Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Stockton Ordnance Depot
(Quartermaster Motor Depot, Stockton Motor Repair Depot, Stockton Ordnance, Stockton Army Air Forces Depot, Stockton Sub-Depot of Benicia Arsenal, Sharpe General Depot, Stockton Annex; and Sharpe General Depot, Stockton Storage Activity, Stockton Air Force Station; Prisoner of War Camp, Defense Distribution Center San Joaquin, Rough and Ready Island)
 
Stockton Ordnance Depot 22 April 1943 (National Archives)

 

History (2006) by Daniel M. Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department

On August 7, 1941 the Government began to acquire property at the Port of Stockton for use as motor supply depot, maintenance depot, and maintenance school . The Stockton Port District agreed to four leases. These lease terms all began in late 1941 and terminated between 1942 and 1948. Lease number W-7034-QM-127 covered the 42.36-acre Parcel L-1 and was terminated January 15, 1947. Parcel L-1 featured the Cotton Compress building which is referenced as "Supply Depot". Lease number W-7034-QM-131 covered the 7.63-acre Parcel L-2 and was terminated September 12, 1948. Parcel L-2 was desired for its grain terminal which is called the "Repair Depot."

By September of 1941 construction began on the Stockton Ordnance Depot. Structures typical of military storage facilities such as warehouses, a fire station, gasoline stations, repair shops, a paint shop, barracks, mess halls, a service club, administration building, storage tanks, etc., were erected on the site between 1941 and 1954. December 3, 1941, the site was officially designated "Quartermaster Motor Depot" by War Department General Order No. 14. The site also became known as the Stockton Motor Repair Depot

Lease number W-7034-QM-132, covered Parcels A-2-A, A-2-B, and A-2-C, totaled 235.35 acres. The Government acquired fee title to these parcels from the Estate of Frank Shackleford Boggs on May 11, 1942.

Lease number W-868-ENG-4034 covered Parcels L-3A, L-3B, and L-3C. The Lease of the 97.81-acre Parcel L-3A (on the Port of Stockton waterfront) was terminated February 8, 1946. Lease of Parcel L-3B, which was 131.92 acres on the northwest end of Rough and Ready Island, was terminated on December 2, 1944. The Rough and Ready Island site was undeveloped during the entire lease term of 1941 to 1944. Parcel L-3C, which was 238.98 acres and located on Roberts Island, was terminated June 15, 1945. Although unconfirmed, Port of Stockton personnel believe that the Government may have used this site as a place to dump spoils from the periodic dredging of the Stockton Deep Water Channel. The project team has not been able to confirm this information.

The Stockton Ordnance Depot was redesignated "Stockton Ordnance Base" by memo dated January 15, 1943. During the years the Stockton Ordnance Depot operated motor depot facilities, motor maintenance facilities, a motor repair school, general storage facilities, a hospital area, and a prisoner of war camp holding German and Italian prisoners of war.

The triangular 9.495-acre Parcel C-1 was acquired by Declaration of Taking No. 4395, Final Opinion dated August 13, 1943 from the Riverbank Canning Company Parcels B-1, B-2, and B-3 were acquired by Declaration of Taking No. 4475 on October 11, 1944. These three parcels totaled 14.788 acres and were formerly owned by Pacific Storage Company.

Between 1944 and 1946 the Navy acquired the 1,419.89-acre Rough and Ready Island by Declaration of Taking No. 4963. In 1945 construction began on the three large warehouses and storage yard that exist today. Beginning with its construction in 1944, Naval Supply Annex Stockton (NSAS) (Rough and Ready Island) was used by the Navy as a supply depot and disposal facility. In 1960 Naval Communications Center San Francisco became a tenant of the NSAS. As the need for supply facilities continued to dwindle civilian, Army, and non-military Government tenants were brought in. In 1954 the General Services Administration moved in to nearly half of the warehouses, and in 1965 the NSAS was decommissioned and Naval Communication Center, Stockton was established on the island.

The final addition to the Stockton Ordnance Depot, Parcel D-1, was acquired from the Boggs Estate by Declaration of Taking No. 4510. The Final Judgment on this 17.6-acre parcel was filed on January 19, 1948. As of April 1948 and through April 1950 the Stockton Ordnance Depot was known as the Stockton Sub-Depot of Benicia Arsenal.

Accountability for 20.07 acres of fee-land at the west end of Parcel A-2-A, known as the Stockton Sub Depot of the Benicia Arsenal Hospital Area, was transferred to the War Assets Administration on July 29, 1948. The disposition of this property is unknown; however, it is currently owned by the Port of Stockton.

On April 2, 1951 the Stockton Ordnance Depot was renamed Sharpe General Depot, Stockton Annex, and on September 7, 1955 the site was once again redesignated Sharpe General Depot, Stockton Storage Activity. A former Stockton General Depot employee indicated that the Sharpe General Depot stored all types of military supplies except ordnance during Sharpe's tenure at the Stockton Ordnance Depot site. Despite the name of the facility the project team has found no evidence that any type of ordnance was ever stored at or transported through the Stockton Ordnance Depot.

