Historic Posts, Camps, Stations, and Airfields
Camp Elliot
(Camp Holcomb, Camp Linda Vista, Green Farm Camp, Jacques Farm Camp and Naval Training Center, Elliot Annex)
Marines undergoing amphibious training at Camp Elliot, 11 May 1942 (California Military Department Collection)



Training requirements for the San Diego Fleet Marine Force units resulted in the need to obtain more land. In 1934, in anticipation of the need, land in the Kearny Mesa section of San Diego had become known after World War I as Camp Holcomb, named after the then Commandant, Major-General Thomas Holcomb.

Camp Holcomb was constructed as part of Camp Kearny, a World War I Army camp, where both the 40th and 16th Divisions had trained. By 1940, volunteers began to pour into the recruit training depot at the San Diego Base. To provide needed space for recruit training expansion, the Fleet Marine Force units moved from the San Diego Base to the camp in the Kearny Mesa area. Applied collectively to the many semi-permanent buildings constructed in the area, Camp Holcomb would be only temporary.

The camp's name was not popular with Major General Holcomb, due to the military's custom of never naming an installation or ship after a living person, and on June 14, 1940 the installation was formally redesignated Camp Elliot in honor of Major General George F. Elliot, the Marine Corps tenth Commandant 1903-1910.

While construction was underway the Marines had to live in tents. Early construction progressed quite well and by October 1940 twelve barracks and a mess hall was completed. Additional land acquisition for Camp Elliot was accomplished through a Declaration of Taking on April 8, 1941- Including the main camp area of 19,298.25 acres which came under federal ownership. This was further expanded to 26,034 acres.

In September 1942, Camp Elliot became the home of the Fleet Marine Force Training Center, West Coast with the mission of training individual replacements for combat duty. In January 1942, with over 10,000 Marines in the San Diego area, the 2nd Marine Division, under the command of Major-General C. F. B. Price, assembled at Camp Elliot and assumed the responsibility for the conduct of the training there. Although thousands of Marines passed through Camp Elliot enroute to Pacific duty, even this area could not meet the expansion needs for the training of the overseas replacements.

In addition to the main Camp area there were other training camps established on the Camp Elliot Naval Reservation –Camp Linda Vista, Green Farm Camp and Jacques Farm Camp, as well as a Parachute School. Naval records also indicate that a Naval Training and Distribution Center was located on the reservation.

Camp Elliot, on 1 July 1946, became War Assets Administration Property for disposal and decommissioning. Portions of this training area came under Navy control and, in 1944, the Navy took over Camp Elliot from the Marines, who were later transferred to Camp Pendleton.

Following World War II, the property served a variety of temporary uses including use as the headquarters for the California Army National Guard's 251st Anti-Aircradt Artillery Group as well as an illegal immigrant detention camp operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. With the onset of the Korean conflict, the Navy reactivated Camp Elliot as Naval Training Center Elliott Annex. It served as an auxiliary training center from 1951 to 1953 for additional recruits from NTC San Diego. In 1960, the Camp was decommissioned and was divided between NAS Miramar and the Air Force for the creation of the Atlas Missile test facility. Sycamore Annex was developed by General Dynamics under direction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as a high security testing area used in the development of the Atlas and Centaur missiles. In 1966, the facility was transferred to NASA and by 1969, the site was classified as surplus property and title was transferred to the General Services Administration. In December 1972, the parcel was transferred to the Navy, to be included in the NAS Miramar property.

In 1961 the Navy reported approximately 15,000 acres as excess to the General Service Administration (GSA) for disposal. The city of San Diego and San Diego Unified School District obtain portions of a 4,600 acre site for public use and educational purposes under a community development plan. Other parcels of Various size were sold to private parties. The property for the Tierrasanta residential community, 1,800 net acres, was purchased on 15 October 1968 by Leland S. Murphy and transferred to the Christina Development Co.

The Mission Trails Regional Park was conveyed to the city of San Diego by quitclaim deed on 10 January 1964. This deed restricted the use of the 2,100 acre site to historic monument/public recreational purposes for 20 years.

The East Camp Elliot area was reported excess to the General Service Administration by the Navy in 1961 and disposed of by quitclaim deeds to private parties between 1973 and 1974. The parcels vary in size and the total area is approximately 3,200 acres. A landfill, operated by the county of San Diego, is located within the East Elliot area.

The area north of Tierrasanta, Mission Trails, and East Elliot is still in use by Department of Defense (primarily the Navy with some Marine Corps and Air Force activity) and encompasses approximately 15,500 acres. Activities include movement and simulated exercises by reserve units. A rifle range is also located within the area and is still in use.
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Updated 3 July 2017