Firing Range 8 at Fort Ord


The military post formerly known as Fort Ord, and now known as CSU Monterey Bay, is most intriguing for its paradoxes. Aside from the unusual street names for a university (where one might expect Martin Luther King Way, you Instead take Light Fighter Drive to the university entrance, and it's easy to anticipate battles of political correctness over the street names in the coming years), CSUMB is filled with new (or at least newly remodeled) buildings that comprise the university, while also being filled with delapidated buildings that are the abandoned remnants of Ord.

Fort Ord is a post I knew well, though it looked different then. It's where I deployed to Desert Storm from. Where now the paint is peeling from the buildings, and the wood is rotting, Ord was a perfectly maintained post in the best military manner. At one point I could drive around here with my eyes closed, but now I need GPS just to find the sand dunes. Many of the roads are closed, and those that are open seem foreign to me.

I've come to visit the sand dunes, which have been set aside as a state park, and were always my favorite destination when I was here. I have fond memories of spending evenings at the sea shore, listening to the wind and the surf. 

As I make my way through the tunnel along Second Ave., I'm surprised and pleased to find that Firing Range 8 is still standing. Firing Range 8 and I have history. Not only have I qualified on my weapons here, but I've spent time in the range's tower, radioing in low flying planes during live fires. There's a placard in front of the range describing the its past, and I think the state may plan on keeping the range standing for historical purposes.

As I walk towards the dunes, a couple of college students squeeze out of some broken boards in the back of the main building, adjusting their clothes. Firing Range 8 is still seeing some action.