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THE PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY IN THE 1930’S



This page belongs to greg krenzelok.


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Army Day, Soldier Field, looking northwest, 11th Cavalry, Machine Gun Troop, with 11th Cavalry band and the 76th Field Artillery in the background passing in review. Buildings in the background (north side of Soldier Field) left to right: Post bowling alleys, building no. 105; Regimental band and library, building no. 106; barracks nos:63, 61, 59, 57, 55, 53, 51, and 49. Note: refer to the layout map link on the home page. circa 1933. DLIFLC & POM Archives


CAVALRY OFFICER RECALLS PRESIDIO LIFE IN THE 1930'S
Story by Bob Britton

As a youth, he rode 11th Cavalry regimental horses on the Presidio of Monterey from 1937-1940. As an adult, he spent a great deal of time serving with or commanding armored cavalry units during his 35-year Army career.

Growing up as a boy on the Presidio, retired Lt. Gen. John McEnery lived in family quarters along Fitch Avenue when his father, Lt. Colonel Douglas W. McEnery was post surgeon and owned two horses. When his father was stationed at the Presidio of Monterey, there was a small hospital or clinic located next to where the present Presidio Theater exist. In later years, the building became a noncommissioned officers club and was eventually torn down.

“Living on the Presidio was a super place for kids to grow up,” said McEnery. “I went to Pacific Grove Grammar School, which is now the Roberts Downs Elementary School. Children traveled to school riding in the back of an Army one and a half-tom truck with a row of chairs in the back.”

The post’s terrain was similar to what it is today, although the installation wasn’t built up like it is today. Soldier from the 11th Cavalry regiment and the 76th Field Artillery used older wooden buildings on the lower Presidio and some barracks near Fitch Avenue officers quarters. In the late 1930s, Weckerling Center was the old officers” club next to the chapel complex and across from Soldier Field.

Although the Army owned most of the horses, some officers owned their own mounts, McEnery’s father owned two horses and loved to ride. Troopers kept their four-legged friends in stables located near the Pine Street entrance to the Presidio, McEnery mentioned.

“I belong to a mounted Boy Scout troop on post and rode either my father’s horses or the Army’s, “ he said. “We trained on the Presidio, drilled like the cavalry and performed one year at the California Rodeo in Salinas. Sometimes we rode the horses out to Gigling Reservation (the East Garrison part of the former Fort Ord) to practice our riding skills.

“I can remember more horse shows than military reviews on Soldier Field and other places,” he said. “We rode in an open field area where Price Fitness Center is located today. In the late 1930s, Highway 68 or Holman Highway didn’t exist on the backside of the post. Mounted soldiers also used that area as .45 caliber pistol target ranges. We also did trail riding throughout Del Monte Forest without seeing too many houses. Our Boy Scout leaders were high school juniors and seniors, which I was much younger.“

McEnery’s father always had horses wherever he worked. He spent 33 years in the Army Medical Corps and retired as a colonel.

Gen. McEnery comes from a military family. His maternal grandfather was a general officer who commanded the 2nd Cavalry regiment. His father was an Army surgeon. So, it was natural for John McEnery to graduate from West Point in 1948 as a cavalry officer. He later served with or commanded units of the 10th, 11th, and 14th Cavalry regiments and the Air Cavalry Combat Brigade. He also commanded the 3rd Squadron, 11th Cavalry, in Vietnam from 1968-69. This is the same unit stationed on the Presidio in the 1920s and 1930s.

(Note: the article continues on with Gen. McEnery impressive military careers).

(Source: The Globe, date unknown, DLIFLC & POM Archives)


11TH CAVALRY CHUALAR CANYON BIVOUAC CAMP 1939-40
Editors Note: The 11th Cavalry bivouac in Chualar, California quite often on their road marches when going south or going back home to the Presidio of Monterey. In my interviews with 11th Cavalry troopers Andy Andreasen (1934-1937) and Joe Santone (1938-1940) both remember bivouacing in Chualar on road marches.


