Twentynine Palms, CA: Who is Camp Wilson named after?

7 Oct 2005 | Pfc. Regina N. Ortiz

In the early 1950s, the Marine Corps felt the need to train in desert conditions, but lacked the facilities to conduct such training. During the search for this type of area, Marines from Camp Pendleton came upon an area where a glider training school used to be, once called Condor Field, in Twentynine Palms, CA. On Aug. 20, 1952, Base Headquarters at Camp Pendleton, CA, issued Post Order 343 that named 930 squaremiles of Twentynine Palms the Camp Detachment, Marine Corps Training Center, owned and operated by Camp Pendleton. Infantry training units from Camp Pendleton regularly made trips to the detachment for training purposes. In December 1952, Col. Leonard Chapman brought the 12th Marine Artillery Regiment to the Training Center for the first large-scale, live-fire exercises. When firing exercises were over, a pole was posted, the flag was raised and the area was named Camp Wilson. The camp was named after the late Brig. Gen. John B. Wilson, who had commanded the 12th Marine Regiment when the artillery unit was activated in 1942. There are many debates whether the camp had been named after Brig. Gen. John B. Wilson, or the 26th commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Louis H. Wilson, who passed away June 21, 2005. Although the 26th commandant began devising a plan to make use of the large desert training area in the 1970s, Camp Wilson was named long before those impacts were felt. Information was gathered from the book U.S. Marines at Twentynine Palms, California, from the History and Museums Division Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington D.C.
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