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Camp Morena

Camp Morena support operations have sustained Engineer efforts from the Army Guard, Air Guard, Reserve and Active Duty units throughout the country. Camp Morena was built in 1940 for mountain and cold weather training.

Morena Reservoir lies in the middle of 3,250 acres of chaparral, oak woods, and grassland. In addition to these natural attributes, the newly renovated park features some of the most modern camping facilities in San Diego County. The lake is the highest (3000 feet) and most remote of the city's reservoirs.

Once based near the ocean, Team Engineer works out of Camp Morena in eastern San Diego County. The site has a headquarters complex, barracks, dining facility, vehicle maintenance sheds and helipad. Camp Morena supports the counterdrug operations, as well as all other counterdrug operations in the area. For example, the Camp houses and feeds JTF-6 units undertaking counterdrug ops in this area, and provides facilities for the medevac helicopter that supports the activities. The headquarters staff runs Camp Morena. There is also a platoon that is dedicated solely to road-building operations. And there is a platoon that's dedicated just to fence building.

Located just inside U.S. territory, the 5-to-14-foot-high welded fences are intended to stop or significantly delay both drug-bearing vehicles and individual smugglers attempting to dash northward across the border. The roads, which spread out just behind the fences, improve the U.S. Border Patrol's ability to monitor the border and apprehend suspected smugglers before they can disappear into nearby towns and cities.

The California Guard's engineer effort on the border began in 1989, when the first troops began upgrading the network of roads used by the Border Patrol. The success of that first small-scale engineer operation quickly led to the formation of Task Force Engineer. Among its first missions was to plan and build a primary east-west patrol road along the border. The mission was given to the Guard engineers, while active duty, Guard and Reserve troops began construction of a fence along the border under the management of the Defense Department's Texas-based Joint Task Force 6. JTF-6 managed the fence building operation until October 1996, when it was taken over by the California Guard engineers. As the fence crept slowly eastward from the Pacific Ocean, the Guard engineer troops kept slightly ahead, improving or building roads as they went. Since 1990 Team Engineer has helped construct, maintain or improve some 600 miles of road along the border, in the process moving nearly 1 million linear cubic yards of earth while adhering to all applicable environmental regulations and guidelines.

The active duty California Amy and Air Guard Counterdrug troops assigned to Team Engineer or Camp Morena work on the fence project. It is undoubtedly one of the ugliest fences ever constructed, emerging from the Pacific off of the San Diego coast and coursing along California's border with Mexico toward the Jacumba Mountains. Surplus corrugated steel runway sections, welded to steel rails which are welded to steel pipe that are sunk ten feet into concrete are purely function over appearance. Running its length is a network of support roads, which, like the fence, are still a work in progress. Both the fence and roads are a marvel when one looks at the landscape's drastic change from west to east. The makeup of the terrain becomes more rocky, mountainous and the soil dryer and harder towards the east. From an engineering standpoint, the fence and barriers function extremely well. They were designed and built to create a dry dam to force the drug flow into the ports of entry, areas well in the control of the US Border Patrol and Customs Agents.

 



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