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The Fort Ord Blacksmith shops with stable guard quarters (buildings T-1451 to T-1462) were completed in April 21, 1941. Lee Stickler of the 76th Field Artillery, an eyewitness at that time confirms that they were blacksmith shops when he was stationed at Fort Ord. It is hard to imagine today what went on here looking at the buildings as they are now. To increase our understanding I will cover the duties of this most important area of the stables and a horse and horse-drawn unit, see my research down below.

May 2011: "A TRAGIC LOSS OF HISTORY AT FORT ORD, CALIFORNIA" just after Memorial Day the last complete example of our country's end of the U.S. Army Warhorse which were still being used at the beginning of World War II. The Series 700 temporary type buildings: artillery, cavalry stables along with their blacksmith shops are being demolished on the California State University at Monterey Bay Campus, California. Leaving only the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Horse Hospital the only buildings remaining to testify of the memory of the "Fort Ord Horse Soldiers" that were there from 1940 to 1942. This action ends a two year long battle for their recognition and preservation.

Greg Krenzelok
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Preservation Group

Words cannot express what is in my heart at seeing and walking the grounds of where the Fort Ord Field Artillery and Cavalry stables once stood.

Fort Ord Stables on 4th Avenue and 8th Street taken in 1996. Posted by Trooper Bill MacDonald, B Troop, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Bill was a horse-mounted trooper in the late 1930's and when the 5th Cavalry Regiment became an infantry unit overseas during WW2. It was Bill that told me that all those buildings lining 4th Avenue were once horse stables and about the blacksmith shops in the rear of the stables.

Aerial picture taken Feb. 24, 1941, in the center of the pictures is the artillery horse stables, blacksmith shops, corrals and gun parks of the 74th, 75th, and 76th Field Artillery Battalions horse-drawn still at this time at Fort Ord. To the right center in the picture is the corner of the Station Hospital and the lone C-5 Veterinary Clinic building can be seen between the stables and the station hospital in the foreground. Construction went up fast and soon the colic ward; wards A and B along with the C-6 surgical clinic would be complete. (Source: National Archives)

(Source: National Archives)

Above this wonderful image was found in the 1941 Fort Ord Yearbook "Historical and Pictorial Review of the 17th Infantry, 7th Division" on page 9. The corrals of the 76th Field Artillery looking north behind the stables and blacksmith shops that are on the left side of this picture. In between each blacksmith shop is a canvas tent holding hay temporarily until the hay shed which can be seen at the north end (roof) is finished, according to Lee Stickler.

The above picture show what the blacksmith shops and other buildings that still remain on the eastside of the SD-17 stables on 4th Avenue today. We are fortunate to still be able to see these buildings before they will be torn down at sometime in the future. (Source: National Archives)

(Source: National Archives)

Note: The above picture shows the escort wagon No. 18 "Old Reliable" of the 76th Field Artillery Regiment on the side of one of the blacksmith shops at the stables on 4th Avenue. Also notice the corral and horses in the background. The escort wagon was drawn by four mules and had a long history with the army. (Source: National Archives)

Lee tells us that it took a lot of men to support a field artillery horse-drawn unit. They were very high maintenance. First were the care of the horses, which was constant; feeding, grooming and watching out for their health. Lee tells us that the first job of a Trooper was to care for his horse and this meant feeding and grooming before himself. The horse came first at all times. The Army could get a man for nothing but horses were expensive.

It was the constant work of the troopers on stable duty to maintain the stables, sweeping, feeding, laying out new bedding and cleaning up after the horses, it was just like taking care of a child. There was a stable guard quartered in each blacksmith shop to care and watch over the welfare of the horse's needs 24-hours a day. Each stable had a stable sergeant who's job it was to know each of his horses and to watch over them, maintaining the stable and the basic health of his horses. It was also his job to order the feed of the stable. He kept very careful records of his stable and was responsible for all the things that went on there.

Other important functions at the stables were:

The Stable Sergeant was in charge of his stable and every stable had one. His job was to know each of his horses and to watch over them, maintaining the condition of the stable and the basic health of his horses. It was also his job to order the feed and to feed the animals. He kept very careful records of his stable and horses and was responsible for all the activity that went on at the stable. He decided what animals were fit for duty as long as there where no medical issues and he issued the animals as needed for each day. Those on stable duty assisted him.

Click on the below link to learn more about the Stable Sergeant.

The Stable Sergeant's Duties

The veterinarian who was in charge of the horse's health. Each day he would conduct "Sick Call" Deciding if a sick or injured animal could be nursed back to health at the stable or needed to be sent the station veterinary hospital.

I extensively cover the veterinary hospital on the main page of the website and it will not be covered here.

The blacksmith shops at Fort Ord handled all the shoeing of the animals and repair of the regiment's equipment including metal repair on limbers, caissons, wagons, and whatever else they would come up with the blacksmith and horseshoer to do. Not all blacksmiths where horseshoers and not all horseshoers were blacksmiths. The two jobs took special skills for the blacksmith the skill of metalworking and for the horseshoers special skills of shoeing an animal. Usually the Station Veterinarian overlooked the horseshoer skills because of the anatomy of an animal's foot. It was not unusual for the blacksmith or horseshoer to handle both jobs. Because of the amount of animals assigned to the stables there were many blacksmith shops to handle the need.

