Hubby and I lived around Fort Ord when we were first married and he was stationed at NPS in Monterey, CA.
Fort Ord is a gorgeous piece of land, smack dab in the middle of some of California’s most beautiful scenery – Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur…
Well… developers want to put a Casino and Horse Racing Track on Fort Ord – of course (gagging in my mouth…).
Right now, Fort Ord’s beautiful land is used for people to enjoy – hikers, bikes and equestrians. 82 miles of trails. Kids do school explorations, there are multiple guided and scientific learning experiences, horticulture, avian sciences… all the wonderful activities humans need but … don’t turn a profit.
This Saturday, I am driving the 4 hours to Monterey to participate in a walk to help the community remember the history of Fort Ord and to generate interest in preserving what is left of that beautiful landscape.
So today, I’m going to tell you a bit about the history… horse history, of course!
During WWII, 1,400 horses and mules were stationed on Fort Ord
with the 76th Field Artillery.
Fort Ord was one of only 12 Warhorse military venues in the US – and the largest. It is the only Warhorse military installation with original the equine hospital buildings from WW2 still standing.
Fort Ord still has an Equine Clinic building, a Surgery, a Colic building, 2 wards and the original barracks. Sadly, the stalls and barns are all gone.
(Sadly, most of the other equine facilities at Fort Ord were demolished for shopping centers and college buildings…)
I want to go on the walk so that I can gain access to the old buildings…. I just want to feel them.
SGT ALLEN MACDONALD
This I love… there is a guy who was stationed at Ford Ord during WW2 who served there until 1993 – Sgt. Allen MacDonald.
He was there so long, they allowed him to bury his horse, the famous Comanche, on Fort Ord Property!
In fact, he still lives very near Monterey and has a horse in the barns he built on Fort Ord!
Here is his story (from Margaret Davis who wrote the article):
SGT Allan MacDonald, U.S. Army (retired) is one of the last
surviving horse cavalrymen, an active rider, and a longtime Marina
Born Oct. 14, 1923, SGT MacDonald enlisted in the horse cavalry
at seventeen years old, inspired by his grandfather, a horse soldier in
the Indian Wars.
MacDonald fought in the Philippines, Admiralty Islands, Leyte
Island, and Luzon. Despite mechanization, SGT MacDonald’s work
with Army horses went on. He was stable sergeant for the 1st Cavalry
in Camp Drake, Japan, after the surrender and was reassigned to
Tokyo as stable sergeant for General Douglas MacArthur in 1949.
Stationed at the Fort Reno remount station in the 50s, SGT
MacDonald broke 1,200 stud horses for shipment to Turkey and in
1954 was assigned to the 35th Quartermaster, Pack Mules, at Fort
Carson, NV. He retired in 1965, taking a job on Fort Ord in post maintenance.
COMANCHE, HIS MARE…
There is a gravesite on the trails on Fort Ord… everyone knows Comanche’s Grave. But, most don’t know the history.
Again, from Margaret Davis:
SGT MacDonald bought his mare, Comanche, at a BLM mustang
gather and rode her twenty-three years in official U.S. Army
functions. She was the last ceremonial horse at Fort Ord, until the
colors were retired in 1993 and the base closed. On her death, the
Army accorded SGT MacDonald the distinction of permitting her
burial on a hill overlooking the old parade fields, beside the concrete
troughs built for war horses. Comanche’s grave, marked by a picket
fence and display case, is a landmark for riders, bikers, and hikers.
–Every now and then, Sgt. MacDonald dusts himself off and rides out to the grave of his beloved mare, Comanche, on Comanche 2.
*I was told I could meet Comanche 2 on my walk this Saturday!
FOR ME, I HATE TO SEE HORSE HISTORY BE DEMOLISHED… HOW TO HELP
I’m going on the walk because I cannot bear the thought of a Casino being built on these beautiful lands.
–If you want to get onto the Fort Ord bandwagon, here is the FB page FRIENDS OF THE FORT ORD WARHORSE.
–Also, here is a website KEEP FORT ORD WILD that has info and names…
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!