29 Palms Bast Training Tank

29 Palms Bast Training Tank

I was TAD at the 29 Palms Base Training Tank in the summers of ’64 and ’65. I visited the base two years ago and the same training tank including the lifeguard office was still there, however, they had civilians working the facility. I worked as an instructor and lifeguard the first year and the second year I was in charge of all three pools (tank, officer’s pool and dependent’s pool for enlisted personnel). The reason for the name and strange size of the pool, we were told, was that an earlier base general had sought funds for an Olympic-size pool for the men but the funds were refused. So, he resubmitted a request for a base training tank and that was approved. However, when the plans were submitted and the pool was 50 meters (Olympic size) he was questioned again. So they added three meters to the plans so that the pool ended up being 53 meters long. I swam on the base swim team and when we had meets, the fifty-meter swims were always stopped short by a rope across the pool at the fifty meter mark. To make some of the reservist marines mad, when we ran overboard drills where the men had to practice jumping from the tower, we only made the reservists jump from 40 feet. This was because many of them would boast (at the EM club) of their great jobs and careers when they were off active duty and they thought we were dumb for being full-time Marines. Sometimes I would tell one of them, “You will see me again before you leave here.” However, Vietnam changed my duty in swim trunks to humping with 2-9 as an artillery Scout/F.O.
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4 comments


  • Mike

    Right on Its a M42 Duster which I worked on as a Tracked Vehicle Repairmen, MOS 1841 in the 50s. I was also assigned as a life guard at the beach club at Del Mar in the summer of 1959. By the way Sgt Mike Garcilaso who was assigned there is still living in Oceanside in the same house we use to have his home brew at in 1959. Memories are great


  • Dan Gibson (’62-’66)

    You got that right! The training tank was a swimming pool. Someone saw “tank” and found a photo without reading the post.


  • Redpatcher

    Who edits this newsletter and chooses the pictures for each letter? Must not be a Marine!!! I don’t think that writer meant that kind of “training tank”.


  • Peter McDonald…Sgt. 4th Amtrac Bn, A/Co, 2nd Pltn ’64 – ’70

    Ewe, ewe….life”r” …person yew….We made Oceanside, Ca. in ’64…we are an Amtrac Unit out of Tampa…ewe know the guys that put the “marine” in Marine Corps….the word was that we might have to go up to 29 Palms for a live fire exercise…but that didn’t happen…if I remember correctly we did have a swimming component to that summer camp… That was the last time we did any traveling when we went to camp…We were scheduled to go to Vieques, PI in ’65…ran out of funds….Viet Nam…. again….so it was Court House Bay and Little Creek for the next 5 years…hmmmmm….butt…..we never had to go to 29 Palms for a second and a half of free fall.. just to put a smile on your face….the slide for life was about 35 feet high…and I left the rope at around 25 feet above the water…never thought I would hit it…long fall….would have made yew…laugh…..!!!!!


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