Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the largest training facility on the West Coast. It is about 38 miles from San Diego. Camp Pendleton has been known as the major employer in North San Diego County for over 60 years. The Base offers a variety of specialized schools and training. Camp Pendleton is home to more than 38,000 military family members.
Spanish Captain Gaspar de Portola wanted to reach Monterey
Bay, which was a task no European had yet done. On July 20, 1769, Portola’s
journey arrived at what is now Camp Pendleton.
That day was the day of the holy St. Margaret, so the land was named
Santa Margarita. There were 21 assignments that had been completed during 30
years, the most famous one being the San Luis Rey Mission. This mission had
authority over the Santa Margarita area.
Once the Mexicans had freed themselves from Spain, a few
members of Portola’s crew had been awarded land grants from the governor. Pio
Pico and Andres Pico were the brothers that were the new owners of Rancho Santa
Margarita. However, Pio was in debt and his brother-in-law, John Forster, paid
it off. Unfortunately, Forster was required to auction off the land due to a
drought. A rich cattleman by the name of James Flood bought the land and it was
managed by his loyal friend, Richard O’Neill.
The Army and Marine Corps had been searching for a large
piece of land that would serve as their training facility. The Army lost
interest and backed out, but the Marine Corps were still attracted. There were
not very many training facilities across the United States. President Roosevelt
agreed and saw an urgent need for more training facilities. This led to the creation
of Camp Pendleton. The Marine Corps bought the rancho for $4,239,062.