Monday, March 23, 2009

Grover Cleveland Elementary School (part two)

In the first picture, the nearest door is the "Boys Lavatory" in the 300 building, heavily used because it was right off the playground. Again, the railings weren't there during my years of attendance. If some kid shoved your face into the water faucet and you busted a tooth, TS, and probably a trip to the office for the shover. The boy's room always smelled of a mixture of urine and pink Luron powdered hand soap. The urinals were the kind that went all the way to the tile floor and the bottom part extended slightly out into the floor between your feet. The same grimey, grubby stains from several generations of dirty-handed little pupils attest to their passing that way.

The second picture shows a room in the 300 building where I attended fourth grade. That year, I was in a combination class of half fourth graders and half fifth graders. While I as at Cleveland, there were three separate waves of kids in the same grade and they tended to keep us together in batches. That one year, the balance must have been off that prevented a full class of fourth graders and the same for fifth, so we were thrown together. Our teacher that year was a veteran and ran the show skillfully if not dictatorially. She was well known for applications of minor corporal punishment.

The last picture shows the west end of the 300 building. I had my fifth grade class around the corner to the right. The passageway on the end of the building, which is partially covered, was always referred to "The Breezeway" which I could never figure out. When I was going to this school, they had a system of pupil hallway "Monitors" whose duty is was to watch the hallways and passages and inform on any other pupils who were up to no good. Kind of a mini Gestapo.

Because we lived so close to the schoolground, on weekends my neighborhood friends and I often played there. Many, many times I've ridden my bicycle through that breezeway because it had kind of a hump in it at one point that would cause the bike to jump up a bit.

I went to Cleveland during the "Baby Boom" and the school was packed with kids from surrounding neighborhoods. The school was so packed that they had quite a number of temporary wood frame buildings (called "bungalows") brought in and situated on the edges of the playground. These are mostly gone now, because the pressure on attendance is much lower. There are very few school-age children in the surrounding local neighborhoods. To fill the school, they bus kids in from other areas where the birthrate has been much higher.

During the Cold War when Nikita Khrushchev was pounding his shoe on the lectern at the UN, local school district authorities got nervous about atom bombs going off. They came around one day and started putting up blast shields (masonite panels) over many of the west-facing windows. This was because the presumed target in the area was the naval shipyard, naval station, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and that's where any blast might come from. The masonite panels were to protect us from flying glass, but I'm not sure if they realized that the wood frame bungalows would just be blown to smithereens anyway.

Grover Cleveland was the only president to have served two terms non-continuously.

Grover Cleveland Elementary School (part one)

The elementary school that I attended was Grover Cleveland School in Lakewood, Calif. Lakewood is a planned community suburb of Long Beach. I started attending Grover Cleveland in kindergarten in Fall, 1955. The school was newly opened in 1953; my sister started elementary school in 1951 at Douglas MacArthur School and was transferred to Cleveland when it opened. Cleveland was half a block from our home and MacArthur was a mile distant.

Cleveland is in the Long Beach Unified School District. Nearly all of the schools are named after famous Americans and American presidents.

When I was a pupil there, and that's the word they used to use, "pupil", the schoolgrounds looked so big and it took so long to traverse the entire property from side to side and particularly its length. I visited there recently while traveling and it seemed to have shrunk up some. Here are some pictures that I took when I was there.

The first picture about is the front of the school office. When I attended, it didn't have the gold lettering underneath the school name, nor did it have the handicapped ramp where the boy on the bike is standing. I asked him if he went to this school, and he said no, that he went to Clara Barton which is several miles away. While we were talking, his cell phone rang and he took a call. We didn't have cell phones in 1955-62 either; the "Dick Tracy Two-Way Wrist Radio" was still a cartoonist's dream in that time.

The olive trees are the same ones that were planted there in 1953; they don't grow very fast.

The second picture is a view looking north down the school building's front from the office area. Way down on the left is the kindergarten. I had first and second grade classes in the rooms facing the street. The tubular metal railing near the flagstone wall wasn't there in those days.

The building in the third picture is a combination cafeteria and auditorium. It must not have been in the initial construction budget because it was built after the rest of the school, around 1956 or 57. The cafeteria was in the end of the building on the left hand side, and the auditorium space is in the end on the left. I never noticed it before, but with those weird angles it certainly dates itself to 1950's architecture. There used to be a giant concrete and iron incinerator behind the cafeteria. It was gas fired, and the custodian (Mack) burned up all the school trash in it, including the little wax-coated milk cartons that came out of the cafeteria by the hundreds every day. Mack had a long metal ram with a flat plate on the end of it that he used to stoke the incinerator. As a boy, I enjoyed watching this daily ritual. Due to air quality issues, the incinerator disappeared around 1960 or so; so did the little concrete back yard incinerators that many homes used to have.

