Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

US Marine Corps base near Oceanside, California, United States

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast military base of the United States Marine Corps. It is in San Diego County, California next to Oceanside, San Clemente, Cleveland National Forest, Orange County, Riverside County and Fallbrook. The base is 125,000 acres (506 km2).

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
San Diego County, California, U.S.
Seal of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.png
MCB Camp Pendleton Insignia
Coordinates33°20′N 117°25′W / 33.333°N 117.417°W / 33.333; -117.417Coordinates: 33°20′N 117°25′W / 33.333°N 117.417°W / 33.333; -117.417
TypeMilitary base
Site information
Controlled by United States Marine Corps
Site history
BuiltMarch 1942 (1942-03)
In useSeptember 25, 1942 – present
Garrison information
BG Edward D. Banta .[1]
GarrisonI Marine Expeditionary Force

Pendleton is split into two areas, North and South. It was created in 1942 to train troops during World War II. By October 1944, Camp Pendleton was called a long-lasting base. Pendleton became the home of the 1st Marine Division. The base was named after World War I Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942).[2] Today it is home to many units including the I Marine Expeditionary Force.


Before World War IIEdit

The area that is now known as Camp Pendleton was explored by the Spanish, and many missions were created in the area. The most famous one is Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, which is in modern-day Oceanside (just 1.5 miles south of Camp Pendleton). The area was also owned by farmers, and a successful cattle industry was run by a wealthy British landowner named John (Don Juan) Forster.

In 1914 Pendleton was assigned to Camp Howard, North Island, San Diego.[3] Right away he saw the value of the area's good weather and harbor.[3] He lobbied Congress and Marine Corps Headquarters for a permanent Marine base on the West Coast.[4]

World War IIEdit

In the early 1940s, both the United States Army and United States Marine Corps were looking for a large base. The Army stopped caring about the project. The Marine Corps announced on February 1942 that the Camp Pendleton area would become the largest Marine Corps base in America.[5] They purchased Rancho Santa Margarita las Flores for $4,239,062.[2] Because the base was at first considered to be a temporary base, the buildings were built to minimum standards. The base was then mainly used for training.

President George W. Bush talking to Marines and sailors at Camp Pendleton in December 2004.


  1. "Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton". Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860-1942)". San Diego History Center. Archived from the original on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  4. Martin K. Gordon, Joseph Henry Pendleton 1860-1942 Register of His Personal Papers" (Washington DC: United States Marine Corps, 1975), p. vi
  5. Shettle Jr., M. L. (2001). United States Marine Corps Air Stations of World War II. Bowersville, Georgia: Schaertel Publishing Co. p. 84. ISBN 0-9643388-2-3.