was “Anchor’s Away” for the Pacific Theater. As wives rode home on eastbound trains, Tommy Dorsey’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” lingered in their minds and hearts.
Located adjacent to the Vista Mar Monte Hotel, the Carillio Pavillion served as the inprocessing point for the Santa Barbara Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Center


Site Maps

Extract, War Department Inventory of Owned, Sponsored and Leased Facilities, 1945

Training Area

Army Units Stationed at the Santa Barbara Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Center



 Army Station List  7 April 1945

 Army Service Forces:

  • 360th Army Service Forces Band
  • 1916th Service Command Unit (Army Ground and Service Forces Redistribution Center)

Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 April 2016