In January, 1961, we were herded into this auditorium to watch the inauguration of John F. Kennedy on two large Philco Predicta television sets.

In the fourth picture, the entrance to the cafeteria can be seen. The tubular railings and handicapped ramp weren't there during my years of attendance. If you got shoved off the steps, it was just TS. The rust-colored boiler room doors were the scene of a minor drama for me once. While standing in line to enter the cafeteria, I was playing with my lunch money which was a silver quarter. Somehow, I dropped it into one of the air vent louvers on the boiler room doors. The lunch room lady taking the money listened to my story (she'd heard dozens of versions of the same thing already, no doubt) and let me have my lunch with the promise of payment tomorrow. When my mother got home, I told her what had happened and we went down to the school. We looked up Mack the custodian, and he hauled out his wad of about 50 keys, opened up the boiler room door and retrieved my quarter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Matchbook Collecting

Matchbooks, or match covers, at one time were something that a number of people collected. My dad started collecting matchbooks when he was a teenager in the 1930's and saved them until his death in 1984. Maybe this was something that people took up in the Depression era because it was kinda fun and didn't cost anything as most matchbooks were given away as advertising. So, my dad's matchbook collection is one of the few tangible remains of his presence on earth. It has sat in storage for decades at my mother's house and I brought it home with me on my last trip. Since it isn't practical to count them, all I can do is estimate how many are there. I would say, perhaps three or four thousand. Most of them fit in a 20 gallon galvanized garbage can, but there are also a few shirt boxes and a five gallon popcorn tin full that won't fit into the 20 gallon can. Recently, I made a first pass through them to make an attempt to sort them into some kind of order. The majority of them seem to fall into what is called now the "hospitality business" category, meaning restaurants and places of lodging. There is a goodly number of matchbooks that relate to the automobile business since that was my dad's line of work. There is also a quantity of military-related items, because he had been an Air Force officer, first active and later reservist. In that batch, there are O-Club matchbooks from all over, from Walter Reed Medical Center to Edwards AFB and everywhere else in between. I even recognize a few that I obtained for him while I was on active duty.

One bunch that I segregated out were what I consider having no value. These filled a brown Kraft paper shopping bag half full and these were the likes of "Get Your High School Diploma" and "California Driving School" plus a certain number of blanks and other generic, meaningless pieces. Those are only good for, well, lighting fires.

It has occurred to me that the future of matchbook collecting is probably pretty grim. I feel this is true mainly because these items are rarely given out as a form of advertising any longer. I'm sure that this has something to do with the fact that tobacco use is greatly reduced compared to former times, and the practice of smoking itself is almost considered socially incorrect. Many businesses might not want people to think they were condoning smoking by offering complimentary matches.

I get very hungry looking through all of these matchbooks. Many of the matchbooks are for restaurants that are no longer in existence. From the area where I used to live, I recognize many of them as places where I have eaten. I think things like, "Wow, they had the best (fill in the blank) there" and I wonder why they are all gone now. So much of the restaurant food we get now all tastes the same and is no longer unique from place to place. I miss the many independent coffee shops and restaurants that have mostly gone away.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A trip to KFC

KFC is what they call "Kentucky Fried Chicken" these days. I go there about once every five years just to remind myself why I go so infrequently. I really like to bite into a nicely fried piece of chicken, but KFC may not be the best place to do it.

They get you good for wanting a breast; the extra cost is signficant. Plus, I never have figured out who taught these guys how to cut up a chicken. They don't do it like we do it at home. They do it so as to not waste the back; they cut it up so several people get pieces of the back.

My chicken was nice and hot, but the mashed potatoes were luke-warm and the biscuit was nearly cold. The "baked" beans weren't too bad, but the vinegar in them had been laid on with a heavy hand.

They have a couple of different kinds of coating you can get on the outside. There's regular and extra crispy. I like things crispy; that's a big reason I like fried chicken. The problem is, with KFC's extra crispy, the coating is so thick on the outside that the skin under the coating may not be as thoroughly cooked as the regular coating. I'd forgotten that from my last visit, only to have to relearn it tonight.

