Index of Images

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"1910 Toro Point"

Toro Point 1910
Toro Point Camp
Toro Point Rail
Light House
Bachelor Quarters

"1916 - 1917"

Early Construction
Early Construction
Early Construction
Early Construction
Early Construction
1917 Construction
1917 Barracks
Field Storehouse
Troop Inspection

"Miscellaneous  Early Years"

Sub Defense
Mine Dock
Mine Warehouse
Vintage Cannon
Search Light
Old Quarters
Old Quarters
Officers Quarters
Hillside View
Base Road
Uniform of the Day
Another Uniform


Aerial View
Hill Top View
Field Inspection
Field Inspection
Field Inspection
Field Inspection
View of Lagoon
Dock and Ferry
Barracks Road
Playing Ball


Jungle Training

"The Batteries"

Battery Howard
Battery MacKenzie
Battery Stanley
12" Mortar
12" Mortar
14" Rifle
Battery Pratt
Battery Pratt
Battery Kilpatrick
Entrance to Cove

Large files

Map 1 (243kbs)
Map 2 (171kbs)
Map 3 (343kbs)


Wood Barracks
New Barracks
Ferry Slip
Group Photo
Honor Guard
France Field Parade


Support Equipment


1990s Aerial Photos
Training in the 90's
Front Gate

The End.....



The Early Days of Fort Sherman
Panama Canal Zone
Photos from the private collection of Mr.Vicente Alberto Pascual

Fort Sherman was named by War Department General Order No. 153 dated November 24, 1911, in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman. General Sherman, a renowned U.S. Civil War commander, succeeded General U.S. Grant as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army. General Sherman died on February 14, 189I.

         Construction of the post under the direction of the Department of Engineer began in January 1912 at Toro Point the northern tip of land, during construction of the Panama Canal as a phase of the original 1910 fortification plan for  that waterway.
         The point of land was a "natural" in defense planning of the time. A construction project was started in 1916 to provide suitable quarters for troops stationed in the Panama Canal Department. This project included the construction of wooden, framed barracks and quarters at Fort Sherman, but as rapidly as possible these were replaced by concrete structures.
        From its activation until shortly after World War II, the post was a heavily fortified coast artillery installation with one sole mission: to provide defense of the Panama Canal, specifically for the Atlantic port of Cristobal and Gatun Locks. The guns of Fort Sherman complemented the defensive armament of Fort Randolph across Limon Bay. Stationed at Fort Sherman were two harbor defense battalions and one anti-aircraft gun battalion.
        Fort Sherman is bounded by Limon Bay on the east (which separates it from the city of Colon and the port of Cristobal), by the Caribbean Sea on the west and north, and by thick jungle on the south and southwest. The area is overgrown with all types of tropical and semi-tropical growth, interrupted only by three roadways, several streams and the Charges River. This area included smaller areas on which grow all types of jungle vegetation to be found in Central America. The variety of jungle growth and the rugged terrain make it an excellent training area for all types of jungle warfare. The isolated location made transportation difficult. Early access was by boat or ferry across the bay, followed by railroad or aircraft. It was much later that it became accessible by motor vehicle. Exclusive jurisdiction by the United States over the land was acquired by a treaty with the Republic of Panama, November 18, 1903. The Military Reservation was designated by Executive Order 2825, dated March 25, 1918; its original boundaries enlarged by Executive Order 3352, dated November 6, 1920. The installation, as of July 31, 1945, included approximately 11,448 acres.
        The first post commander arrived on May 30, 1914. The first of the Coast Artillery units to arrive for duty at Fort Sherman was the 119th Company on May 31, 1914, followed by the 44th and 21st Companies in 1914, the 16th Company in 1915, and the 124th Company in 1916. The following year, the 4th Company was organized at Fort Sherman. In addition, the first element of the Army Air Service assigned for duty in Panama -- which arrived on March 29, 1917, commanded by the then Captain Henry H. "Hap" Arnold who later became General of the Army and General of the Air Force -- first operated with its two Curtis R-4 airplanes from the parade field at Fort Sherman because there were no flying fields in the Canal Zone until construction of the Army airfield at France Field on the Atlantic side in 1922.
         In 1925, the Department of the Navy and the Panama Canal Company jointly developed a radio compass station at Toro Point to provide lines of bearing to commercial and naval ships approaching the Atlantic terminus of the Panama Canal. In addition to the radio compass house, barracks, married quarters for the Chief-in-charge and a concrete seawall were constructed. The station was commissioned on May 18, 1925. In December 1952, the name Toro Point Station was changed to Naval Communication Unit Number 33 and was moved to Galeta Point.
         During the period from 1912-1923 seven defense batteries were constructed to defend the Atlantic approaches to the Panama Canal. Coast artillery armament consisted of two 14-inch and two 6-inch caliber rifles and eight 12-inch mortars installed at five batteries, namely:. Battery Stanley (14-inch rifle), Battery Mower (14-inch rifle), Battery Kilpatrick (two 6-inch rifles), Battery Howard (four 12-inch mortars), and Battery Baird (four 12-inch mortars). The five batteries consisting of massive concrete emplacements were constructed during the period 1912-1916. The 14-inch rifle (one of the largest weapons then in existence) was designed to prevent battleships from approaching close enough to fire upon port shipping or the Canal locks while the smaller guns were Battery MacKenzie and Battery Pratt, each with two 12-inch rifle were constructed during the period 1916-1923. The guns had ranges varying from 14,500 to 30,000 yards.
        Battery Kilpatrick was named in honor of Major General Hugh J. Kilpatrick, who served with the 1st Artillery during the Civil War; Battery Stanley for Major General David S. Stanley, who commanded the 4th Corps during the Civil War; Battery Mower for Major General Joseph A. Mower, who served with the 25th Infantry during the Civil War; Battery Baird for Brigadier General Absalom Baird, commander of the 1st Division in the Civil War; Battery Howard for Major General Oliver A. Howard, commander of the 11th Corps during the Civil War who later became superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy; Battery Pratt for Brigadier General Sedgwick Pratt, who became a member of the U.S. Army Board of Ordnance and Fortifications, and Battery MacKenzie for Major General Akxander MacKenzie, Chief of the U.S. Army Engineers and also a member of the U.S. Army Board of Ordnance and Fortifications.
        Shortly after World War I, supplemental beach defense batteries with four 75mm. and four 155mm, anti-aircraft guns were also located at Fort Sherman. These were emplaced close to the harbor defense batteries. The 75mm guns were emplaced at Fort Sherman, Fort San Lorenzo, Tortuguilla Point, Iglesia Island and Bruja Island; and the 155mm guns at Fort Sherman, Tortuguilla Point, and Naranjitos Point.
        In 1925, Fort Sherman became the home to the Second Regiment. It was considered an attractive post by then. Subsequent to the declaration of the national emergency in 1939, housing and warehousing facilities had to be enlarged. Much of this construction was of the temporary Theater of Operations type. Because of the age of the post, the problem of maintenance was ever present during the World War II period. From 1943 until the end of hostilities, maintenance constituted the principal problem for construction forces.
        Modernization progressed slowly until 1939, when the accelerated buildings program went into effect in connection with which $1,601,594.71 was spent for new construction repairs and alterations.' In addition Battery Pratt was cemented at a cost of $672.816.18. The cost of Fort Sherman to the United States, as of July 31, 1945, was listed as $3,308.917. On-post housing included 29 sets of officer quarters, a post exchange, library, chapel, theater, craft shop, and gym. There was also an Aid Station and military dependents were cared for at the Fort Gulick Dispensary. No school was on post, but buses took children to schools in Gatun, Margarita, and Coco Solo. Additional construction followed. On January 4, 1946, the building of a new Third Echelon Shop, estimated cost $16,000, was reported to be in progress.
        According to Engineer Form 1266, July 31, 1945, the following construction had been completed at Fort Sherman: Permanent housing consisting of 29 family quarters for officers, 38 family quarters, and barracks for 1,200 enlisted men; temporary housing consisting of 19 family quarters, BOQ facilities for 52 officers; 21 family quarters and barracks for 990 enlisted men; and 20 family quarters for civilians. There were also warehouse facilities, bulk fuel storage facilities for gasoline, kerosene, and fuel oil, waterway facilities consisting of a QM general dock, a mine planters dock , a fuel dock , an old boat house, and a boat house.
        To help centralize the control of the Atlantic defenses the 88th Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) (SA) Regiment was activated at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone, August 20, 1942, The 88th was organized into four regiments for defense of Atlantic sites. Each regiment was given batteries in a certain sections of defense positions and with the mission of protecting the objective from an attack in that area. The mission of the 88th Coast Artillery was protecting the Southwest side of the Locks. However, some of the searchlights of the regiments were scattered around the South and East end of the objective.
        In addition to the Fort Sherman reservation proper, several Coast Artillery Command outposts were considered sub-posts of Fort Sherman. These sub-posts were:

