The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Salinas (121.606W 36.663N) derived its name from a local salt marsh. The town was established in 1878 with free acreage and right-of-way granted to the Southern Pacific Railroad, which the local ranchers knew would be important for taking their products to market. The town was still the center of an agricultural district in 1941, though emphasis had shifted to grains, bean, sugar beets, and luxury truck crops like artichokes. These were profitable enough to give the town one of the hightest per capita incomes in the country.
The local National Guard company was federalized as Company C, 194 Tank Battalion, on 18 February 1941, and sent to the Philippines where it was incorporated into 1 Provisional Tank Force. The local labor shortage in Salinas resulting from the draft was made up mostly with immigrant laborers from Mexico.
The town was the location of an airstrip that was taken over by the Army Air Forces and converted to a training base for 4 Air Force early in 1941. Conversion was not complete until April 1942, but 69 Observation
Group was based here when war broke out. A small number of early production P-38s may also have been based here when war broke out.
California State Historical Museum (accessed 2011-4-3)
Monterey County Historical Society (accessed 2011-4-3)
Salinas.net (accessed 2011-4-3)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2011 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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