One trend that annoys me somewhat is the increasing tendency at fast food joints of having counter people who can barely speak English. I often have questions about items on the menu, and sometimes these newly-arrived don't understand me. If it isn't on a pre-programmed button on their cash register, they cannot explain it.

Some but not all KFC stores have a fairly good little chicken pie. These are not made in the store, but are frozen and come from Pillsbury. They aren't too bad and it's difficult for workers to foul them up.

One other complaint about KFC is the thing called a "spork" which is a combination of a spoon and a fork but not really good for either function. Now really, is it all that difficult to keep two different table tools, instead of being really cheap and providing only the one combination tool? Wendy's seems to be able to pull it off. And, if you want a plastic knife to cut up your chicken (like my wife does), forget it. Bring your Swiss Army knife.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Desert Rats

I've been visiting the desert areas in southern California for a good many years. There are conventional towns and cities in the desert, and there are more remote areas where people tend to live more solitary lives. Those who choose to live the solitary life I have come to term "Desert Rats" and they often demonstrate a certain common mentality.

One of the common threads among the desert rat mentality is the desire to escape city life. Most of them were not born in desert locations, they migrated there from the city. Their desire was to escape from city life, to get away from it all. In my own observation, they often tend to be on the eccentric side. As voluntary refugees from city life, they are by definition individualists and non-conformists. They like their space, freedom, and privacy. It's only my opinion, but after while, they seem to become even more ideosyncratic. Maybe it's the isolation, or perhaps they've been in the sun too long. Another thing they seem to have in common is they all seem to be armed.

The desert rats are under siege these days. Back in the 1960's and 70's when I was roaming the wide open desert, there were still plenty of remote places that people just couldn't get or didn't want to go to. Hard-to-get-to places tended to stay that way. Nobody seemed to care what went on in the desert, either, and law enforcement was scarce -- another thing the desert rats found attractive.

Things have changed. Today, absolute floods of city people stream out into the desert every weekend in all sorts of vehicles. With them, they take along all sorts of noise-making accessories of society. One of these forms of invasion are the many off-road vehicles that seem to have proliferated. With these machines, no corner of the desert is too remote to receive visitors from the city. These vehicles consist of but are not limited to, dune buggies, ATV's, motorbikes of all descriptions, and four wheel drives of various kinds. The weekenders from the city also bring all nature of sound equipment to disturb nature. They camp wherever they want to, on public and private lands. They leave behind piles of trash generated during their visit.

The desert weekenders from the city do have one thing in common with the resident desert rats. They go to the desert to get away from the city, if only for a weekend. The desert rats left the city to get away from it all and find peace and quiet in the vast open spaces of the desert. The city weekenders bring the disturbance of the city with them to the desert. There is a certain amount of conflict that has arisen as a result of this clash of cultures; fist-fights and exchanged gunfire have erupted over noise and trespass issues.

The desert rats are under pressure from another source. That is government regulation. Much of the land in the desert belongs to the federal government in one form or another, and over the past three decades a flurry of laws have been enacted governing the use of the desert. Some it has to do with managing habitat and wildlife, and some of it is directed at controlling certain activities in certain areas, like off-roading. There has also been an increase in control over desert areas by local authorities. County enforcement officers drive around and issue tickets for people having too many trailers or shipping containers on their property. Used to be, nobody cared if a person had 100 old automobile bodies on his property; the nearest neighbor might be five miles away. Now, code enforcers use airplanes to overfly properties to see if they can find violations. It seems like city-like rules and regulations have come to the desert.

Oh well, I guess the desert is no longer the quiet, open space that it used to be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Big traffic jam on I-5, Feb. 14, 2009

When I drove south to California recently, I got caught in a snow storm on Interstate 5 in the Siskiyou Mountains near Mount Shasta in northern California. I knew there was a storm warning for the evening and I was trying to make distance before nightfall. My intended stopover was in Redding, CA. I didn't make my distance as I would've liked and it was dusk between Yreka and Weed, CA. North of Weed, I noticed a CalTrans worker putting up some signs, but since I was going by before the signs went up, I supposed that whatever they said applied to all who came after. Between Weed and four miles north of Weed, it's not uncommon for CalTrans to call for tire chains in winter weather. So, I drove this stretch and it looked pretty good but it was starting to snow. It was about 5:30PM at this point. The snow got heavier the farther south I drove; big, wet globs of flakes. It wasn't too long before I-5 was down to one lane and vehicles were down to about 25-30 mph. Every once in a while, I would get stuck behind a big rig, and I would venture out into the #2 lane and go around. It kept snowing, but I forged ahead, staying behind a Ford pickup for many miles before two CalTrans dump trucks with snow plows pulled onto the road. They drove along as a pair, one in the #2 land, the other slightly behind in the #1 lane. I followed these two guys for quite a few miles and thought I had it made. After a while, we came upon a CalTrans truck that was parked on the shoulder that had an electric sign up that said, "ALL VEHICLES PREPARE TO STOP." By this time, I wasn't all that far from Redding and I thought, "How bad can it be?"

