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Thread started 01 Dec 2013 (Sunday) 13:11
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Fort Ord

 
Jedi5150
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Dec 01, 2013 13:11 |  #1

A couple folks I was chatting with in another thread expressed interest in seeing what the former "Ft. Ord" Army base looks like now that it has been deactivated for a number of years. I live in what is now civilian housing (and used to be officer's quarters), and although I've lived here for a number of years now, I never really thought to take photos to document the base.

A little background to begin with. Ft. Ord is located in Monterey County, on the coast of Central California. It covers a large area of sand dunes, scrub brush, and hills dotted with the occasional oak trees. It is bordered on the north by Marina, the south by Seaside (next to Monterey), and to the east by Salinas (made famous by John Steinbeck). The base was home to many thousands of troops at any given time. In fact my father was just visiting yesterday, and he went through boot camp at Ft. Ord in the late 1950's.

The base is now owned by a number of different entities. The cities of Marina and Seaside each got large chunks. The BLM owns a lot of the open country on the eastern side, and the newly formed California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) occupies a fair chunk of it. Although a lot of the old buildings have been bulldozed to make room for newer enterprises (there is a large REI, Target, Best Buy, etc. shopping center on part), the majority of the old buildings still stand in one degree or another of dilapidation. The military still has housing for service men and women who are attending the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute.


When you drive through large sections of abandoned buildings stretching block after block, it really gives a feeling like I get when I see pictures of Chernobyl. You can't help but let your mind wander and picture it with thousands of troops, bustling activity, and well-maintained shrubbery and grass lawns.

On to the pictures:

As I said earlier, Ft. Ord occupies a large stretch of beautiful coastline. One of the things I'd like to get some shots of are the ammo bunkers that are burrowed into the sand dunes, but that will have to wait for a later photo outing:

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-mkR3fqd/0/XL/FObeach-XL.jpg

Forgive me for the quality of some of these photos, I'm still making friends with my new 17-40 lens (not to mention my mediocre photo skills:lol:):
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-B79xnRc/0/XL/FObuilding2-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-mwbbvTs/0/XL/FObuilding1-XL.jpg

These three-story (plus basement) concrete barracks stretch for block after block, with each block having roughly ten or 12 of the buildings. On other parts of the base the older, wooden barracks do the same thing:
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-5gpHxrC/0/XL/FOstreet-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-wB95Kdh/0/XL/FOstairs-XL.jpg



  
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Jedi5150
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Dec 01, 2013 13:12 |  #2

Here is a small section of the older wooden barracks. Keep in mind when viewing these that this is a very small part of what is still left on the base. I had some fun with post processing to make this photo look like an old snapshot. I'll include the original next:

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-jxStt74/0/X2/FOold%20barracks1-X2.jpg

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-2NTWfwT/0/XL/FOold%20barracks2-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-DzMRCh3/0/XL/FOwindow-XL.jpg

The old jail is now owned by a granite company. Several of the guard towers are still standing:
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-Ns6Gfxd/0/XL/FOjail-XL.jpg

This is an overgrown basketball court and baseball diamond. Some of the newer barracks can be seen in the background:
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/Fort-Ord-2013/i-KCCTP7K/0/X2/FObaseball-X2.jpg

More will come. I'll keep adding to the thread as I go find more interesting stuff.



  
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Fitness ­ Freak
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Dec 01, 2013 15:21 |  #3

Oh my gosh! You're sitting on a goldmine! I CANNOT believe it never occurred to you to shoot around this place before. I'm so glad we ran into each other on the other thread so that you'd go out and enjoy what you've got in your backyard. Your access to the coastline alone, I'd donate an extra organ for that view. ;-)a Thanks for sharing! I'll be keeping an eye out for more of your pictures.


FYI: "Fitness Freak" is also known as "Amber" outside of POTN.
http://fineartamerica.​com/profiles/1-amber-kresge.html (external link)

  
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FarmerTed1971
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Dec 01, 2013 16:53 |  #4

Looks like paintball heaven!!!


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adams_aj
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Dec 01, 2013 17:10 as a reply to  @ FarmerTed1971's post |  #5

Don't stop now! Can't believe you have access. Dream come true. Any old machinery or control buildings? Cold war stuff? How is the beach?


In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is--Yogi Berra

  
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The ­ F ­ stops ­ here
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Dec 01, 2013 19:24 |  #6

Great shots! Heartbreaking to see it in that condition now :( I did a 2 week basic training stint there back in '92.

Your shots have inspired me to check it out again one of these weekends. Couple quick questions...Is a permit needed? Are all areas open to the public?

Thanks again for posting these :)


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OuttaCtrl
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Dec 01, 2013 19:41 |  #7

FarmerTed1971 wrote in post #16493450 (external link)
Looks like paintball heaven!!!

