Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (PRFTA)
Dublin, CA / Pleasanton, CA
Camp Parks, home of the Army's 91st Division (Reserve), is located in the eastern reaches of the San Francisco Bay Area near the City of Livermore. The Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (PRFTA), historically known as Camp Parks, is located in the city of Dublin, California, South East of Oakland near the intersection of Interstate Highways 580 and 680.
Located in the Northern California Bay Area, Camp Parks RFTA is a vital part of the total Army in the Western United States. A sub-installation of Fort McCoy, Camp Parks is the only training facility within a short drive for 11,000-plus reservists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Firing ranges and a wide variety of training facilities are available. The post is home to state-of-the-art facilities: the Regional Training Site-Intelligence, Regional Training Site-Medical and the 91st DIV Battle Projection Center. Growth is on the horizon as new facilities have been built and more are programmed for construction in the near future.
Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (Camp Parks) has a primary mission of exercising the functions of command, training, security, administration, servicing and supply to all troop units, military activities, and other governmental agencies assigned or attached. The installation is operated by the U.S. Army Reserve Command, Atlanta, GA, as a direct reporting installation of Fort McCoy, WI. The readiness of today's Army Reserves is critical to national defense. Parks RFTAs area of responsibilities include providing services and training support to military units (active and reserve) and to other requesting organizations and activities. New and state-of-the-art training facilities have been built and more are being programmed.
Reserve units permanently stationed there conduct weekend inactive duty training throughout the year, and reserve component units travel here for their two-week annual training. Parks RFTA is ideally situated to provide total forces with meaningful training and offers the convenience of accessibility. Airports, freeways and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system provide easy access to the installation.
The U.S. Army has a significant impact on the State of California, especially in the Dublin-Livermore-Pleasanton Valley (Tri-Valley) of Northern California. The 91st Division constructed and opened a new Battle Projection Center, and a beautiful facility as their Division Headquarters. The front gate will soon be relocated on our southern border across from the BART station on Dublin Boulevard. Renovation of buildings now house a modern DoD Police Department, a Distance Learning Center, and the Bay Area Training Support Center. In the cantonment area are administrative and classroom buildings, upgraded troop billets, a remodeled dining facility, a modern lodging facility, an informative history center, and other support and training facilities that make everyone's stay much more pleasant. A facilities maintenance department (DPW) employs a small, dedicated work force.
The Troop Medical Clinic is staffed during annual training with medical personnel providing medical care to service personnel training here. Fire and emergency services are located on 5th Street at Building 636, and provide full response capabilities including fire, medical (EMTs), and fire prevention inquiries on a 24-hour basis. A small Post Exchange, located on Davis Avenue, is equipped to sell clothing and food. The DoD federal police, located in Building 692 (east of the post flagpole), are tasked with handling law enforcement and can be contacted 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Parks' offers safe refuge to special-status species and endangered wildlife. Environmental issues, concerns and protection questions can be addressed through the environmental office in Building 791.
Camp Parks, designated Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in 1980, is named after Rear Admiral Charles W. Parks, CEC, USN. It was built a Navy Base during World War II, and was commissioned Jan. 19, 1943 -- home to the Navy Seabees. Adjacent Camp Parks to the east, laid Camp Shoemaker and the U.S. Naval Hospital Shoemaker, also built during the war. The three Navy bases laying side by side were called "Fleet City." In 1946, at the end of World War II, the Secretary of the Navy disestablished the three facilities, and from 1946 to 1951, the Navy leased the land to the County of Alameda for use as a rehabilitation center. In 1947 the Santa Rita County Jail became operational.
In 1951, the Navy reacquired control of most of the land, with the exception of the county's 900 acres, and transferred the property to the U.S. Air Force. Although construction of Air Force facilities began in 1951, the official transfer of ownership occurred in 1953. The facility was renamed Parks Air Force Base and functioned as a basic training center, overseas replacement depot, and air base defense training area during the Korean War.
In July 1959, the installation was transferred to the United States Army. From 1959 to 1973, it was operated in a standby status under the jurisdiction of the Sixth United States Army, Presidio of San Francisco. In 1964, Sixth Army declared the entire installation excess, but was directed by the Department of the Army to retain 1600 acres for National Guard and Navy use. Between 1964 and 1973 much of the excess property was transferred to the County of Alameda and used as a Job Corps Training Center. The program taught academics and trade skills to underprivileged male youths. One of the youths enrolled in the program became boxing's heavyweight champion of the world ... George Foreman.
By 1973, the U.S. Army determined that Camp Parks was needed as a mobilization and training center for Reserve Components in the event of war or natural disaster. On Dec.11, 1980, the Army officially designated Camp Parks as a semi-active installation, renamed it Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, and declared it a subinstallation of the Presidio of San Francisco. On Oct. 1, 1992, Parks RFTA became a subinstallation of HQ, I CORPS and FORT LEWIS, Fort Lewis, Wash. With the reorganization of the Reserve Component, command and control passed from Forces Command Oct. 1, 1993, to the United States Army Reserve Command in Atlanta, Ga., and on Oct. 1, 1994, Parks RFTA became a direct-reporting installation of Fort McCoy, Wis.
Regional Training Site-Medical, Bldg. 860 provides new equipment training, sustainment training, and external evaluation subject matter experts to the total medical force.
104th Division (IT) (4th Bde CSS; 6th Bn PSS; 9th Bn PN/HS) provides MOS/NCOES training to soldiers to enhance the readiness of individual units.
