Centuries of Defense - World War II Era (1933-1950)

The U.S. Army looks inwards as the world enters war. Tremendous pre-war mobilization effort expands and develops military bases for the thousands of men processing through San Francisco on their way to the Pacific Theater.

 
Veteran's Hospital at Fort Miley
Veteran's Hospital at Fort Miley

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, SutroDistrict Collection, GOGA-3369

  • 1933 - Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

    Army closes its military prison; Alcatraz Island transfers to Federal Bureau of Prisons.

  • 1934 - Veteran's Hospital built at Fort Miley

    All but one military building is demolished to allow construction of the hospital

  • 1936 - Crissy Army Airfield is closed to all flight operations but light aircraft and helicopters

  • 1938 - Battery Davis and Battery Townsley constructed

    These new battery defenses are high sercurity weapons, capable of shooting a 2,100 pound, armor-piercing projectile 25 miles out to sea. These and other WWI batteries are covered by dozens of feet of concrete and earth to protect them from air and naval attack.
 
Nisei Interpretors at the Military Intelligence Service Language School
Nisei Interpretors at the Military Intelligence Service Language School

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, TASC Negative Collection, GOGA 35301.3210

  • 1939 - 1945 - World War II

  • 1940 - Fort Cronkhite constructed

    As coastal defenses expand, an additional post is created to accommodate them. Quick construction and standardized design used at this fort is the best example of a Mobilization Post.

  • 1941 - 1942 - Military Intelligence Service Language School

    Nisei (second generation Japanese-American) soldiers are trained to serve as military linguists and translators for the Pacific Theater. One class graduates from the Presidio school. The school is moved to Minnesota in 1942 due to the relocation order for all Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans.
 
Private Joe Fleming, New York City, catching up on his book work as he awaits embarkation.
Private Joe Fleming, New York City, catching up on his book work as he awaits embarkation.

Credit: U.S. Army, Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, James A. Sullivan SFPE Collection, GOGA 32475

  • 1941 - 1944 - San Franicsco Port of Embarkation (SFPE) at Fort Mason

    During 45 months of war, 1,647,174 passengers and 23,589,472 measured tons of meterial moved through San Francisco Port of Embarkation to the Pacific (two-thirds of all troops sent into the Pacific). The SFPE also administered ports in Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle.

  • 1942 - Women's Army Corp signed into Public Law, thousands of women enlist

  • 1946 - U.S. Army Coast Artillery School

    Army moves its Coast Artillery School from Fort Monroe, Virginia to Fort Winfield Scott.
 
Battery Chamberlin 1942
Battery Chamberlin, 1942

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, PAM Negative Collection, GOGA 35256.0620

  • 1950 - Coast Artillery deactivated

    Coast Artillery system becomes obsolete due to weapons technology and military operations developments.
 

Original panel for "World War II Era (1933-1954)" (PDF, 199 MB)

 

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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