The Presidio Review is named in honor of the Presidio of San Francisco, which up until its closure in 1995 was the oldest continuously-operating military post in the United States.
During World War II, the post served as headquarters to the U.S. Fourth Army and the Western Defense Command, the combined headquarters charged with overseeing the defense of the Western United States, including Alaska. Had the Japanese chosen to invade Hawaii, the Presidio would have become the base from which the entire Pacific War would be conducted. As it was, through its main post and subordinate bases, the Presidio played five key roles:
- The post oversaw recruitment, training, deployment, logistics and supply for the war in the Pacific;
- It managed the homeland defense of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana,
- It commanded the campaign against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands;
- It was headquarters for the joint Army/Navy team charged with defending the San Francisco Bay region, its dozens of bases and countless defense plants from sabotage or attack.
- As the home of Letterman Army Hospital, the Presidio’s quiet fields and fog-laced pines made it place of emotional as well as physical healing for thousands of wounded warriors returning from the Pacific campaigns.
Today, as the post concludes its second decade after de-activation and its military infrastructure is slowly transformed or demolished, we can think of no other location that better exemplifies the forgotten legacies and lessons of World War II. As such, it is the perfect symbol for this blog.