Clipped From Independent Press-Telegram
Lurks on Mystery Isle (Seldom visited by civilians, San Clemente, tlie "mystery Island" of the Southland, yielded a fascinating study In contrasts contrasts to I, P-T Reporter James A. Allen. Here is his account.) By JAMES A. ALLEN "Mystery Island," which pokes out of the Pacific at Lat. 32 deg. 49 min. north, Long. 118 deg., 21 min. west, is a study in contrasts. " It can spell sudden death to 27 miles long and seven miles careless fishermen who pass too! across at the widest point. The near the rugged shores. Yet it elevation rises to 1,680 feet. The can serve as a welcome haven! island is 8-1 miles from San| to distressed boatmen. | Diego, 44 from Long Beach and 1 It houses a ghost town at one|22 south of Santa Catalina Is- cnd, yet only IS miles away is a community of active men and women. San Clemente as a vanguard of Lon, land. Pyramid Cove, the impact area for ship bombardment, is Inland stands at the south end of the island. to 'the defense! It is reached by traveling over the Naval forces based mlWz miles of jolting dirt roads Beach and San Diego. which follow the goat trails. And while Air Force radar j Lt. Cmdr. L. H. Fisher, the crews scan the skies from oneÂ· Navy officer-in-charge, said the end, Naval batteries pound away; roads are extremely bad in wet with heavy guns at another sec- weather. They have no crown tion, only a few miles away. FROM THE AIR, only bare, and cars slide off. "We wait a reasonable time for rough ground is visible until the. to return wheels of an incoming nearly touch down. The lies alongside the; the ditch. gunfire observation to the base parties during FIERCE WAR DOGS guard radar outpost maintained by the Air Force on the "mystery island." The defense center is 44 miles from Long Beach and only 22 miles south of Santa Catalina Island. foot airstrip island's "ghost town," a plane 1 bad weather" Fisher said. "Then They have radio communication] Cove, seven miles north of the-cessive -wear and tear on Jeeps, assigned from Nort 5 000-'we go out and pull them out of I with ships, the base at Wilson airstrip by paved highway. j THE BASE at Wilson Cove i Base, San Bernard e' the' the "ditch." Cove and the Naval Amphibious! The road passes the Air Force; consists of about two dozen, permitted to have CONCRETE BUNKER with walls 18 inches thick gives vantage point for observ-; ers watching naval artillery fire at target area. Spotters maintain radio commu- nication with ships firing practice rounds. f assigned from Norton Air Force, Most personnel--especially the. The Navy wives can go by Â·dino, are not single men--like the island. The boat to Long Beach twice a collection collection of "abandoned buildings which comprised an The road to Pyramid Cove passes a concrete dam which auxiliary! was built to provide a catch fleet training base that departed] basin for rainfall. Its capacity is in 1943. At peak activity mori than 3,000 men were there. e S3 million gallons. Elsewhere stationed on the island is one with a ca- capacity of 32 million gallons. The buildings include a hu "They didn't work," Fisher hangar, administration building,! said. "The ground was so porous power plant, warehouse, quar- the waiters waiters for enlisted men and o f f i - rained." the water ran out as fast as it Fresh water is brought by a n d j barge from Long Beach once a jweek. The island has storage fall-ifor 800.000 gallons and uses cers, mess hall, recreation dispensary, school building even a brig. They lie unused, slowly in? apart--casualties of war. j about 160,000 gallons a week. In sharp contrast to this; scene of desolation, the Navy and Air Force carry out activities activities on FISHER SAID an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 wild goats live their wives the island which arc'on the southern part of the is-| Force, are Base in San Diego. Behind the observation post are barracks, galley and mess hall and generator shed. The structures are painted yellow. "The gunners aboard ship have been instructed not. to fire at anything painted yellow," Fisher said. Targets are painted red and white. Crews paint them in two days, using an old Sherman tank from which the turret has been removed. It carries tanks paint and compressed ment. The tank is a necessity i n . traversing the rough, shell- scarred terrain. All personnel, radar station, fenced and guard-; buildings, a wharf used by the ed night and day by airmen and! Air Force and fierce war dogs. jacent to the wharf. In the distance, at the north-1plies brought out twice weekly ern end of the island, are s a n d i f r o m Long Beach are unloaded dunes which rise 40 to 50 feet.! at Fisher said personnel ski on the dunes, using jeeps t o ' l i v e pull them, hut he was forced to'quarters are provided halt the sport because of ex- ians. Air Force men. North vi tal to the nation's defense. land, where there are some fresh water springs. Ship bom-' . . . _ . . . . ._ . , . _ _ _ _ FOKTY NAVY ENLISTED; bardment doesn't seem to both- LAUtJlllINO' M A I I CK mer and two officers are s t a - i e r them much. tioned on San Clemente. Twelve| "Several times firing has been of the men form a crash crewj stopped while the goats Fisher said. the goats were which is on duty at the airstrip j chased away from the targets in for incoming and o u t g o i n g : the impact area, flights. The others provide lo- Patches of cactus and an oc- gistics support for shore bom- casional ironwood tree growing} bardment observation units and:out of the rocks on high sum- naval gunfire liaison groups, mits provide the only break which come ashore to watch fir-|in the brown landscape on the way to Pyramid Cove. Fisher said wild oats and other vegetation give the island ing by ships. Facilities also are maintained maintained for scientific personnel duty is light and there is plenty There, are no children children on the island; Commissary at Long Beach. from the wharf and from boats The officers club and in the island's many coves. wind usually whips afternoon and blows through the distance from Wilson Cove, has one of the finest bathing beaches', night, Navy underwater Sometimes the velocity reaches for civil- services who areihall. demolition teams train there. Hyenas Squeal, But Guns--No! TOKYO W)--The Japanese minister in Addis Ababa cabled has superiors that the Ethiopian Ethiopian countryside is plagued by vicious laughing hyenas and he needs rifles and bullets. bullets. The foreign office was told Japan's ground self-defense self-defense doesn't have any rifles of its own. They all belong to the U. S. Army. TUES. WED. SHOP EARLY FOR BEST SELECTION! ALL QUANTITIES LIMITED HONG KONG Wl -- Peipmg Radio has announced a second Red China contribution of 100.000 100.000 yuan (about 533,300) to vic- OBSERVATION POST, tims of the Hong Kong riots in Navy Seabees, is on the eastern mid-October. The first donation of 100,000 yuan from the Com- inches thick and small observa- munist Chinese reached SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND is COMPLETE STOCK OF NEW BUTTERICK, McCALL SIMPLICITY PATTERNS MONDAY AND FRIDAY 'TIL 9 P.M. DOWNTOWN who come from the Naval O r d - j a mantle of green after the win- nance Test Station at C h i n a j t e r rains. Lake to test guided missiles at: of wildflowers flourish in a highly restricted area on the! spring. island's" coast. i The impact area at Pyramid! More than 200 members of; Cove is a bowl about a mile Reds Send SeCOnd the Air Force 670th A i r c r a f t j across and I'-i miles deep Control and Warning Squadron! stretching back from a beach, operate a radar station which 1 In it are 28 targets--old tanks, keeps constant check on aHj vehicles, painted rocks coastal aircraft--military and| painted ground areas, civil. All planes are tracked. If they canno.t be identified immediately, immediately, by planes from coastal base. QUARTERS FOR Air Force and Navy personnel are located at Wilson Cove. Enlisted Enlisted men of both services share the same mess hall, but airmen are not permitted permitted to have wives with them on the island.