Morro Bay residents have long heard about the harbor’s days as a training base during World War II and now Bay News readers can see proof for themselves.
Local residents recently shared a YouTube, slide show, video compiled from the archives of the Army Signal Corps that show troops training with Higgins Boats, machine guns, tanks and more, doing mock landings on the Sandspit and Morro Strand Beach getting ready for the D-Day Invasion and the war in the Pacific. There are even a couple of photos showing a 2-Star General, or at least his Jeep.
The harbor was initially intended to become a submarine base but those plans were scrapped long before the war. When war broke out in 1941, the Army took over the old Naval base and trained thousands of troops for combat.
There are still remnants of the old Army base scattered around town, including several Quonset Huts that were moved up the hill and are still in use; and the former base CO’s quarters at the end of Surf Street; as well as a former USO Dance Hall at the corner of Morro Bay Boulevard and Monterey Avenue. And the City’s North T-pier, which appears in many of the photos in the slide show, was originally built for the training base.
And of course there have been the occasional discovery of unexploded ordinance (mortar shells and hand grenades) in the sand dunes off Pecho Valley Road in Los Osos.
At least three times the government has brought in demolition contractors to scour those sand dunes with metal detectors looking for unexploded ordinance on what used to be the artillery target range.
See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOzd1QILsr4&feature=youtu.be to view the historic video. And stay tuned after the WWII video, because the episode of California’s Gold with the late-Huel Howser, wherein he climbs Morro Rock (filmed in 1991), plays immediately afterwards.