I am LTC Allan E. Jeska, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired) and I served about 23 of my 37 years of military service at Vancouver Barracks from 1969-92. The Vietnam conflict was in full swing and the Army Reserve needed a Captain – Training Officer with the Army Advisor Group which was co-located with the Post Headquarters. I served there for a year and then joined the 104th Division where I served in the Headquarters and commanded the Support Battalion.
My Support Battalion was located below the main section of the Barracks and we had various divisional service units attached. Even the Division’s Air Section was located there and it could just taxi out onto Pearson Airpark and take off. On one occasion, the Air Section’s head pilot landed the command aircraft with the wheels up! Not a nice thing to forget… After my command tenure, I transferred to the 6229th Army Reserve School which was located in the old Post Hospital up against I-5. We had offices all over the building in “strange places.” The training section was located in the basement in the old hospital morgue and I even went to my Command and General Staff Course in the unheated attic. We liked the building, but there were many hidden, spooky areas to explore.
In the VERY top of the old hospital we found some old sick slips from WWII when it really was the post hospital and they were humorous to read, along with real split slate roofing tiles from long ago.
The post hospital was built for $10,830.09 and had room for about 24 men in two wards and included an isolation ward on the second floor, according to a Columbian article of October 21, 1999. We also were proud to have served on the tiny Army post that actually had the first military Post Exchange.
Yes, over the 23 years I was assigned to the Post, I explored, marched, trained, studied, maintained, commanded, and even shot .22 rifles in the basement range of the auditorium. There are lots of memories there. Stop by, walk around the historic grounds, and remember all those who served proudly at our Vancouver Barracks.