Fort Hunter Liggett

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Fort Hunter Liggett
Monterey County, California, USA
The Hacienda.jpg
A public hotel within Fort Hunter Liggett
Coordinates 35°57′08″N 121°13′50″W / 35.952226°N 121.23065°W / 35.952226; -121.23065[1]
Type Training Reservation
Site information
Owner United States Army
Controlled by IMCOM-West
Open to
the public
Yes
Condition Active, In Use
Website http://www.liggett.army.mil
Site history
Built 1940
In use 1940–Present
Garrison information
Current
commander
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bailey
Garrison 80th Division (IT)
91st Training Division (Operations)

Fort Hunter Liggett (US Army Garrison, Fort Hunter Liggett (USAG, FHL)), named after General Hunter Liggett in 1941, is a United States Army fort in southern Monterey County, California, about 250 miles (400 km) north of Los Angeles and 150 miles (240 km) south of San Francisco. The fort is primarily used as a training facility, where activities such as field maneuvers and live fire exercises are performed. It is adjacent to Camp Roberts, California.

Geography[edit]

The Salinas Valley is the fort's northern border, the Santa Lucia Mountains bound it on the east, Los Padres National Forest on the west and the Monterey and San Luis Obispo County line on the south. The fort originally comprised 200,000 acres (800 km²), but even at its present size of 165,000 acres (668 km²), it is the largest United States Army Reserve command post.

Some of the land, 52 acres (210,000 m2), was given to Mission San Antonio de Padua, bringing its size to 85 acres (340,000 m2). Additionally, land has been traded between the United States Forest Service, which owns the adjacent Los Padres National Forest, and the Army. Junipero Serra Peak or Pimkolam (native American name), formerly called Santa Lucia Peak, is to the north. The fort also contains the headwaters of the Nacimiento River.

There is an historic hotel on the Post known as The Hacienda (Milpitas Ranchhouse) which serves the general public and can be used as guest housing by military personnel. A short distance past the old main gate, there is a road to the southwest which goes to what is known as the "Primitive Campgrounds". There are some camper trailers there, and some water spigots around the site. There is also a central restroom on the site and a store. Near that area is a lot that has several used FEMA trailers stored.

Climate[edit]

Under the Köppen Climate Classification, "dry-summer subtropical" climates are often referred to as "Mediterranean". This climate zone has an average temperature above 10°C (50°F) in their warmest months, and an average in the coldest between 18 to -3°C (64 to 27°F). Summers tend to be dry with less than one-third that of the wettest winter month, and with less than 30mm (1.18 in) of precipitation in a summer month[2]

Climate data for Fort Hunter Liggett, CA
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14
(58)
17
(62)
19
(66)
23
(73)
26
(78)
31
(87)
34
(94)
34
(93)
32
(89)
27
(80)
21
(69)
16
(60)
24.5
(75.8)
Average low °C (°F) 1
(33)
2
(36)
3
(38)
5
(41)
7
(45)
9
(49)
12
(53)
11
(52)
10
(50)
7
(44)
3
(37)
1
(33)
5.9
(42.6)
Precipitation cm (inches) 5
(2)
5
(2)
4.8
(1.9)
3
(1.2)
0.8
(0.3)
0
(0)
0.3
(0.1)
0
(0)
0.3
(0.1)
0.8
(0.3)
3
(1.2)
5.3
(2.1)
28.3
(11.2)
Source: Weatherbase [3]

Demographics[edit]

There are only 250 permanent civil and military residents at the fort. However, the population can swell up to 4,000 when a rotation of personnel comes for training.

History[edit]

A Sheridan M551A1 is displayed within the base near the main entrance

Land for the fort was purchased in 1940 from William Randolph Hearst (Hearst Castle is down the coast), and from adjacent landowners. This surrounded the small unincorporated town of Jolon, which remains today in a significantly diminished form from its heyday.

Fort Hunter Liggett was under the authority of Camp Roberts, California, to the southeast, until 1952, when it became a sub-installation of Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula. From the 1970s through the early 1990s, the base served two purposes: as a training area for the 7th Light Infantry Division (based at Fort Ord), and as the home for the USACDEC (usually abbreviated as CDEC and later as TEC, the Training and Experimentation Command). The mission of CDEC was to evaluate new Army and Marine Corps weapons systems by providing a simulated Soviet Mechanized Rifle Company to act as the "OPFOR", or opposing forces. By this method, the Sergeant York Air Defense Gun was found to have serious flaws, while the Marine's LAV vehicle was validated. In 1993, in preparation of the closure of Fort Ord due to BRAC 1991, Hunter Liggett was transferred to the Army Reserves, which in turn made it a sub-installation of Fort McCoy, Wisconsin in 1995. Since 2003 FHL has managed Camp Parks and Army units and housing that remain at former NAS Moffett Field.[4]

BRAC 2005[edit]

In its 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations, the Department of Defense recommended relocating the 91st Division from Parks Reserve Forces Training Area to Hunter Liggett. A new US Army Reserve Center was constructed and the 91st Division move into their new Headquarter's building in May 2009. On September 11, 2010 the new HQs was designated as the Master Sergeant Robb G. Needham Army Reserve Center after the first 91st Division combat casualty since WWII.

Filming location[edit]

Fort Hunter Liggett was used to film parts of the movie We Were Soldiers.[5] The base was also used in the filming of Clear and Present Danger, starring Harrison Ford.[citation needed]

Fire[edit]

In 2002 a large portion of Fort Hunter Liggett was scorched by a 2000-acre fire started by a U.S. Forest Service employee's personal Jeep. The fire resulted from a "mechanical failure" in the vehicle, and the employee tried to put the fire out before it spread to brush. No injuries were reported but the fire did consume several outbuildings. [6]

Ecology[edit]

The fort covers hundreds of acres of grassland, chaparral and oak woodland. There are several vernal pools, a rare habitat type.[7] The entire world population of the rare Santa Lucia mint (Pogogyne clareana) occurs on Fort Hunter Liggett grounds.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fort Hunter Liggett
  2. ^ "Hunter Liggett, California Köppen Climate Classification". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on May 1, 2013.
  4. ^ "History of Combat Support Training Center". About CSTS. United States Army. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2009-05-16. [dead link]
  5. ^ IMDB
  6. ^ Times Wire Report - July 13, 2002
  7. ^ Cooperative Conservation America
  8. ^ Center for Plant Conservation: P. clareana

External links[edit]