Battery MacKenzie
Battery Pratt
290' Hill
Batteries "V" and "W"
G-4 (296-A Radar)
Balloon Camp No. I
Balloon Camp No. 2
Dock 13

heavy seacoast weapons
heavy seacoast weapons
radar installation
155mm gun positions
base end station

        The first six installations were located within the Fort Sherman Military Reservation. The last three, Balloon Camps 1 and 2 and Dock 13, were located in the Canal Zone. The posts on the Military Reservations, (approximately 94 acres), were Harbor Defense sites protecting Cristobal harbor. Five gun battery crews and three eight- men details were stationed at these positions. Balloon Camps 1 and 2 and the Dock 13 sites, occupying approximately 2.5 acres, were used in the later years of World War II as the locations for the motor pool and Battalion Headquarters.
        The total cost of the nine installations to the United States as of July 31, 1945, was listed as $738,517,80. On May 20, 1946, the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, declared Balloon Camps 1 and 2 surplus. Camp No. 1 was razed completely except building foundations, site, and roads. Camp No. 2 was completely razed as this position was not required for occupancy in case of emergency under the long-term plan for defense of the Panama Canal. The remainder of the miscellaneous Coast Artillery Command positions remained on an active status for re-occupancy in an emergency. Construction at the miscellaneous Coast Artillery Command sub-posts of Fort Sherman consisted of temporary housing for 66 officers; 446 enlisted men and access roads.
        Gun Batteries 3, 5, and 7 were located on the Fort Sherman Military Reservation and occupied approximately 90 acres. The remainder were located in the Canal Zone and occupied approximately 11.5 acres. Each of these batteries was the site of a heavy anti- aircraft artillery gun position. At each position, one gun crew was stationed. The total cost of the ten gun battery positions was listed, as of August 10, 1945, as $406,499,82. At that time, Batteries 3 and 7 were used by Ordnance as experimental stations; Battery 11 was in a troop caretaker status; Battery 15 was on a civilian caretaker basis; Batteries 3, 5, 7, 15 and 23 were unoccupied. By 1946, only Batteries 9, 13 and 17 were occupied while Batteries 3, 11, 15, 19, and 23 were on a caretaker basis.

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