Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsGuns

No Welcome Mat

September 03, 1989

Two days after the Pearl Harbor disaster in 1941, about 500 soldiers, including myself, were put aboard a troop train at Camp Callen (a coast artillery training camp located at La Jolla, Calif.). Most of us were Californians being sent to Seattle (on an open track train) to man the guns at the harbor defenses of Puget Sound.

When we arrived in Seattle, our tanned faces were very welcome as a Japanese invasion of the West Coast appeared imminent. We were immediately put aboard a boat in Puget Sound and sent north to the three forts that make up the harbor defenses. We spent the first few days, working day and night, placing barbed wire around the gun revetments. We were not allowed to leave the forts for three months (no passes).

When we were allowed passes we were treated wonderfully by the citizens of Seattle and the surrounding towns. We were invited into their homes and given rides the minute we stepped foot on the highways.

However, after being stationed there for 18 months we witnessed the end of an era. Air power had made coast artillery forts obsolete. An order was given to dismantle and cut up, into scrap metal, most of the large guns for use in the war effort.

Most of the men were sent home the way we came, by boat to Seattle and then on a troop train to Camp Hoon in Riverside, Calif., for training in anti-aircraft defenses.

I hope that the citizens of Seattle will remember that in desperate times we became all one people.

RAY F. HARTZELL, Twenty-nine Palms

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|