The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 caused many to fear that the Imperial Japanese Navy might attack the mainland United States.
Coastal defenses were rapidly built up at strategic points along the West Coast, including Point Loma, the peninsula that overlooks the narrow entrance to San Diego Bay. Many of the United States Navy’s remaining ships were homeported in San Diego and had to be protected at all costs.
During World War II, Point Loma’s Fort Rosecrans was the home of the U. S. Army 19th Coast Artillery Regiment. Soldiers manned steel-reinforced concrete bunkers containing Base End Stations, and scanned the horizon for enemy vessels. Should the enemy be sighted, they relayed their information to a Battery Commander, who precisely calculated the enemy’s position, then issued orders to various gun batteries that guarded the approach to San Diego.
Today, almost a century later, the general public can enter one of those old bunkers overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
During my recent Saturday visit to Cabrillo National Monument, I was excited to see that the park’s restored bunker, designated Battery E Control Station, was open. I descended the steep steps into a small underground world, and experienced what life was like for those who stood watch over the wide ocean day and night during the war.
I then checked out a small museum near the bunker to learn a little more about San Diego’s coastal defenses during World War II.
Here are photographs that I took. Read the captions for more fascinating information. Click the signs and they will enlarge.
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