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40

Greg
We lived in Monterey County on Old Stage Road at Chualar Road, approximately 25 miles from the Cavalry section of Camp Ord. I was six or seven in late summer or early fall of 1939 or '40 when I saw an endless procession of Army trucks, some with trailers, turning from Chualar Road to go south on Old Stage Road and then, in less than a mile, to turn east on Chualar Canyon Road. Why would the Army be here? After what seemed like an hours-long caravan, my two brothers and I learned from our parents that the cavalry was on bivouac on the pasture across from our uncle Frank Johnson's unfinished house--now the house of my brother Harry Johnson, then 11 or 12-years-old.

Whether we learned from conversation from someone who lived on the Johnson Brothers property there or by the magic of the telephone (which we MAY have just gotten in the house), I don't know. But we all had to drive the five miles or so to the pasture. The orderly arrangement of so many horses, tents, and uniformed men was a vision from the movies for us country boys. Immediately, though, I wanted to become a cavalry man. That fantasy, however, was forgotten--until recent years when cousin Carl Mark Johnson showed us the photos his father Karl Johnson had taken. Mark is now happy to share these photos with the War Horse group, and Harry's photo (below) shows the unchanged appearance of that pasture 70-plus years later..

On Karl Wilhelm Johnson. He was never in the military and not even a horseman (though one of his brothers was a horseman/cattle rancher). But he was one of the Johnson Brothers, who farmed and ranched the property where the 11th cavalry bivouacked (as I recall from my 1st grade memory) on that pasture in the late summer or early fall of 1939, '40, and '41. Karl's father (my grandfather) John August Johnson bought that Chualar Canyon property in 1886 or '87. Karl's son, Carl Mark Johnson now of Morgan Hill, preserved and provided the photos.

Dick Johnson Andre (October 2012)


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40. Camp area and picket line.


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40. Horse picket line.


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40. Horse picket line.


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40. Cook tent.


Photographer, Karl Johnson, contributed by his son, Carl Mark Johnson, circa 1939-40


Location of the 11th Cavalry bivouac camp in 1939-40 (red dot)


Location of the 11th Cavalry bivouac camp in 1939-40 (red dot)


Greg - The area you have the pin on is correct. That is a very flat and level field, which is where the cavalry did their exercises at the time they were here. As far as having any particular memories of the event, I only remember that our folks brought us up to see the event which to an 11 or 12 year old was quite impressive. Some of the pictures you already have brought back memories of it.

Harry Johnson

A GOOD DIRT ROAD! PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY TO KING CITY AND JOLON 1920'S
Pre-Highway 101 as traveled by the 11th Cavalry and the 76th Field Artillery horse-drawn.


Source: Created by Greg Krenzelok.


BOOK: SOMETHING ABOUT A SOLDIER
By Charles Willeford

THE KNACKERS
A new book has come to light that I found very interesting. The name of the book is "Something About A Soldier" by Charles Willeford. He was a highly decorated, (Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Luxembourg Croix de Guerre) tank commander with the Third Army during World War II. He also served as a horseshoer in Machine Gun Troop of the 11th Cavalry at the Presidio of Monterey in 1939. His unrestrained tell it like it is and revealing writing I found very refreshing.

In Chapter One he talks about shoeing "Old Raz" a nineteen year old horse, with a horse brand number of 136E. Raz was marked "IC" (inspected and condemned) and how this horse was saved from the "knackers" who were civilians that purchased the condemned horses from the Army. When there was enough condemned horses they would arrive with their truck with A-frame mounted on the back. They would take a piece of blue chalk; draw an X from the horse's ears to their eyes and shoot them in the head. At this point his description of the horses is very revealing. The horses were loaded in the truck using the A-frame and were taken for processing somewhere. The description is gruesome but as a historian found it to be an important documentation of the process that was done at the Presidio, or as least according to him.

