- About Us
Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860-1942)
Following the purchase of the vast Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores in 1942, the new West Coast Marine Corps training base would be named for Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton, who had pioneered Marine Corps activities in the San Diego area during his 46 years of distinguished service from 1878 to 1924.
Born in Rochester, Penn., on June 2, 1860, "Uncle Joe" Pendleton, as he would later be known, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on July 1, 1884.
Pendleton’s service included duty in the jungles of Nicaragua, Santa Domingo, Guam, and the Philippines, in addition to several stateside and shipboard tours. In 1914, the 4th Regiment was reactivated and Pendleton was ordered to organize and command this expeditionary force. Pendleton and his regiment served on board the USS South Dakota and Jupiter, when it withdrew to land at Camp Howard, North Island, San Diego on July 10, 1914.
With the arrival of Pendleton’s regiment in San Diego, his love affair with the area began. He immediately recognized the value of San Diego with its good weather and harbor as an ideal choice for the Marine Corps’ Advance Base Force to be stationed on the West Coast.
Pendleton openly advocated a major Marine Corps installation in San Diego from his first stay on North Island until his retirement 10 years later. Between July 1914 and June 1916, Pendleton and his regiment improved facilities at North Island while the Marines made a favorable impression on the San Diego Community. Meanwhile, visits of high-ranking dignitaries to various expositions during this period helped to win government support for a large Marine base at San Diego.
Pendleton himself bought a house in Coronado near the harbor and became active in the civic affairs of the city. He served as mayor of Coronado from 1928—1930. Married to the former Mary Helen Fay, he died in San Diego at the age of 81.
[photo and text from USMC Camp Pendleton web site]