It was bad. All traffic did come to a stop, and after sitting for ten minutes or so, I got out of my car and went up to a pickup just ahead of me. When I came up, they rolled down their window for a chat. They had been talking to someone they knew on a cellphone who was up at the head of this stalled mess. They said that the blocked traffic was due to two large trucks that had collided and blocked the road completely. Oh, and their friend was nearly 15 miles up the road. So, what we had was 15 miles of two lane interstate covered with vehicles and the snow was still coming down hard. Most vehicles did not have chains on. Mind you, this is a stretch of road that normally has cars going along on it at 60 to 70 mph, but now it's solid cars and trucks, hundreds of them. We all sat there and idled for quite some time; traffic in the #2 lane moved up a bit from time to time, and I got in this lane. While I had been waiting, I killed some time by putting on my own tire cable chains.

The terrain in the area near Shasta Lake is one of ravines with creeks running down to the lake. The interstate crosses these ravines, so there are many up and down grades along the roadway. So, as I advanced just a little bit in this big jam-up, I reached the bottom of a downgrade, hit the trough but ahead of me on the next upgrade was a big tangle of cars and trucks that couldn't get traction to get up the hill. As anyone knows who has regularly driven in snow and ice, once you get going up a grade, you don't stop; you have to keep up your momentum or you will stall and lose traction. Well, in this big traffic jam out in the middle of nowhere, that's exactly what happened. All these vehicles had been forced to come to a stop on a slippery hill and couldn't get going again. Even big rigs that had their chains fitted where just spinning their wheels. Some light vehicles with chains, four wheel drive, and even some front wheel drives were able to get past, but it was a big free-for-all because anybody who was able to advance had to go around a gauntlet of stalled cars and trucks. As I attempted to go around a stalled big rig on the right, I got in some deeper snow and threw off one of my cable chains. When I got out, I could see that one of the cable cross-members had gotten broken somehow. As I looked back down the road toward the dip, I could see vehicles scattered all over the road, aimed in different directions. Back a bit further, big rigs had jammed the road in such a way that no other vehicles could get around them.

Well, I had to figure something out. On cars that have non-locking rear axles on them, the right rear wheel is the driving wheel on slick surfaces; lose traction with the right side and the left side will just sit. So, I decided to move my good chain on the left side over to the right so I could get traction with the main driving wheel. About the time I got this changed around, two CalTrans workers were doing their best to sort the mess out. One had a big road grader that had two offset snow plow blades attached to it. The other had a heavy pickup with a push bumper on the front. The grader man was clearing as much snow as he could between stalled vehicles, kind of making a path for those who could proceed to do so. The pickup man was getting behind the stalled big rigs and giving them just a little push, which is all it takes, to get them going again. With just a little push, once they are off of a dead stop they can regain enough traction to get going. About the time I was wondering where all the tow trucks were going to come from to clear up this mess, CalTrans rode in to the rescue and got it moving again.

I got going again no problem with my one cable chain on the right side. The big jam on the hill had allowed traffic to open up for a couple of miles, then it came to a complete stop again because the Calif. Highway Patrol had finally put up a chain control stop for all vehicles. They were inspecting each vehicle for chains, and only those so fitted were allowed to proceed. This line-up was miles long, and for all I know, when they encountered a vehicle without chains on, but in possession, they made them put them on then and there with the line-up behind them.

