The Palomar Hotshots were organized in 1975. The first Superintendent was Gary Glotfelty, and the first foreman was George Mangle. The crew was made up of career conditional positions. Some of whom later became Superintendents of other crews, Bob Bennett and Dennis Baldridge. The Crew was based at the US Naval Survival Camp in Warner Springs, California. It was the only Hotshot base to have its own store and enlisted man’s club (bar). To be stationed at a Navy installation meant that we also had to follow Navy regulations and protocols. We did get a chance to learn about survival in the wilderness since the base specialized in training Navy fliers to survive after a crash, or after being shot down in enemy territory. The crew lasted until 1978 when it fell in the “great hotshot massacre” at the end of the season.
1975-1979 Gary Glotfelty
1979-1982 Barry Callenberger
1975 -1976 George Mangel
1976-1977 Barry Callenberger
1977-1978 John Denmark
1978 Randy Yarger
1979-1982 Charlie Brown
1980-1982 Tim Swedberg
In 1979 the crew came back as a district hand crew with Barry Callenberger as the Superintendent and Charlie Brown as the foreman. The crew was stationed at the Henshaw YACC camp, on the Palomar District of the Cleveland National Forest. In 1980 the crew regained its Hotshot status and a second foreman, Tim Swedberg, as well as a new office at the Oak Grove Engine Station. Then in the fall of 1981 the crew was cut again after just two seasons. For several years through the 1980’s the crew was organized as a district crew with Dennis Baldridge as the Superintendent. After Dennis became the Superintendent of the Laguna Hotshots, the Palomar crew fell on hard times and faded away. Recently the crew has come on board again as a Type I crew seeking RHC status with Wes Ruis as the Superintendent. Wes was on the Palomar Hotshot crew in 1980 and 1981.
Throughout the crew’s history it did participate during a time when there were some of the largest wildfires through out the west. Such as the Panorama, Marble Cone, Mine fire, and more.
History text provided by Barry Callenberger
Photos provided by Simon Sage (PHS 1980/1981)