The Home Front: World War II in Tehachapi
Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
May 25, 2019
During World War II, the Marine Corps put an anti-aircraft gun in a field right by where the Tehachapi News office is today, near the corner of North Mill Street and Highway 58, though neither of those roads were there at that time. They figured that if the Japanese were going to attack the Marine Corps Base that was in Mojave then, they'd have to come through Tehachapi Pass. There was a crew stationed there with that gun all the time – they called it an "ack-ack gun" [for the phonetic alphabet pronunciation of the letters AA, which stood for Anti-Aircraft]. When a new crew came on and one crew would go off duty, the Marines would come over to the local bars, and they never had to buy their own drinks – the townspeople and bar owners would cover their tab.
The railroad was also a strategic asset that needed to be protected, because there were a lot of supplies, munitions and troops coming through Tehachapi then. My dad, Brick Jones, used to haul trash for the City of Tehachapi, and Carl Sola worked with him. At that time, Squires Drug Store was located on Tehachapi Boulevard and Green Street, where the Gallery 'N' Gifts is today. They carried a lot of magazines, like the Saturday Evening Post, Life and others, and when the new issues came in, Squires would tear the covers off the old ones so that they would get credit from the distributor, and throw the magazines away.
My dad and Carl would take those back issues over by the Tehachapi Depot, and they'd throw them through the open windows of the troop trains as they passed through so the guys in the service would have some reading material. Troop trains came through about every week during the war.
- Larry Jones