Since I had planned to lay over in Redding, which was not too distant in miles, I'd also planned to refuel there. Instead, I got stuck in the snow and traffic in the mountains and by the time I got to the chain control, I was just below a quarter of a tank of fuel. I could picture sitting there in line, idling for hours, and eventually running out of fuel. About this time, I saw that we had come up to one of the roadside rests that are spaced out along the interstate. Playing it safe, I pulled into the rest to wait it out. This was about 9:00PM. There were a number of big trucks stopped there, but very few cars. I changed my clothes, which had all gotten soaked while dealing with the cable chains. Normally, I don't even like to have wet socks on. To wait it out, I climbed into the back seat of the car to try to take a nap, but it was cold, uncomfortable and unrestful. About 3:00AM, I decided to see what was going on down on the road. I got my stuff organized, then tooled down to the road and there wasn't a vehicle in sight. The road had been closed down completely to new traffic back north of Weed, and all the stalled cars were gone. I drove on to within ten miles of Redding without seeing another single car. Pity was, I was only about 20 miles from Redding when I pulled into the roadside rest. In the meantime, the temperature had risen and the snow had turned to rain. When I rejoined the interstate, the snow on the roadway had been smooshed by all the traffic that had been lined up, then melted. Of course, from here on down the elevation decreases as you leave the mountains. If it hadn't been for the truck collision, I probably would have made it out of the mountains and the snow and been in a warm motel room in Redding before 8:00PM. If it hadn't been snowing at all, I would've been there by 6:30, maybe 7:00PM. As it was, it took me about 9 hours to cover what should've taken a single hour.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oakland Army Base - Gateway to the Vietnam War

One of the way-stations in my Army life was Oakland Army Base, the main entry portal to Vietnam.

During the early phases of the Vietnam war, US Army forces typically were deployed to Vietnam as whole units. Men who had trained together deployed at the same time and served there in the same unit. These troop movements originated in different locations throughout the US, and some of them deployed through Oakland Army Base. Many of these early deployments were by ship, but some were by air.

Later in the war, most of the original units remained in place and were filled out with replacement troops from the US as needed. These replacements were sent through Fort Lewis, Washington, and Oakland Army Base for a time, with Oakland being the main replacement personnel center. Toward the end of the war, replacements moved only through Oakland.

In my own experience, I went to Vietnam twice. The first time I went as a newby replacement, a very lonely experience. My orders assigned me to the US Army Overseas Replacement Station, Oakland, California with a reporting date of 7 July 1970. I was there in a sea of other replacements, most of whom didn't know each other. The infantry war was winding down, but the support war was still going strong. Lots of the replacements were 13A10 "junior cannon cockers" going over for duty in the artillery. Barracks life in a transient station is chaotic at best and zoo-like at its worst. The transient billets were equipped with bunks only; no lockers. About the only way to secure your gear was to tie it to a bunk rail and hope it would be there when you got back. Every day, there were two or three formations in the large parking lot out behind the long row of concrete barracks buildings. At these formations, they would read names off of a list. Those names that were read off were manifested on a flight. At that time, those so manifested would get their gear and be marched away to a holding area pending shipment to Travis Air Force Base to get on a flight to Vietnam.

If your name wasn't read for the latest flight manifest, cadre would comb through the remaining transient personnel looking for people to put on various details around the base. It didn't take me long to determine that the back of the formation was the best place to be, since the cadre took their victims from the front ranks. Those not chosen for some chickens**t detail were dismissed and could melt away and do whatever they wanted to until the next formation time.

It was in one of these formations that I met a replacement who was carrying around a clipboard. I asked him what that was for, and he told me he used it as a prop to avoid work details. If he was selected in ranks for a detail, he would tell the cadre member that he was already on a detail for "post engineers." After the formations were over, he would wander around post with his clipboard. If anyone stopped him and asked him what he was doing, he would flash the clipboard and tell them he was checking for broken windows (or burned-out light bulbs) for post engineers. It seemed to be working for him.

Once a replacement was manifested on a flight, they were isolated in a warehouse that was used as a holding area. Once in this building, no one was allowed to leave until the buses arrived from Travis AFB. This was a huge warehouse, filled with bunks stacked three deep for as far as you could see.

There were certain practical and psychological limitations that were in practice at Oakland Army Base for dealing with transient personnel. After reporting in for oversea movement, replacment personnel were restricted to base. Apparently, it was felt that some people might disappear at this late stage in their deployment to Vietnam in a kind of last minute change of heart or mind. No photography was permitted in the replacement center. My guess about this is that they used the old story about matters concerning troop movements being secret, when in fact what they were concerned about was the negative impact on morale that might occur if such photos got out. There was also the problem with media getting ahold of such pictures during those turbulent times when military involvement in Vietnam was controversial.

