210. Firing Range and Target

210. Firing Range and Target: An Officer's Supervising Tower (1 minute and 59 seconds)
Matt Bischoff, Historian III

Hello! I am Matt Bischoff, Historian for California State Parks. When Fort Ord was an active base, this area was used as firing ranges for small arms. When State Parks took over, many of the structures that had previously been here were removed. A few were left as reminders of the military use.

Hundreds of thousands of infantry soldiers trained here at Fort Ord, from World War II to the Persian Gulf. Perhaps the most important part of any soldier’s training was in the use and care of his or her rifle. To “qualify” in the use of their weapons, soldiers trained in marksmanship on ranges such as the one that existed in the area before you.

The ranges at Fort Ord, including the beach ranges, were extremely well organized, orderly, and well kept. They were a source of pride for the soldiers who trained here as well as those who trained them.

One soldier who went through basic training at Fort Ord in 1954 described it in this way:

“…one of the many things that impressed me about FortOrd was the professionalism with which the cadre went about their business. They were dedicated to teaching us what we needed to learn in order to cut it as an infantryman, should we later be assigned to an infantry outfit… FortOrd, in a word, had class.” [Bertram L. Brent, who went through basic training at FortOrd in 1954]

Safety was the top priority for the officers and non-commissioned officers who ran the ranges. This was constantly drilled into the soldiers so that it would become second nature. Red flags flying from flag poles at the head of each range indicated that that range was in use.

Stationed in a tower like the one you see before you, was the Officer of the Day—generally a Lieutenant or Captain in rank. From this vantage point overlooking the range, the officer supervised the operation of the range.