Actually there used to be a paintball park there and also one of them 24-hour paintball scenario games.


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Jedi5150
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Dec 01, 2013 21:54 |  #8

Fitness Freak wrote in post #16493237 (external link)
Oh my gosh! You're sitting on a goldmine! I CANNOT believe it never occurred to you to shoot around this place before. I'm so glad we ran into each other on the other thread so that you'd go out and enjoy what you've got in your backyard. Your access to the coastline alone, I'd donate an extra organ for that view. ;-)a Thanks for sharing! I'll be keeping an eye out for more of your pictures.

Thanks for motivating me, Amber! :lol: If you like these, I probably shouldn't tell you that I'm about a 1/2 hour drive from the Big Sur coastline, where people come from all over the world to see...and yet I never go take photos there. That sort of seems to be human nature though, we rarely go do the "touristy" things in the areas that we live in.

Thanks for the compliments everyone. Ted, as OuttaCtrl pointed out, the old jail that I showed a picture of used to be owned by a paintball company before the granite company bought it. As for the barracks/ mess halls and stuff, much of it is still available to rent and local airsoft groups host events "battles" there. They have weekend-long events with hundreds of people, shooting each other with those little rubber BB's, and all kitted up in camo. They even have competitions. I went there once as an "instructor", and it's actually a really fun time.

In addition to paintball and airsoft, as I said in the other thread, many military and law enforcement agencies train there as well. We do K9, SWAT, and EOD/ breaching training there. So most of the barracks you'll fine a door or wall that has big holes in it from explosive breaching, and they have simunition shell cases all over the floor. Simunitions is like painball, only with real guns (they also hurt a hell of a lot more :lol:).

Adams and Fstops, permits are not needed, most of the built up areas of the base are completely open, it's kind of like a deserted city. The BLM lands are open to hiking and horseback riding (maybe even mountain biking...I'm not sure because if I have wheels underneath me they need to have an engine attached). Some sections of the barrack complexes are all chained off with fences, but the majority are not. You just have to know where to look to find the sections of "town" that are not gated off. The buildings themselves do have no trespassing signs on the doors, but that is primarily for transients and liability I'd imagine. I've never once seen anyone enforcing it. You will see numerous police/ sheriff cars around from various agencies, but we're typically there for training, not enforcement. The base itself does have both campus police and Presidio of Monterey federal police, but again, I've never seen them hassle anyone driving around or walking through the areas. Keep in mind, the base is still "open" for so many different groups, from the university, to civilian housing, to the equestrian center, etc., that there is no way they can actually close it off...the run down parts are mixed in with the still in use parts, so enforcement of trespassing would be a nightmare. You'll have three streets of inhabited housing areas and the fourth street will be overgrown and like a ghost town. It is really hard to describe.

A lot of the old buildings still have old machinery looking parts, like vents above the mess hall kitchen, etc., but I imagine the valuable stuff has either been looted or removed. That said, a lot of buildings still have junk in them. Many of the barracks still have matresses, dressers, chairs, even lamps. None of it is exactly furniture you'd want in your house, but it is kind of cool to see.

So short answer is that not all areas are open to the public, but many are. And of those that aren't...read between the lines. Also keep in mind that in the open spaces you might want to stay on the trails, and some areas are even marked as such. EOD crews were still working out in the hills until not long ago, still finding unexploded arty and 40mikemike rounds. Heck, a few years back they even came across a mustard gas canister from pre-WWII.




  
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Dec 01, 2013 22:08 |  #9

Excellent, thanks for the info :)

After i make my way down there, with your permission, can the pics be posted here?

Kind of a "official Fort Ord remembrance" thread. :D


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Fitness ­ Freak
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Dec 01, 2013 22:41 |  #10

Jedi5150 wrote in post #16494180 (external link)
Thanks for motivating me, Amber! :lol: If you like these, I probably shouldn't tell you that I'm about a 1/2 hour drive from the Big Sur coastline, where people come from all over the world to see...and yet I never go take photos there. That sort of seems to be human nature though, we rarely go do the "touristy" things in the areas that we live in.

AHHH!!!! I can't hear you!! :shock: Yup, that's it. I'm going to really be on your case now to ensure that you're out there shooting all this great stuff around you. :razz:


FYI: "Fitness Freak" is also known as "Amber" outside of POTN.
http://fineartamerica.​com/profiles/1-amber-kresge.html (external link)

  
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Jedi5150
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Dec 02, 2013 13:01 |  #11

The F stops here wrote in post #16494204 (external link)
Excellent, thanks for the info :)

After i make my way down there, with your permission, can the pics be posted here?

Kind of a "official Fort Ord remembrance" thread. :D

By all means, please do! I enjoy seeing other people's perspective when viewing the same or similar scenes. Also, since I'm still in the learning phase, I love seeing different ideas for composition with objects or places I'm familiar with.