The second time I went to Vietnam, I had extended my tour for six months beyond the initial year. In exchange for doing this, the army gave me a free 30 day leave plus travel time to and from my choice of leave site. I left Vietnam on an army charter flight and we landed at McChord AFB, Washington. Those men who were being separated from the army went to the adjacent Fort Lewis for processing and those of us going on leave or on a PCS movement to another station took buses to SeaTac Airport.

After my leave was over, it was time to go back to Vietnam. I don't recall why I did this, but I reported back to Oakland Army Base for return to Vietnam. I had been issued a TR (Travel Request) in Vietnam for my return trip. I could've used the TR to go to any air force base and get transportation back to Vietnam. Instead, I went to Oakland and went through the manifesting process there. Maybe I forgot that I had the TR. In any case, I repeated the experience at Oakland that I had gone through a little over a year previously. I really knew the ropes this time. By going through Oakland, I used up a couple of my remaining days in the army but when I got back to my unit in Vietnam, nobody said anything about the amount of travel time I had taken.

My last experience at Oakland Army Base was quite the opposite of the first two. The third time, I was getting out of the army and going home. After the long flight back from Vietnam, we landed at Travis AFB and were bused to Oakland for a 20 hour administrative session out-processing from the army. I was relieved from active duty and separated from the service on 12 February 1972.

When we first arrived back at Oakland for separation, they deposited us in front of an entrance with an elaborate sign over it that said "Welcome Home." Inside, we entered a mess hall that was open 24 hours a day and served a steak dinner. Since I was sick from food poisoning I got just before leaving Vietnam, I couldn't much enjoy this part of it.

The returnee area was quarantined from the area containing the replacements waiting to go to Vietnam. By this time, however, business had gotten slow since the war was winding down.

Most of the out-processing consisted of paperwork, but we were given (cursory) physical examinations. One of the things we did was go into a quartermaster warehouse and get issued a new AG-344 Class A Army Green uniform for going home. Part of this was getting our combat patch sewed on our right sleeve. When I went into the room where the patches were displayed on the wall, I pointed to the USARV patch, and the warehouseman said, "Sold out. Pick another." Just like that, my service in Vietnam changed command. Well, I looked on the board and noticed that the II Field Force patch was the same shape and colors, so I went home with that on my sleeve.

Through this very portal quite a few men passed that never came back alive. Once started off on such a journey, no one knows how it's going to turn out. It's kinda depressing, but for those who didn't make it back, this was the last they saw of their homeland

Check out the posts below for vintage and contemporary pictures of Oakland Army Base.

Pictures of Oakland Army Base - then and now (part 1)

The first picture is of the transient barracks area on W. 14th St. at Oakland Army Base. This was a complex of concrete barrack and mess hall facilities built mostly in 1954-55. I took this picture in September, 1976 when I was visiting in the area. By this time, Oakland Army Base had become very quiet with the ending of the Vietnam war. This area was mostly used by the US Army Reserve at that time.

The second picture is of the same street in front of the former transient barracks site. I took this picture in February, 2009, and about all that is left are the driveway aprons. The buildings have been very recently torn down.

The third picture is of the area behind the transient billets where we lined up for manifesting formations in the paved area. Picture taken 1976.

The fourth picture, taken Feb. 2009, shows the same area behind the location of the former transient barracks where the formations were held. All that is left is the one building on the right hand edge; that building is the only early 1950's building remaining on the site and is at present used by a hospital unit of the USAR.

Pictures of Oakland Army Base then and now (part 2)

The first picture is of the warehouse used as a sealed holding area prior to busing to Travis AFB. Picture taken 1976. By that time, it had been re-named the "Oakland Army Base Sports Arena" (??!!)

The second picture taken Feb. 2009, the pile of pulverized concrete debris is approximately on the site of the warehouse used as a holding area. In 1995, Oakland Army Base was slated for closure in one of the many base realignment measures taken under the Clinton administration. The base was turned over to the City and Port of Oakland in 1999 for various civilian uses. That part of Oakland Army Base that was used as the personnel center, plus other post activities fell into the area that was taken over by the Port of Oakland. It is being converted to an intermodal transportation center for use by the railroad in the Port of Oakland. There are a few straggling remnant USAR units that are tenants in two buildings but their time there is very short.

The third picture oddly enough, is of one of the few identifying items remaining at Oakland Army Base which is the sign at the main gate to the former personnel center.

The fourth picture is the guard shack at the former gate to the Oakland Army Base overseas personnel center.