The Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base is located in Northern San Diego County with more than 17 miles of shoreline along the Pacific Ocean. The base was formed in April of 1942 on land that was founded originally by Spaniards who desired to establish Franciscan missions throughout California. The base was named in honor of Major Joseph H. Pendleton, who led the Marine Corps operations in southern California during his 46 years of service with the military and Marine Corps.
Today, the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base occupies more than 135,000 acres with a resident population of 50,000 military and dependant personnel, with an additional 60,000 personnel who work on the base. Camp Pendleton’s varied topography combined with the amphibious training areas, inland training ranges and airspace provides a great deal of flexibility for Marine Air Ground Task Forces that require a realistic training environment. With the expansion of our country’s military engagements in the Middle East, the Marine Corps has constructed several model towns that resemble the type of building construction and hazards that would be encountered by Marine forces when operating in these hazardous environments.
Fire And Emergency Service Department
The Camp Pendleton Fire and Emergency Services Department is under the command of Acting Fire Chief Jeffery Wilkerson, who oversees the department’s personnel who provide many unique services to the community. The department maintains automatic aid agreements with the neighboring departments in Oceanside, Orange County and with North County Fire, and responds to more than 4,000 incidents each year. The department maintains several specially training groups, including a swift-water rescue team, heli-tac operations, technical rescue group as well as a hazardous materials team.
The department operates from 10 strategically located fire stations, together with a seasonal brush station that is cross staffed with the United States Forest Service in Case Springs. The department operates nine engine companies, one ladder company, two rescue units and cross staffs a hazardous materials unit and a wide variety of brush apparatus. The Camp Pendleton fire apparatus fleet represents a unique mix of the different types of units that are in service with the Marine Corps Fire Service. Because of the significant wildland fire potential at the base, each station is equipped with both Type 3 and Type 4 brush units for responses.
Wildland Response Vehicles
The Type 3 brush unit fleet is impressive with a combination of Pierce Hawk model and larger 6x6 units built by Boise Mobile Equipment. The smaller Type 3 units are assigned to Stations 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 and are built on International model 7400 four-door cab chassis and equipped with a Darley JMP fire pump rated at 500 gpm. An auxiliary diesel-driven fire pump rated at 185 gpm provides for pump and roll operations that are supported by the onboard 500-gallon water tank. A Foam Pro 2001 injection system supplies Class A foam from a 40-gallon water tank. These units were built on a short 179-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 24 feet, 7 inches.
Starting in 1997, the Marine Corps Fire Service began working on a brush truck design that would replace the venerable M-813-A-1 chassis that had been locally converted into brush fire vehicles and were in need of replacement. The result was the delivery of five International Paystar model 6x6 chassis with bodywork by Boise Mobile Equipment. These units provided enclosed seating for the crew and were equipped with a diesel-driven Hale fire pump rated at 100 gpm and carried 1,000 gallons of water together with a Robwen Class A foam system with a 20-gallon tank. These brush units are built on a 164-inch wheelbase and are powered by a Cummins diesel engine rated at 330 horsepower through an Allison HD-4560 automatic transmission. These vehicles are assigned to Stations 3, 7, 8, 9 and Station 28 in Case Springs.