Twentynine Palms or the The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) is a premier training facility. It is know for having one of the most unique living environments in the western United States. Twentynine Palms is large It covers more than 998 square miles of the high desert, which makes it larger than some small countries. It’s residents include 12,500 active duty, 24,000 family members, 21,000 DoD/Contractors and 1,200 retirees. The total population is 24,646. The small military community has a moderate cost of living, clean air and acts as the Gateway to the California Outback.
1551 Fifth Street
The Village Center
Twentynine Palms, CA 92278-8150
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) is located in San Bernardino County in Southern California. The premier training facility is nestled in the quiet desert paradise of Twentynine Palms, and together, makes up one of the most unique living environments in the western United States.
Local Area and Communities
The oasis of Twentynine Palms was discovered in 1885 by Col. Henry Washington, who commanded a government survey party. Before the turn of the century, this area was well known by prospectors and miners.
The major mountain range, the Bullion Mountains, reflects the influence of those miners and prospectors in the naming of local terrain features and areas. Many abandoned mines are located in the fire and maneuver areas of the Combat Center. The Dale mines, located 15 miles southeast of the Combat Center, yielded more than $3 million in gold prior to the turn of the century. Mining continued to be a major activity in the High Desert until shortly after World War I.
Veterans of World War I who had suffered lung damage from gas attacks came here to recuperate with the help of sunshine, low humidity and clean air. They were followed by others seeking good health, especially asthma and tuberculosis sufferers. Many of these people took 160-acre homesteads. A common saying at that time was, “The government bets you 160 acres of desert that you can’t survive on it for three years.” Many did survive, and their descendants are now among the established families in the recently incorporated (1987) city of Twentynine Palms.
Climate and Terrain
The area encompassing Twentynine Palms is the Morongo Basin and is classified as having an arid, upland desert climate. The summer months are characterized by high temperatures, low humidity and clear, sunny days. While the average annual temperature is 67 degrees, temperatures occasionally reach 120 degrees in the summer and drop to 15 degrees in winter. Average annual precipitation is about four inches, most of it occurring as rain from July to January. Some freezing rain and snow does occur during the winter at higher elevations.
The terrain consists of steeply sloped mountains with flat intervening valleys that are oriented northwest-southeast. Relief is moderate, with elevations ranging from 1,800 to 4,500 feet. most mountain segments have approximately 2,000 feet of relief from the valley edge to their summits. There are also several dune areas, lava flows, and dry lakes that collect water during brief periods of heavy rain.
The MAGTFTC/MCAGCC mission is to conduct relevant live-fire combined arms training, urban operations, and Joint/Coalition level integration training that promotes operational forces readiness as well as to provide the facilities, services, and support responsive to the needs of resident organizations, Marines, Sailors, and their families today and tomorrow.
The land has a history of military use dating back to 1940, when the Army used the area for training glider crews. Glider training ended in 1943, when the Army switched to training fighter pilots. At the end of World War II, the Navy used the area as a bombing range until 1945, when it was transferred to San Bernardino County. In 1952, the Marine Corps took charge and was designated Headquarters Marine Corps Training Center. In 1957, it was commissioned as a Marine Corps Base. In 1979, the Base finally became what we know it as today, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.
The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center’s (MCAGCC) two-fold mission is to operate live fire combined arms training that promotes readiness of operating forces and to provide facilities, services, and support, responsive to the needs of tenant commands, marines, sailors and their families.