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Culture and Identity

Camp San Luis Obispo hosts inaugural Warrior Experience

CA Military Dept. Foundation
A screenshot from a promotional video about the March 24 event in San Luis Obispo.

There are two big events planned for Saturday in San Luis Obispo; one is the March for Our Lives, during which area students and supporters will demonstrate for gun control. The other event celebrates military culture, and offers the public a rare opportunity to visit Camp San Luis Obispo, an active California National Guard base. 

“The California Warrior Experience is an opportunity that we thought was super important to bring to all Californians, and we’re starting on the Central Coast,” said Staff Sgt. Carl Trujillo, director of the California Military Department Foundation. “And what we’re doing is we’re opening up Camp San Luis Obispo and we’re having a celebration, and we’re inviting everyone to come join us.”

The day’s events will include 5K and 10K competitive races, guided hikes, history tours and explorations of the base. Trujillo said in 2012, the Commander in Chief for members of the California Military Department, Governor Jerry Brown, signed a law allowing the department to start raising funds on its behalf.

“What we did is create the California Warrior brand, and it’s really an effort to celebrate all Californians who are making our state better,” Trujillo said. “And all 20,000 members take that duty very serious, and they feel a strong connection to service, to California.”

Participants in the some of the events planned for Saturday must pay a fee; it’s free to visit the base and join the festival, but requires online registration. To visit the base under normal circumstances, you need to show identification, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, But Trujillo says the California Warrior Trail Run Adventure is allowing for a temporary change in policy.

"So it is a secure, military installation,” Trujillo said. “But we’ve been working with the base on this for about two years, so we’re finding a way to balance that security with access to our public.

The California Military Department Foundation plans to make it an annual event.

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