The Buddies of Barracks 1089

In my last post I described San Diego County’s reaction to the announcement of the United States entry into the First World War on April 6, 1917. So the month of April marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into that war.

That anniversary will be commemorated later this month by the Rancho Bernardo History Museum. The museum, in the Bernardo Winery, will be mounting an exhibit on Barracks 1089. Officially it was Barracks 1089, Veterans of World War I of the USA, Inc.

Barracks were the names of the local units of a national group originally founded in 1948 as “War 1 Buddies.” It had been almost 50 years since the war but there were enough surviving veterans to found their own unique organization, and they chose to officially address each other as “Buddy” to mark their particular experience and spirit.

That spirit surfaced on the West Coast a little over a decade and a half later in the then-new community of Rancho Bernardo. Carved out of a former working cattle ranch in the early 1960s, Rancho Bernardo had only a few thousand residents in 1965. But in February of that year, when local veterans of World War I were invited to start their own organization, an overflow crowd showed up.

The first meeting was called at a club room at the Seven Oaks Community Center. But as the community center’s February 1965 newsletter reported: “The number of individuals attending the first meeting was so large that future meetings will be held in the auditorium, rather than in one of the clubrooms.”

Barracks 1089 would count 140 members at its peak. The stories of some of those members and their organization will be on display at the museum in a few weeks. I would urge all my readers to check it out. It’s an excellent example of the preservation of a community’s history by the volunteers of our local museums and historical societies.

Source for this post was the archives of the Rancho Bernardo History Museum.

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