Along the northern edge of Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) is a restricted area that few civilians see, even though it’s within a foul ball’s reach of the youth baseball fields on the far side of high chain link fences.
Long-derelict base housing is used as a training ground for urban warfare, leased out by the base to law enforcement agencies seeking to provide their personnel with realistic experience in fighting house-to-house.
Known as MOUT (military operations on urban terrain), training is eagerly sought but nearby facilities are hard to find in heavily suburbanized Southern California.
The JFTB MOUT area had grown increasingly dangerous for training as the buildings fell further into disrepair.
On Saturday, April 28, over a hundred a fifty people arrived in the MOUT area to make it safer for training.
The overall project was organized by Kristine J. Wood, State Vice Chairman of Project Patriot for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Last February, Wood had attended the State of the County Luncheon sponsored by the Cypress Chamber of Commerce and featuring Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach in a blackly humorous speech on the County’s finances.
She sat at the same table as then-Major, now-Lieutenant Colonel William Mayhue, deputy commander of the the JFTB.
In chatting with the deputy commander, she learned about the danger posed by the derelict buildings and offered to organize a group to come out and gut the interiors to make it safer for those training.
On Saturday, the DAR joined with local members of Mormon Helping Hands and soldiers from the base to knock out and remove broken windows, tear out old hot water heaters and yank up ripped carpeting.
The group started in the cool of the morning, took a break for lunch, and continued as heat built up in the afternoon.
“There’s still a lot to do,” Wood remarked while walking from one work site to another. As Mayhue’s “community liaison,” she has her eyes on other projects around the base uncompleted for lack of manpower or funding.
“We need more help,” said Wood. “Especially someone who’s knowledgeable about fundraising.”
If you would like to help, you can reach Wood by email at Kristinewood@aol.com.
UPDATE: here is a photo and description contributed by SSG Jessica Inigo:
Sgt. Jose Penaserrano, of the California Army National Guard Training Site Detachment from the Department of Public Works section on Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, assists Hayden Veale, 15, of Cypress, who is a member of the Mormon Helping Hands. The group brought about 150 volunteers on the base, including members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as a handful of service members together to help clean up the wore down Naval Housing area that has been closed since the late 90s.
A photo by C.E.H. Wiedel of one of the derelict buildings in the MOUT area on Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
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