Fitness Freak wrote in post #16494240 (external link)
AHHH!!!! I can't hear you!! :shock: Yup, that's it. I'm going to really be on your case now to ensure that you're out there shooting all this great stuff around you. :razz:

:lol: I appreciate the motivation. In the meantime, here is a link to my Flickr site. I'm always looking for suggestions or commentary on ways to improve. I'm not the kind of person to get my feelings hurt from constructive criticism, so if you see areas I need to work on, or tips, please fire away:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/43147167@N06/ (external link)




  
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Fitness ­ Freak
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Dec 02, 2013 13:15 |  #12

Jedi5150 wrote in post #16495570 (external link)
:lol: I appreciate the motivation. In the meantime, here is a link to my Flickr site. I'm always looking for suggestions or commentary on ways to improve. I'm not the kind of person to get my feelings hurt from constructive criticism, so if you see areas I need to work on, or tips, please fire away:
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/43147167@N06/ (external link)

I haven't yet really focused on the composition of your pictures, I'm currently too distracted with two thoughts that keep running thru my head while viewing your images. #1. I Want to move to the mountains, like-yesterday. And #2. I LOVE your dogs. I want them. :D


FYI: "Fitness Freak" is also known as "Amber" outside of POTN.
http://fineartamerica.​com/profiles/1-amber-kresge.html (external link)

  
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Madjackdog
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Dec 02, 2013 19:54 |  #13

Brings back some memories. Basic training - Fall of 1964.


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Ltdave
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Dec 02, 2013 20:12 as a reply to  @ Madjackdog's post |  #14

is the MOUT site still around?

i went to a California Historical Group WWII reenactment there in 89 or 90 (id have to check my books)...

the MOUT site was a slew of cinder block buildings that were in some cases "destroyed" or "damaged" by "shellfire" or the like. it stands for Military Operations, Urban Terrain. we reenacted one of the battles from Operation Market Garden (airborne invasion of Holland)...




  
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Jedi5150
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Dec 03, 2013 00:02 |  #15

Fitness Freak wrote in post #16495613 (external link)
I haven't yet really focused on the composition of your pictures, I'm currently too distracted with two thoughts that keep running thru my head while viewing your images. #1. I Want to move to the mountains, like-yesterday. And #2. I LOVE your dogs. I want them. :D

:lol: Don't be getting any ideas...my dogs are my babies! You can't have them.;) I know what you mean about mountains. I love them. I can't get to the Sierras often enough.



Madjackdog, thank you for your service to our country (and you as well, Fstops). Service men and women and their spouses (like Amber) are a big part of what makes our country great. My hat is off to all of you.

Ltdave wrote in post #16496741 (external link)
is the MOUT site still around?

i went to a California Historical Group WWII reenactment there in 89 or 90 (id have to check my books)...

the MOUT site was a slew of cinder block buildings that were in some cases "destroyed" or "damaged" by "shellfire" or the like. it stands for Military Operations, Urban Terrain. we reenacted one of the battles from Operation Market Garden (airborne invasion of Holland)...

LT Dave, thanks for bringing up the MOUT site. I mentioned it in my other thread:
https://photography-on-the.net …read.php?t=1344​170&page=3
...but forgot to bring it up here. It is still there, and owned by the FBI. The nickname for the MOUT site is "Impossible City". It is not open to the public, and unlike some other "casually closed" areas of the base, I would not recommend going in or near the MOUT site, trespassing will be strictly enforced there. I've been there once myself, many years ago, and it is indeed a cool place. It has an entire sewer system, live-fire "kill house", and sniper training towers. Military and LE agencies from all over come to train there. In fact, Ft. Ord residents who have been here a few years can remember when a group of SEALs training there accidentally started an 800 acre forest fire on the base with a smoke grenade or pop-up flare or something...oh well, nobody is perfect. :lol: Those guys are still complete bad a$$es.

Funny you should mention WWII reenacting. I was involved in that for a year or so with one of my buddies from work. I portrayed a medic (which I used to be in the real world) with 3ID/ 15th IR/ Charlie Co. We did reenactments at both Ft. Ord and Camp Roberts. In fact, I got to see an M4 Sherman tank drive right through one of the old buildings on Ft. Ord. Here is a photo of me during my reenacting days (on the right in the photo), taken at Ft. Ord:

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/World-War-II/i-kLtkP5R/0/XL/DSCN0102-XL.jpg

...as a BAR gunner at Camp Roberts (better known as "Camp Bob"):
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/World-War-II/i-nPPCtJs/0/L/241969-big-L.jpg

A Sherman at Ft. Ord:
IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/World-War-II/i-JTFcQZ3/0/XL/DSCN0108-XL.jpg

IMAGE: http://maligator.smugmug.com/Other/World-War-II/i-jTNdhT2/0/L/DSCN0122-L.jpg



  
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