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Looking Back to 1941: First surge of troops arrived at Camp Roberts, locals report for draft 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of the society’s Vice President Nancy Tweedie and Research Director Jan Cannon.

Excerpts from The Paso Robles Journal, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1941:

Now is the time to prepare for soldiers’ arrival

–Gradually more and more khaki uniforms are to be seen on the streets of Paso Robles. Last Saturday night there were quite a few, strolling singly, in pairs and in groups. Officers of various ranks appeared in hotel lobbies, in cafes and other public places. Non-coms, too, were seen here and there, looking the town over, searching for places of amusement and recreation.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Click here to read the front page of the January 15, Paso Robles Journal.

All of this, of course, is only a small indication of what may be expected in the future and, it may be added in the near future, at that. The influx of servicemen is going to be gradual, so gradual as to be hardly noticed. Then, suddenly one day we will realize that they are here, not scores, but hundreds of them. Today the ratio of soldier to civilian is perhaps one soldier to one hundred civilians. The time may come when there will be seen a dozen soldiers to every civilian on our streets.

Right now is the time for us to ask ourselves, “What’s to be done with them?” What have we to offer these men in the form of recreation, how can we keep them happy and entertained, what amusements of a clean moral character can they find here?

A city the size of San Francisco or Los Angeles could absorb them all without creating a problem. But we must realize that as yet we are ill-prepared for the hundreds, yes thousands that will swarm over our community on those days when the men are on leave. While the average draftee will no doubt be of a quiet, well-behaved type, and while the army no doubt will be prepared to handle those who will not stay in line, we must nevertheless expect a certain amount of friction between certain elements among the military and the people here. Various adjustments will be necessary, there will be, overnight confusion and perplexity where quiet and tranquility reigned before.

Click here to read more on page 3.

14 Draftees to leave Monday

The Paso Robles area will furnish 14 draftees in classification A-1 in the January 21 draft. The draftees will report at San Francisco, January 21, leaving the Southern Pacific depot, Paso Robles at 3:16 p.m., Monday, January 20.

Names and order numbers of the men selected are as follows:

Caesar Scaltritti – V-564
Jim Lee Wong – V-44
Willie Acosta Gallegos – V-306
Glen Everest Storny – 10
Larry Acosta Gallegos – 25
Bruce Wilcox Lewey – 50
Francis Richard Tucker – 52
Robert John Pruett – 63
Enrique Robert Bushton – 67
Wilbur Edgar Hobbs – 79
Henry Peter Barba – 80
Clayton Maurice Jones – 82
William Joseph Brown – 91

The following men have been selected as replacement:

Roy Harold Hackney – V-458
John B. Swetz – 94
Everett Graham – 100
John B. Marques – 101
Alfred Caspar – 103

Any man required to report as a replacement shall be duly notified at least five days before he is required to report.

Read previous Looking Back articles

Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, (805) 239-4556.

Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446,, (805) 227-0440.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.