Camp Pendleton Facts

Fun and Interesting Facts about Camp Pendleton

  • Camp Pendleton was named for Major General Joseph H. Pendleton.
  • The Marine Corps paid $4,239,062 for the 122,798 acres.
  • While more than 38,000 military family members occupy base housing complexes, Camp Pendleton expands to a daytime population of 70,000 military and civilian personnel.
  • Marine mascots are named in honor of Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Burwell Puller, one of the most decorated Marines in the Corps’ history, according to his official biography.  The first depot mascot was introduced in 1939.
  • Initial construction of Camp Pendleton took only five months to complete.
  • In 1953, Devil Pups was founded on Camp Pendleton for youths ages 14-17 to gain self-confidence and learn to take responsibility for their actions after retired Marine Corps Colonel Duncan Shaw, Sr., learned that a group of teenagers burned an American flag at a Southern California high school . The program still exists today.
  • In 1975 Camp Pendleton was the first military base in the U.S. to provide accommodations for Vietnamese evacuees in Operation New Arrivals; over 50,000 refugees came to the base in the largest humanitarian airlift in history.

TV and Movie History

Camp Pendleton is attractive to film producers due to its close proximity to Hollywood (appx 70 miles) and its acres of preserved rolling hills and coastline. Productions and movies filmed at Camp Pendleton include:

  • Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) starring John Wayne
  • Flying Leathernecks (1951) starring John Wayne and Robert Ryan
  • Gomer Pyle (TV series 1964-1969) Camp Henderson was loosely based on Camp Pendleton as well
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep (TV series 1976-1978)
  • MacArthur (1977) starring Gregory Peck
  • Heartbreak Ridge (1986) starring Clint Eastwood
  • Pearl Harbor (2001) starring Ben Affleck


Camp Pendleton’s 125,547 acres host a self-sustaining water supply, sewage treatment plants, telephone and electrical systems. With a 70,000 daytime population, Camp Pendleton must maintain its self-sustaining capabilities.

The base facilities include:

  • 125,547 Family Housing Units
  • 7,300 Billeting Spaces
  • 18,000 Buildings
  • 2,600 Miles of Roads
  • 530 Railroad Tracks
  • 14 Sewage Treatment Plants
  • 7 Miles of Sewer Lines
  • 150 Sewage Lift Stations
  • 71 Water Wells
  • 33 Miles of Water Lines
  • 375 Water Reservoirs
  • 25 Miles of Steam Lines
  • 6 Miles of Gas Lines
  • 145 Miles of Electrical Lines
  • 335 Electrical Substations
  • 215 Boilers
  • 487 Landfills