Navy-Marine Corps MARS in Vietnam

Home Up N0ANP_Stories MCRD CheVron



November Zero Alpha November Papa


MCRD San Diego, CA

Groundbreaking on the original 232.24 acres took place on 2 March 1919.   The facility continued with construction and occupation from 1919 through 1926. On 1 December 1921, General Joseph H. Pendleton  placed it into commission as the Marine Advanced Expeditionary Base, San Diego. In 1923, the west coast Marine Recruit Depot from Mare Island Navy Shipyards in Vallejo, California, relocated to San Diego Marine Base. On 1 March 1924, the base became, officially, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, carrying  that name for the next twenty-four years. The base consisted of approximately 388 acres, of which some 367.76 acres were reclaimed tidal area. Throughout World War II recruit training overshadowed all other functions on the base. After the war, the recruit training detachment remained the principal tenant and on 1 January 1948, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, became the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Western Recruiting Region, San Diego.

W6YDK was first licensed in the spring of 1947 to Robert L Peterson, Signal Battalion, Building 21-B-12, Camp Del Mar, Camp Pendleton, CA.  When the Signal and Tracked Vehicle School Battalion (renamed Signal Schools Battalion in September 1950, in 1953 to Communication-Electronics School Battalion and now designated as Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School) relocated from Del Mar to MCRD in 1950, they brought W6YDK, their ham radio station with them.  The 1950 Amateur Call Book lists station W6YDK registered to George C. Ruffin, Jr., Building 139, MCRD San Diego.    In 1957, the station along with it's ham operators played an important part in the search and rescue effort of two young cadets lost hiking.  By 1958 the station was located in Building 143 before finding its long-time home in Building 140 above the Recruit Reception Center and across the street from B Company, C & E Schools Battalion, Operational Communications Schools (Bldg 337).

Eagle Globe & Anchor over the Archway MCRD

Joining the Navy-Marine Corps MARS program in December of 1962, W6YDK was assigned the call N0ANP and continued to send arrival messages to parents of recruits training at the Depot.  During the Vietnam War, the station housed the N0PPC billet, (MARS Phone Patch CONUS) for the coordinator of schedules between Vietnam and the U.S.    MSgt Bob Rotella first filled the shoes of N0PPC.  In November of 1968, the CheVron featured the station and its operators in the paper.

With the renaming of all Marine Corps MARS call signs in late 1970, W6YDK received the new MARS call N0MSD.  The call N0ANP became available for civilian use but has never been assigned to any amateur.

The heroic deeds of station personnel were again chronicled in the CheVron during February of 1973 for which they received a coveted Marines from MARS citation.

The ham shack re-located one more time in the 1980's to it's final site next to Depot Headquarters in Building 172.  

W6YDK is no longer a Marine Corps Amateur Station.  It is now the personal call sign of Barry Weathersby, a former Marine Corps MARS operator in Vietnam and at W6YDK/N0ANP who rescued it after the license lapsed.