Headquarters, 91st Division (Training Support), Bldg. 510 plans and conducts simulation exercises for Reserve Component battalions and brigades in the Fifth Army West Region. On order, assists CONUSA Mobilization Assistance Team, provides personnel augmentation and simulation support as directed. 1st Bn, 363rd Rgt, 3rd Bde, 91st DIV (TS), Bldg. 141 plans and conducts pre-mobilization training support for U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard units located in Northern California and Nevada. The Battalion also is prepared to establish a Defense Coordination Element which coordinates all Military Support to Civilian Authorities during disasters and incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. The battalion is organized into five teams and an HHD. Their parent headquarters is 3rd Brigade (TS), 91st Division located at Travis Air Force Base.
Equipment Concentration Site (ECS30) / Area Maintenance Support Activity (AMSA), Bldg. 730 provides organizational and direct support maintenance on automotive, heavy mobile, and communications for USAR units in the Bay Area.
Western Army Reserve Intelligence Support Center (WARISC) 418th MI Company, Bldg. 610 provides operational training for Reserve Component Military Intelligence soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines within its area of responsibility.
Navy Seabees (MU-303), Bldg. 611 transferred to Parks RFTA from Treasure Island, the Seabees are a construction unit and they repair and build.
Company B, 319th Signal Battalion, Bldg. 180 provides theater-wide communications and emergency communications equipment in a near battlefield or peacetime environment.
Company B, 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment (Air Assault), Bldg. 330 is an airmobile infantry company of the California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Camp Parrington is home to Detachment D of CBMU 303. The camp, consisting of a small building at the northwest corner of 5th Street and Fernandez Avenue, became home to the Bay Area Seabees two years ago after Naval Station Treasure Island closed. Although it may not be the newest unit to train at Camp Parks, Detachment D of CBMU 303 is certainly the most "historic." Camp Parrington, named after retired EOC Russ Parrington, is home to 94 Seabees Reservists. CBMU 303 is headquartered on Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California.
The Seabees provide a valuable service to Camp Parks. Since their mission upon mobilization is to maintain an advanced base, they train by repairing Army facilities on the sprawling base. In addition to refurbishing their own building, Building 611, last year the Seabees poured over 1,000 linear feet of new sidewalks on Camp Parks, according to Ens. John Hurlburt, OIC of the detachment. This year the detachment will construct a rappelling tower and renovate houses for the multi-service reserve base.
The History Center of the Parks Reserve Forces Training Area preserves artifacts from Camp Park's three military eras. Since late 1942, Camp Parks has been home to the Navy, Air Force and Army.
During World War II Camp Parks grew from a muddy expanse to a huge naval training and replacement center and took its place as a vital unit in the Navy Seabee program. In 1945 on its huge paved parade ground Camp Parks could muster more than 20,000 men and hundreds of officers. Few structures remain from Camp Parks Seabee days. Among them are the base commanders house, which overlooks the base from the top of a hill, and the art deco-style sign at the main gate on Dougherty Road in Dublin, California. All else is gone. The World War II buildings were razed after the war. Even the street numbering sequence changed to suit the Air Force. Surviving buildings are Korean War vintage, the streets are named after Air Force heroes and Congressional Medal of Honor awardees and hundreds of Army trucks fill a dozen motor pools.
Commissioned on January 19, 1943 as the Construction Battalion Replacement Depot, Camp Parks functioned as home for Seabees returning from the Pacific Theater of Operations. Battalions returned to the States after a year or more of arduous construction duty. They came to Camp Parks for medical treatment, military training and reorganization. The base housed up to 20 battalions at a time. Most battalions prepared for a second tour in the Pacific. Many Seabees were hospitalized, and those no longer fit for duty received their discharge. After leave, personnel were subjected to a rigorous training schedule. The battalions were brought back up to fighting strength.
This land-locked naval base sat adjacent to the quiet Bay Area towns of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton. Today, the intersection of Interstate Highways 580 and 680 is but a short distance from the southwest corner of the base. Much of the surrounding countryside is built up. Army units use some 2,300 acres north of the main camp for field exercises and weapons training. Camp Parks is located 28 miles east of Oakland, California.
East of the Seabee base, toward Livermore, Camp Shoemaker housed a Naval Hospital and Naval Training and Personnel Distribution Center. These facilities served the fleet in much the same manner as Camp Parks served the Seabees. Collectively the area was known as Fleet City.
After closing in 1946, Camp Parks sat unused until the Air Force established a basic training center in 1951. Known as Parks Air Force Base, the Air Force found it necessary to completely rebuild the base. The sea of Quonset huts and two-story wooden barracks had been dismantled following World War II. Base personnel were initially housed in temporary facilities and ate from a field mess. Training began in March 1952. The first group of Airmen who arrived at Camp Parks in the Summer of 1951 were transported to California on a troop train that felt like a cattle car. The base was in complete disarray when they arrived. The remaining buildings in poor shape. Otherwise, a few concrete pads were all that remained. The weeds were waist high. The weeds were pretty high. All the lower ranking Airmen, including the cooks, were out there cutting weeds down."
Closed and transferred to the control of the Presidio of San Francisco in 1959, the base remained in standby status until December 1980 when the Parks Reserve Forces Training Area was established by the Department of the Army.
Today, the sprawling base's mission is similar to its World War II mission. Thousands of National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers-and 94 Naval Reserve Seabees' train for war at Camp Parks. One occupant, 1st Brigade of the 91st Division trains Army units using computer simulators. The base supports some 11,000 San Francisco Bay Area Army Reserve and California National Guard Soldiers from 180 units. Many of these units train at Camp Parks for two weeks each summer.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, CA, by relocating the 91st Div (TSD) to Fort Hunter Liggett, CA. This recommendation would improve operational effectiveness by putting the Training Division at the major training site in their regions (Fort Hunter-Ligget). Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 69 jobs (43 direct and 26 indirect jobs) over the 2006 - 2011 period in the Oakland- Fremont-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area, which would be less than 0.1 percent of economic area employment.
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