Portions of Parcels A-2-C and C-1 along with Parcels D-1, and E-1 were transferred to the Department of the Air Force on December 1, 1954. This 138.56-acre facility became known as the Stockton Air Force Station effective 2 March 1955 in accordance with Department of the Air Force General Order 25, dated 24 March 1955

On December 12, 1956 the Department of the Army quitclaimed its remaining 118.44 acres of fee owned land to the Port of Stockton reserving a reverter provision to take effect in the event of a breach by the Port of Stockton. Then on December 14, 1956 the Department of the Air Force quitclaimed its land to the Port of Stockton reserving the same possibility of reverter. The Port of Stockton fulfilled its obligation to pay for both properties and in June of 1967 the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force reconveyed these properties to the Port of Stockton terminating the Government's rights of reverter. In summary, the Stockton Ordnance Depot properties were acquired between 1941 and 1944 and disposed of between 1944 and 1956.

Currently the Port of Stockton is a diversified Port with first class warehouses, storage and handling facilities for dry and liquid bulk materials. It can handle break-bulk and containerized cargoes either by land or sea. It features easy overland access provided by Interstate 5 and three transcontinental railroads. It also has five acres of paved surface at Docks No. 10/11 to allow easy assembly and pre-staging of cargo. The Port of Stockton currently leases portions of its property to companies which utilize the storage and transportation facilities located at the Port. The City of Stockton leases the former trash disposal. This property is used as a police training facility. Currently the Port of Stockton is attempting to acquire Rough and Ready Island from the Government.

The Defense Logistics Agency occupied the 131 plus-acre site once leased by the Stockton Ordnance Depot. The DLA used this facility including its four warehouses and storage yard built in 1945 as a storage and disposal facility until 1998 when Defense Distribution Center San Joaquin closed its Rough and Ready Island site.. Roberts Island No. 2 has remained undeveloped to the present day.

Location: The Stockton Ordnance Depot was located in Stockton, California, 83 miles east of San Francisco and 48 miles south of Sacramento on the south bank of the Stockton Deep Water Channel. Its map coordinates were 37.9485664 degrees north latitude and 121.3260727 degrees west longitude. Three distinct sites were utilized by the Stockton Ordnance Depot: 424+ acres on the Port of Stockton. 131+ acres on the northwestern end of Rough and Ready Island, and 238+ acres on Roberts Island west of Vulcan Island and opposite Fourteen Mile Slough. This third site is now referred to as Roberts Island No. 2 by the Port of Stockton.

 

A press photo of German prisoners of war playing American football at the Stockton Ordnance Depot Prisoner of War Camp. 14 January 1946. California Military Department
 
 
 
History (2005) by Justin Ruhge
 
Most of the Port of Stockton, along with an additional 247 acres, became the Stockton Sub-depot of the Benicia Arsenal under Army jurisdiction in 1941. So much of the Port was taken over by the ordnance operation that offices of the Port Director, the Port Commission and other Port officials had to be moved to downtown Stockton. The Depot received ordnance from throughout the U.S. by rail, truck and ship, and warehoused the supplies until ready for shipment overseas by ocean-going vessels which could call at the port, or by river freighters or barges for transshipment from San Francisco Bay area ports. Supplies were also shipped to coastal installations like Port Hueneme by truck or rail.
The origin of the word "jeep" was found at the Depot. The index numbers for jeep parts were GP123, GP124, etc., the GP standing for general production and pronounced "geep" later changed to "jeep." The Army Depot dealt with everything from aerial bombs and airplane parts to the reconditioning of army trucks and motors.
The Army facility at Lathrop added to the store of military supplies and Stockton became the supply base of the Pacific. Needing a centralized railroad shipping point somewhere in the Central Valley for shipment of military supplies overseas and nationwide, the Army in 1942 established the Lathrop Holding and Reconsignment Point on Lathrop Road, eight miles south of Stockton. The function of the Point was to regulate the flow of supplies to be shipped through ports of embarkation such as Stockton, Hueneme and San Francisco.
The Point became a major installation, at peak times 6,000 freight cars of supplies and equipment were loaded or discharged in a month. Often 450 cars were loaded in a 24-hour period.
After 1945 the facility became the Lathrop Transportation Corps base and eventually the Sharpe General Depot in 1984. This facility supplies military installations in 10 western States and the Pacific. Personnel included 47 military and 1,400 civilians.
Prior to becoming the Point the area had been the Lathrop War Aid Depot and then the Lathrop Engineers Depot.
 
References: Stockton During World War II; a Newsman's Reminiscences by Mel Bennett, July 1984 issue of the Stockton Legionnaire.

 

Other Online Information

 

Historical Status Cards - Post, Camp, Station and Airfield
 
 
Ordnace Automotive School
 
Stockton Ordnance Depot
 
Prisoner of War Camp
 
 
Posted 20 Fedruary 2008 Updated 1 December 2015