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Pendleton's smallest camp sees big changes

With billions being poured into improvements across the base, plans to completely level and rebuild Pendleton’s most northern camp emerge.

More than $220 million is the anticipated amount needed to rebuild the 40 acres that make Camp Talega in the coming years. Expected construction will provide the area with its own mess hall, armory and barracks.

“It’s almost as if we are wiping a Monopoly board clean of all the hotels and houses,” said Cmdr. Rafael A. Lim, public works officer, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “We are literally wiping the camp clean and working from a blank slate.”

Currently, rows of Quonset huts built in the 1940s fill the remote reserve training camp. This requires service members to live in squad-bay like conditions and travel to the next training area just to eat at a mess hall.

Camp Talega is currently used to facilitate deployment processing and reserve support. The deploying reservists and reactivated Marines from the Individual Ready Reserve make up a majority of the personnel located at Talega.

“When reserve units come out here they are often disappointed because of the antiquated facilities,” said Maj. Martin D. Gale, logistics officer, Reserve Support Unit, MCB Camp Pendleton. “Not to mention having to travel to the next camp just to eat at a dining facility.

Like a majority of the new construction on base, the Talega improvements are coming as a result of former President George W. Bush’s “Grow the Force” initiative.

“We are creating a more campus like environment,” said Lim. “Right now the camp looks like it came right out of the pages of a World War II movie.”

Camp Talega is most remembered for its role and use in scenes from the 1986 film, “Heartbreak Ridge,” staring Clint Eastwood.

The camp can currently accommodate an estimated 800 Marines in squad-bay huts and is expected to almost double these figures after billeting construction is complete.

These improvements are going to greatly benefit the reserve agencies and even the base itself, said Gale.

“Camp Pendleton is going through a historic construction phase,” said Lim. “It sure is a great time to be an engineer.”

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