Camp Lockett

This is a formerly used defense site with potential ordnance and explosives contamination that needs Army Corps funding. Until the Army Corps of Engineers receives funding to start the site investigation with DTSC oversight, this site is idle. There are currently no files available at DTSC, however the latest information on this site can be obtained from the Army Corp of Engineers' office.

The location in Campo, 40 miles east of San Diego was first used as a bivouac in 1878.

The location was continuously occupied by a troop of cavalry from 1918 to guard the strategic location where a road/railroad alignment from San Diego to Yuma reenters the US, via a tunnel, from Baja Mexico.

The first 700+ acres of the Camp were acquired in Jun 1941, and first occupied in Nov 1941, while construction continued.

A part of 9th Corps headquartered in San Francisco, it was assigned to the 11th Cavalry Regiment. In Jun 1942, it became Headquarters Southern Land Frontier Sector (SLFS), and was reassigned to the 4th Cavalry Regiment.

Two African-American Cavalry Brigades, the 10th (known as the Buffalo Soldiers) and 28th, garrisoned the Camp arriving in Jul and Dec 1942, respectively.

The army acquired 2,358 acres of public land from the Department of the Interior and 4,047 acres from private landowners, primarily for staging and maneuvering activities. The facility then occupying over 7,100 acres of land in Campo Valley, extended five miles from east to west and nearly three miles north and south.

In Dec 1942, the 10th Cavalry participated in war games against the 140th Infantry, (headquartered in San Diego), in the mountains at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Another war game involved stopping the advance of a hypothetical force invading from Mexico.

Peak activation consisted of approximately 3,500 horse soldiers and hundreds of civilian support personnel occupying more than 500 buildings, including barracks, administration buildings, a hospital, water and sewage treatment plants, two gas stations, stables, recreational facilities, and several arms training areas.

By 1944 the SLFS was deactivated, and in Feb 1944, the 28th and then the 10th Cavalry were dismounted and sent to Algeria.

Briefly on caretaker status, the army re-designated Camp Lockett a Class-I facility and built the well equipped Mitchell Convalescent Hospital that operated until 1946.

Camp Lockett also served as a POW camp for about 200 Italian prisoners reassigned from Camp Haan.


The Army acquired 7,111.748 acres for Camp Lockett as follows:

  • 702.438 acres in fee from private parties and the County of San Diego
  • 2,358.09 acres in Use Permit from the Department of Interior
  • 3,847.49 acres in lease from private parties, circa 1942 1943.
  • 203.73 acres in lesser interests (permit, license, and easement) from private parties, the City of San Diego, and the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railroad.

The Army disposed of 7,111.748 acres as follows:

  • 3,457.49 acres in lease were canceled between 1 Jul 1943 and 18 Apr 1947.
  • 2,358.09 acres in Use Permit were re-transferred to the Department of Interior on 9 July 1948.
  • 160.0 plus 40.0 acres in permits with private parties were terminated on 18 Apr 1946 and 15 Mar 1947 respectively.
  • 1,096.168 acres assumed by the war Assets Administration on 30 Sept 1946, disposed of as follows:
    • 113.0 acres in lease terminated on 1. Apr 1947;
    • 671.21. acres in fee quitclaimed to the County of San Diego on 7 Jun 1950 (acreage includes an Exception of 36.4 acres in fee quitclaimed to the Mountain Empire High School District on 15 Sept 1949); and
    • 277.0 acres in two leases;
    • 31.228 acres in fee; and
    • 3.73 acres in lesser interests disposed of by means unknown.

Over 70 buildings remain, most of which are in use by private parties and the County of San Diego for housing, school, community, or commercial purposes.

-- Raymond Lutz - 30 Aug 2007
Topic revision: r3 - 07 May 2008, RaymondLutz
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