250th Coast Artillery

California National Guard

Selected Illustrations from the Yearbook

Yearbook Cover

Front Plate

San Francisco Big Gun Regiment -- 24 Guns

Copy of Camp McQuaide Newspaper

San Francisco Call-Bulletin reprint

Letter from Commanding Officer saying Ready for War

National Guard Armory at 14th and Mission, San Francisco

Big Gun

Guns in Traveling Mode

Camp McQuaide

    Camp McQuaide, situated six miles from Watsonville, California, in Santa Cruz Valley, is on a sandy palisade overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where the waters of the ocean mingle with the warm depths of Monterey bay.

    It occupies a commanding position, being in practically the center shoreline of Monterey Bay. Off to the northwest lies the city of Santa Cruz, and to the southwest the historic city of Monterey glistens along the shores of the Bay.

    The Administration Building, or Post Headquarters, is flanked by barracks, comfortable and adequate. Neatly arranged rows of tents accommodate the recently added and increased complement. High atop the hill, the hospital is located, encircled by wind-breaking lines of evergreen trees.

    Foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains landlock the area surrounding Camp McQuaide. Orderly appearing and highly productive farms and orchards make up the back country from the Camp.

    Apples--five million boxes a year--are grown in the fertile area beyond Camp McQuaide and Watsonville known as the Parajo Valley.

    Camp McQuaide, itself, was established in 1926 at Capitola. The present site was obtained and dedicated in 1938, and was named in memory of Major Joseph P. McQuaide, deceased, Chaplain of the 250th for many years.

    Major, then Father McQuaide, was ordained in 1892, and served with the First California Volunteers in the Philippines and the Boxer rebellion in China. Father McQuaide rejoined the National Guard of California in 1917 and was assigned as Post Chaplain at Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco. He went overseas, to France, with the 62nd Coast Artillery.

    Chaplain McQuaide died March 29, 1924.

    Through the efforts of the Watsonville Chamber of Commerce and patriotic response of the citizenry, the present site of Camp McQuaide was secured.secured.

Photo thanks to Phil  Moreno:

     Battery   "C"   250th CAC   California National Guard  1935

Please Contact Me:
Send me an e-mail:

Or write to me at:
Walter A. Dangel
1324 Cannon Island Drive
Sitka, Alaska, 99835, USA
Telephone 907-747-6367

    The 250th sent a Battalion to Sitka, Kodiak and to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
[For some photographs of Kodiak or Chiniak click here.]

    I was in Sitka June to October 1941. Smaller units were in Seward and Anchorage.

    We were all returned to the U.S. for retraining the Summer of 1944 and trained for Field Artillery. Three Battalions were formed from the Regiment, which was oversized: the 529th, 534th, and the 535th Field Artillery Battalions. We were armed with 8" Howitzers.

    The 535th was sent to Germany and saw action during the battle of the Rose Pocket, [Ruhr] I was in the 535th as a radio operator in the Headquarters Battery.

    The other two Battalions went to Italy.

To All Former 250th CA Members and Families:

    The entire 1941 yearbook is available on CD. Just send me your mailing address and name and I will send you one.

I really appreciated the article on the history of Camp McQuaide. We in the Coast Defense Study Group (CDSG) could use more members that write about coast artillery history. You may want to visit the website at www.cdsg.org . Keep up the good work!
John D. Bennett
Member #628, CDSG
Tue, 10 Dec 2002

For an illustration of their work uniform and comments about the uniform click here.

Sitka's WWII Page by Matthew Hunter

Walter found some pictures of his guns at Makhnati Island in Sitka.

Fort Rousseau,  Sitka, Alaska, during construction in WW2.

One in the turrent is a 6 inch gun.

A 155mm gun.

This site has more information than this quoted section:


250th Coast Artillery Regiment (First California)
Rien Apas Beau
(Nothing Is In Vain)
Headquartered in San Francisco. All elements from the City of San Francisco.

Mobilized in September 1940 at San Francisco and arrived at Camp McQuaide in Watsonville later that same month. Served in Alaska from September 1941 until March 1944 when it returned to the United States. In May 1944 the regiment was converted to Field Artillery and Headquarters Battery, 250th Coast Artillery Regiment became the Headquarters Battery, 250th Field Artillery Group. The 1st, 2d and 3d Battalions became the 535th, 536th and 537th Field Artillery Battalions. The 537th later became the 537th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The Headquarters Battery inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. The 535th was inactivated at Camp Shanks, New York, while the 536th was inactivated in Italy. The Headquarters Battery and both battalions were inactivated in November 1945. 537th inactivated at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma in September 1945.
535th Field Artillery Battalion
Central Europe
August 1945 Location: Mulchen Gladbeck, Germany
536th Field Artillery Battalion
Northern Apeinnines
Po Valley
August 1945 Location: Rosa, Italy
537th Chemical Mortar Battalion
August 1945 Location: Camp Gruber, Oklahoma
Headquarters Battery, 250th Field Artillery Group
          Central Europe
August 1945 Location: Frankenforde, Germany