The Saddler was charged with the repair of individual leather horse equipment of the 76th Field Artillery Regiment and with the harness pertaining to its equipment. The Saddler was in charge of the building, cleaning, and repair of all harnesses, halters, and bridles. The Saddler took care of the needs of all the leather equipment and was equipped to do so. From hasty patching of a broken trace on the march to actual making of certain parts in camps of considerable duration. The Saddler could make it. The Saddler was issued tools by the Ordinance Department and Quartermaster Department. If it was leather the Saddler fixed it. The Saddler would know the best part of the hide for the piece of part he was repairing. He was careful not to let any knots and rivets be left where they would rub and create a sore for the animal. He was a very important person of his unit and there was a lot of harness in a horse-drawn Field Artillery Regiment. The last Field Manual of Saddlers was issued in 1942.

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Duties of the U.S. Army Saddler

WAGONER (Teamster, Driver)
The 76th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Ord being horse-drawn had as part of their unit horse-drawn wagons that supported the unit when they were on the move. A Wagoner (teamster) would have been in-charge of a wagon. These wagons would have carried the food and supplies of the regiment. The Wagoner or Teamster is responsible for his team, harnesses, and wagon, tools and repair parts. The Wagoner is responsible for properly lubricating his vehicle including the axles. The condition in which the Wagoner keeps his rig is a measure of his efficiency. The Wagoner will keep his animals in good condition, clean, and free of lameness and bunches or boils, and gets his load to the destination successfully. The Wagoner keeps his outfit in first-class shape; he feeds and waters his animals before himself. Looking over the animal's feet is the first and last thing the Wagoner will do every day. To clean their feet out and see if the horseshoes are loose. The Wagoner will inspect the harnesses looking for signs of wear and rubbing on the animals. The Wagoner also inspects and repairs his wagons if need be and is equipped to do so.

Click on the below link to learn more about the Wagoner.

The Duties of the Wagoner

Note: We find two other types of small buildings among the blacksmith shops behind the stables, which their use is not clear at this time. I have been told they were stable sergeants offices and the saddlers' shops. More research is needed.

Looking north, stables on the left and blacksmith shops on the right

Looking west at the blacksmith shops and stables from where the corrals were.

Looking west at the blacksmith shops and stables from where the corrals were.

Looking north at the row of blacksmith shops, stables in the background pictures taken in 2009.

Looking west from the corral area the building on the left is a different building than the blacksmith shops and I have not received a conformation answer to what type of building it was use for. Most agree it was the stable sergeants office, I believe there were three of this type of buildings at one time. And interesting note is that I found in an old newspaper that there was a separate building contract for the blacksmith shops that were constructed after the stables were built.

According to official paperwork from the archives T-1467 is listed as a "Veterinary Infirmary". (Source: National Archives)

(Source: National Archives)

The above image lists the "Loading corrals (2026) and ramp (2028)" at Fort Ord in the 1940's. . I do not believe there is any existing evidence remaining, but I have not taken a good look. My best guess is between the existing Quartermaster warehouses and Highway 1, west of storehouse (warehouse) T-2033 and T-2034. The road in this area was called Warehouse Place. A ramp is located in this area on a September 15, 1941 layout blueprint map of Fort Ord and this ramp may be the animal loading ramp. (Source: National Archives)

Eighty-three new horses direct from the Army Remount Station at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, were given an official welcome by the Fort Ord artillerymen last week. Arriving Monday were 150 more from the Remount Station at Fort Reno, Oklahoma. Note: Loading ramps at Fort Ord.

Stable T-1431 on 4th Ave. The two vertical strips of wood on each post are believe to used to installing the horizontal stall boards between each stall.

I was in Alaska at the time and was not able to document the buildings being demolished. A friend of mind did, Efren Lopez a military combat photographer did. I would like to thank Efren from sharing these posted images. This is my first real good look at these pictures as a tear rolled down my face. - Greg Krenzelok, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group

May 2011 Fort Ord horse stables and blacksmith start to come down. Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

What's left of T-1442, incinerator, dated completed November 30, 1940, 5- ton. Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

Stable being demolished by excavator using demolition bucket "The Jaws of death for this stable", May 2011. Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

Overview of the old stable and blacksmith shop area. Demolition is about complete except for T-1672 (SP-14 Motor repair shop). Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

Fort Ord horse stables being demolished, May 2011. Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

Fort Ord horse stables and blacksmith are now down and all that is left is clean-up, May 2011. Courtesy photo by Efren Lopez

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group Facebook Stables

3rd U.S. INF Regiment The Old Guard
Two Soldiers of the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon are tasked with a unique mission, the care and repair of the hooves of the 66 horses of the platoon. These Soldiers are hand selected by the Caisson Platoon Farrier for their motivation, work ethic, and high standards of performance.

Note: The harnesses you see in this video are the same type used by the 76th Field Artillery at Fort Ord.

Return to The Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2 homepage:

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Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2

Click on the below Homepage links:

Click on the below link:
11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940

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76th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion

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The Army Veterinary Service During the Great War, WW1

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Sergeant Leonard Murphy Veterinary Hospital No. 18, A.E.F., WW1


Motto: "Illic est Vires in Numerus" There is Strength in Numbers

"Working Hard to Preserve Our Country's History wherever it is being lost"

U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country's history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved "Horse and Mule". There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.

Greg Krenzelok

FACEBOOK: U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group