Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Pomona Quartermaster Depot (Remount)
by David Allen

The depot was one of seven facilities in the nation where the U.S. military, to fight the Nazis, trained its secret weapon: horses.
Yes, horses.
Somehow we won the war anyway.
“It sounds like something out of the Civil War, doesn’t it?” said Melissa Paul, curator of Cal Poly’s Arabian Horse Library.
The Quartermaster’s Remount Service was founded in 1775 to breed, train and supply horses to Army troops in the field and was still galloping along in the thick of the 20th century.
Mechanization was in its nascent stages in World War I, when 571,000 horses and mules carried supplies to U.S. troops.
The expectation was that World War II would be no different, Mary Jane Parkinson wrote in “The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: The First 60 Years,” her history of the Cal Poly property.
American strategists learned the Germans had 791,000 horses, compared to our 750.
You’ve heard of the missile gap? This was a horse gap.
Spurred (har!) into action, the Remount Service looked for fresh horses and a site for a new depot in the West, which it found in good ol’ Pomona on what had been cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg’s 800-acre Arabian horse ranch.
The War Department took control in August 1943 and proved a better steward than the state university system, which had let the property decline after Kellogg donated it in 1932.
Under the Remount Service, horses again became the central mission and Sunday horse shows for the public continued.
Improvements were made, too. Block walls, landscaping and irrigation were installed by German and Italian prisoners of war, who were held at the Pomona fairgrounds.
No, they didn’t eat rations of cotton candy and corn dogs.
Col. F.W. Koester, who had led the Army’s War Dog Center in San Carlos, was made Pomona’s commanding officer, perhaps indicating that horses were a promotion from dogs.
But as it turned out, jeeps and trucks transported personnel and supplies in this war, not horses.
After the war, the Army got out of the horse business. It closed the Pomona Quartermaster Depot in June 1948.
“After more than four and a half years,” Parkinson wrote of Kellogg’s ranch, “the military air was gone; no more inspections from Quartermaster generals and colonels, no more military decorations ceremonies at the flagpole, no more Quartermaster insignia over the main entry to the stables, and no more salutes in the archways.”
The ranch was nearly sold as surplus and its prized horses auctioned off until halted by a public outcry. The property, with the blessing of Kellogg, then 88, was deeded in 1949 to the state, which established what became Cal Poly.
Much of the wartime activity in Pomona remains a mystery.
“We have very little detail on what happened. We just don’t have the records,” said Paul, the library curator.
A sheaf of declassified documents a mere inch thick accounts for those five years. Author Parkinson managed to pry them from the National Archives under the Freedom of Information Act in 1990.
Among the tidbits deemed hush-hush for nearly a half-century: a 1942 inventory of Kellogg’s 81 horses, with their names, and the one-page 1943 depot budget listing $36,340 in expenses, including the chief clerk’s salary of $2,300.
Extracted from Pomona A to Z
A postcard from Pomona Quartermaster Depot (Remount)
US Army Center of Military History Historical Data Card - Post, Camp, Station and Air Field
Pomona Quartermaster Depot (Remount)
Western Remout Area
Army Units Assigned to Pomona Quartermaster Depot (Remount)

 Data Source


 Army of the United States Station List 7 April 1945
Army Service Forces
  • Headquarters, Western Remount Area
    • 9195th Quartermaster Corps Technical Service Unit (Western Remount Area)
  • Quartermaster Officer Replacement Pool
    • Detachment 25, 9109th Quartermaster Corps Technical Service Unit (Quartermaster Officer Replacement Pool)
  • 9194th Quartermaster Corps Technical Service Unit (Pomona Quartermaster Depot [Remount])
 Army of the United States Station List 7 May 1946
Army Service Forces
  • Headquarters, Western Remount Area
    • 9195th Quartermaster Corps Technical Service Unit (Western Remount Area)
  • 9194th Quartermaster Corps Technical Service Unit (Pomona Quartermaster Depot [Remount])
Extract, War Department Inventory of Owned, Sponsored and Leased Facilities, 1945


Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 16 October 2016