MS 213 Orrell Anza Borrego Desert Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Orrell, Fred Lewis
Orrell Anza Borrego Desert Collection
MS 213
Date [inclusive]
1.0 Linear feet (2 boxes)
The collection consists of documents related to Fred Lewis Orrell’s research of military activity in the Anza-Borrego Desert area and Southern California during World War II.

Preferred Citation

Orrell Anza Borrego Desert Collection, MS 213, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Fred Lewis Orrell was an amateur historian who, under the auspices of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, studied the presence of the United States military in the Borrego Desert area during World War II. He conducted his research in the early 1990s, hoping to “identify the units participating, describe their activities, relate these to the major artifacts left behind, and determine the manner in which they obtained access to the Park lands.” Orrell’s studies focused primarily on the Anza-Borrego Park area, especially the Desert Training Center at Camp Young, but encompassed other parts of Southern California as well, including San Diego. Run by General George S. Patton, the Desert Training Center (DTC) was the main training facility for combat troops during the 1942-1943 North African campaign. The DTC spanned from Pomona, California all the way to Yuma, Arizona. In 1943, after the end of the conflict in North Africa, the DTC’s name was changed to the California-Arizona Maneuver Area. The end result of Orrell’s work was a report on the subject for the educational programs of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, research notes, and maps related to Orrell’s research of military activity in the Anza-Borrego Desert area and Southern California during World War II. Orrell corresponded with military officers, veterans, historians, archivists, and librarians to conduct his research. The research materials make up the bulk of the collection and include Orrell’s personal notes, unclassified military documents, book and journal excerpts, newspaper clippings, and maps. The materials correspond to either a particular military installation, military organization, or a relevant military subject.

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The collection is arranged into four series:

Series I: Orrell Project Correspondence and Research

Series II: Military Camps and Bases

Series III: Military Facilities

Series IV: Military Groups and Subjects

Items within each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection June 21, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 990623.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on June 21, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Maps previously separated to the SDHC Map Collection:

1) USGS: Clark Lake 1959, rev. 1974, 7.5′ Series

2) Geological Map, Central Mining Area, Calcite Mines, June 1964

3) U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest (south half), California, San Bernadino Meridian, 1965

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Marine Corps Recruit Depot (San Diego, Calif.).
  • United States — Armed Forces.
  • United States. Army. Corps of Engineers.
  • United States. Army. Infantry Division, 104th.
  • United States. Army. Western Defense Command.
  • United States. Army.
  • United States. Marine Corps.
  • United States. Navy.
  • United States. War Dept. Quartermaster Corps.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Anza-Borrego Desert (Calif.)
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Calif.)
  • Borrego Maneuver Area (Calif.)
  • Borrego Military Wash (Calif.)
  • Borrego Springs (Calif.)
  • California — History
  • California, Southern
  • Camp Callan (Calif.)
  • Camp Dunlap-Niland (Calif.)
  • Camp Elliot (Calif.)
  • Camp Lockett (Campo, Calif.)
  • Camp Young (Calif.)
  • Carrizo Impact Area (Calif.)
  • Desert Training Center and California-Arizona Maneuver Area (Calif. and Ariz.)
  • El Centro (Calif.)
  • Ocotillo (Calif.)
  • Salton Sea (Calif.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Orrell, Fred Lewis
  • Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945


  • Air bases
  • History — Research
  • Military history
  • Naval history
  • World War, 1939-1945

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: Orrell Project Correspondence and Research

Correspondence 1985 August 6–1988 July 20 1:1
Correspondence, 1990 July 25–November 5 1:2
Correspondence, 1991 January 4–December 31 1:3
Correspondence, 1992 January 10–1993 January 17 1:4
World War II source materials and maps, 1969-1989 1:5
General research notes, 1985 May 15–1992 November 10 and undated 1:6

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 Series II: Military Camps and Bases

Camp Young Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area, 1973-1991 1:7
Camp Callan, 1942–1984 and undated 1:8
Camp Dunlap-Niland, 1942-1972 1:9
Camp Elliot, 1987 and undated 1:10
Camp Lockett, 1991 and undated 1:11
San Diego Marine Corps Base and Recruit Depot, 1962 1:12

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 Series III: Military Facilities

Borrego Maneuver Area, 1942 March 10–1991 March 12 and undated 1:13
Borrego Military Wash, 1940-1989 1:14
Borrego Hotel Outlying Landing Field, 1944 March 23 1:15
Carrizo Impact Area, 1953 March 27–1982 July 12 and undated


District Public Works Office, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, California, United States Naval Air Facility, El Centro, California, “Carrizo Impact Range Topographic Map” (in Oversize Collections D6)

District Public Works Office, Eleventh Naval District, San Diego, California, United States Naval Air Facility, El Centro, California, “Carrizo Impact Area Topography Map” (in Oversize Collections D6)

Carrizo Impact Area: newspaper articles, 1961 March 12–1967 June 16 1:17
Clark’s Dry Lake Outlying Landing Field, 1944 January 28–1992 April 11and undated 2:1
El Centro Naval Air Facility, 1991 June 17 and undated 2:2
Ocotillo Dry Lake Outlying Landing Field, 1944 December 3 2:3
Rake stations, undated 2:4
Salton Sea Naval Auxiliary Air Station, 1944 and undated 2:5
San Diego’s military sites, 1991 2:6
Directory of California World War II Naval Facilities, undated 2:7
Directory of 11th Naval District Air Stations, undated 2:8

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 Series IV: Military Groups and Subjects

United States Army IV Corps, 1945 2:9
United States Army 30th Field Artillery, 1992 2:10
United States Army 104th Infantry Division, undated 2:11
United States Army Corps of Engineers, undated 2:12
United States Army Military History Institute, 1947 and undated 2:13
United States Army Quartermasters, 1990–1992 and undated 2:14
United States Army Western Defense Command, 1942–1984 and undated 2:15
United States military drones, 1955-1991 2:16

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