On Saturday May 18th, my husband and I loaded our bikes on to the back of our car and headed over the hill to Marina for the 3rd Annual Fort Ord Warhorse Day an event we found listed in the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s Let’s Go Outdoors Spring and Summer catalog, and presented by Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse. Honestly we didn’t know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised to find so much history, “hidden in plain sight,” not to mention plenty of family friendly outdoor activities.
Color Guard’s presentation of the Colors,
of Boy Scout Troop 187,
by the Defense Language Institute
The 18th Cavalry was first organized on June 6, 1917. On November 11th they became the 76th Field Artillery Regiment assigned to the Third Division and were sent to France in May of 1918. The 76th saw their first fire fight on July 5th near Chateau-Thierry, on July 15, 1918, they were instrumental in the defeat of the Germans in the Champagne-Marne Defensive and continued to serve well through the Armistice on November 11, 1918, finally returning home, to Camp Pike, Arkansas, the following August.
From Arkansas, the second battalion of the 76th was moved to the Presidio of Monterey in 1922 where they remained until 1940. During the unit’s first few years at the Presidio they built the horse stables, the last of which remain, are located across from the Presidio Museum.
“On August 4, 1917, the U.S. War Department purchased 15,609.5 acres of land from the David Jacks Corporation to be used as a training area and firing range for the infantry, cavalry, and field artillery units stationed at the Presidio of Monterey.
Horse Veterinary Hospital
The first buildings ready for the 76th Field Artillery Unit were twenty-one stables, a blacksmith, and saddler shop. The soldiers moved their horses from the temporary corrals into their permanent homes along 4th Avenue running south from 8th Street. These structures were torn down in 2011. Next the soldiers moved into their own barracks near 1st Avenue and Divarty Street December 1940, many of which were demolished in June 2009.
On January 30, 1941 the veterinary hospital (presently the Marina Equestrian Center) was completed. This hospital would care for the horses of the 7th Field Artillery, the 68th Quartermaster Pack Troop (horses and mules), and the 107th Cavalry (horse-mechanized) unit that came to Fort Ord in December of 1941 to defend the West Coast from a Japanese invasion.
“When people learn that the army was building infrastructure for horses and mules in WWII they are startled. We know that the cavalry and horse drawn munitions and pack mules were used in the Civil War and WWI but when did this actually end? Where was the last stand of the U.S. Warhorse? The answer is right here the buildings of the present day Marina Equestrian Center lining 5th Avenue and in front of you are the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital a WWII Army Hospital for horses and mules. It was completed in January 1941. In the 1930’s there was a heated debate whether the U.S. Army should continue with horse or convert entirely to motor vehicles – horses have advantages. Number one they are the ultimate all terrain vehicle and we saw them being used in Afghanistan in 2001. The Marines at Bridgeport are using horses to this day. The army built 12 of these station veterinary hospitals in the mobilization era 1940 – 1941, Fort Ord is the only one left and it is complete, all six buildings.” Margaret Davis 3rd Annual Warhorse Day
– Marina Equestrian Center originally C-5 Veterinary Clinic building T-3140 – Photo taken 2008 by Greg Krenzelok – Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2.
– Last remaining Cavalry and Artillery horse stables at the Presidio, located across from the Presidio of Monterey Museum – Photo taken 2010 by Greg Krenzelok
– Building T-3140, T-3142, T-3143 – Photo taken 2008 by Greg Krenzelok
*Black and White Photos
– 76th Field Artillery Battery “D” passing in review Presidio of Monterey 1920’s – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
-76th Field Artillery Battery “D” detail section Presidio of Monterey 1939 – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
-76th Field Artillery on maneuvers at Camp Gigling – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
– 1939 tent camp on cement platforms – Harold E. Raugh, Jr., Images of America Fort Ord (Arcadia Publishing, 2004), 17.
All photos without * taken by L. A. Momboisse at the 3rd Annual Warhorse Day May 18, 2013.
Fort Ord War Horse Day In Marina – video by Elizeth Labega
3rd Annual Warhorse Day Fort Ord Living History – video by L. A. Momboisse
Warhorse Day Bike Ride Fort Ord 2013 – video by L. A. Momboisse
(1) Harold E. Raugh, Jr., Images of America Fort Ord (Arcdia Publishing, 2004), 7.