Raz proved worthy of redemption and was saved by the breaking of the rules by commanding officers and sergeants to save this horse from the knackers.

The author talks about the "enormous pasturage out at the Giglin (Gigling) Military Reservation, where Camp Ord was located, and sick horses, run-down horses, or horses with a bad cannon or something that needed time to rest and heal were taken out there and left. They ate brown grass and ran around loose in the hills. Once a day a truckload of hay was taken out there, dumped, and broken open. The horses would come crowding around and would fill up on hay. They didn't get any oats, of course, because they weren't working. But a month or so out on the range brought most of them up to snuff again, and they could be rounded up and trucked back to the Presidio for duty. If Sergeant Bellows could smuggle Old Raz out there, the condemned horse would be safe from the knackers, and he could run around-or stumble around- in the hills for months before he was discovered again".

The author continues:

"To return to my original point: Here was Old Raz, a decent but useless horse, but still worth $145 to the government on paper. Someone, somewhere, on paper, had to account for Old Raz, so there was no way that he could be shipped out to the Giglin (Gigling) open range without his whereabouts being noted. So his execution was avoided by a conspiracy of the troop commander, the first sergeant, the stable sergeant, and of course, the veterinarian, who was a major in the Veterinary Corps. I should have realized al that, but I just hadn't accepted the idea that there could ever be an kind of cooperation between officers and enlisted men. I think my change in attitude toward the Army began the day we saved Old Raz from the knackers. Old Raz died about three months later, and they buried him where he fell, out on the Giglin range. But three months is three months, and no one ever turned Old Raz into dog food" - Charles Willeford

NOTE: Warning this book is adult context and not suitable for younger readers.


MOVIE MADE AT THE PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY: "TROOPERS THREE" 1930


Left: Original movie adverting for "Troopers Three" Source: Greg Krenzelok Collection. Right: Advertisement in the Monterey Herald March 1930. Being played at the Golden State Theater, Mid-Nite Matinee, and Presidio of Monterey. All talking movie, big deal for its day.

Note: For years I have been searching for old Horse Soldier movies and I have collected quite a few. Today's review is the movie "Troopers Three" produced in 1930 by Tiffany Studios. This movie was filmed at the Presidio of Monterey, Camp Del Monte, and other locations. The movie appears to be lost except for only a very few short versions of the movie, one which I have found for my collection. Nevertheless it is extremely rare and a real treat to watch.

Here is the synopsis from the video: "Tiffany Studios' all -purpose leading man, heads the cast of Troopers Three. Eddie Haskins and his buddies Bugs and Sunny are washed-up vaudevillians who decide to join the Cavalry, if only for three square meals a day. Once they've filled their bellies, they attempt to bid farewell to the Army, only to learn that they've signed up for a three-year hitch--and this contract is non-negotiable.

Starring:
Rex Lease
Dorothy Gulliver
Roscoe Karns
Slim Summerville

Click on the below link:
Troopers Three Movie POM 1930

TROOPER'S THREE VIDEO - Part 1 of 2. 1930
Troopers Three Movie Part 1 of 2. 1930

TROOPER'S THREE VIDEO – Part 2 of 2 1930
Troopers Three Movie Part 2 of 2. 1930



Return to The 11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940 homepage:

11TH CAVALRY PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1919 TO 1940
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11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940


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Click on the below Homepage links:

76TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1922 TO 1940
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76th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion


FORT ORD U.S. ARMY STATION VETERINARY HOSPITAL (HORSE) WW2
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Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2


THE ARMY VETERINARY SERVICE DURING THE GREAT WAR, WW1
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The Army Veterinary Service During the Great War, WW1


SERGEANT LEONARD MURPHY VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO. 18, A.E.F., WW1
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Sergeant Leonard Murphy Veterinary Hospital No. 18, A.E.F., WW1





U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP

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
gregkrenzelok@msn.com

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

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group