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Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme
 

Soon after the local citizens of Port Hueneme improved their port facilities with private funds, the U.S. Navy purchased them, acquired additional land, and began building an Advanced Base Depot (ABD) to supply the needs of the Navy's construction battalions (SeaBees) operating in the Pacific. The depot received supplies, stored them in huge warehouses and then shipped them overseas as needed. Seabee units came and went through the port also. A private company, the Pacific Naval Air Bases Co., operated the depot throughout the war under contract with the Navy. The depot expanded regularly and by 1945 it could accommodate up to 21,000 base personnel and SeaBees in transit. The docks could handle 9 cargo ships and two tank landing craft simultaneously, and the rail yard could hold up to 2,000 boxcars.

After the war, Port Hueneme was designated a permanent installation. The Navy took over operations and as other Naval depots closed down around the country some of their operations and personnel came here. Throughout the Cold War Port Hueneme was the Navy's main ABD on the west coast.

History
by globalsecurity.org

The Naval Construction Battalion Center (CBC), Port Hueneme, California, is the west coast homeport of the Navy’s mobile construction force. CBC supports the training and mobilization requirements for more than 2,600 active duty personnel. The CBC also operates a 1,600-acre naval base. The CBC is located on the vast agricultural Oxnard Plain, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, right on the Beautiful Southern California Coast.

The mission of CBC is to prove a homeport and furnish training, administrative and logistic support for Seabees serving in many parts of the world. CBC provides training and mobilization requirements for four active duty Seabee battalions, Naval Mobile Construction Battalions THREE, FOUR, FIVE and FORTY, and more than 16 reserve Seabee units. The CBC's mission is “to support the Naval Construction Force, fleet units and assigned organizational units deployed from or homeported at the CBC; to support mobilization requirements of the Naval Construction Force; to store, preserve, and ship advanced base mobilization stocks; to perform engineering and technical services, and such other tasks as may be assigned by higher authority.”

Over the years, the Port Hueneme center has expanded or contracted, depending on the world situation and the needs of the Navy. At present, CBC is responsible for procurement, storage, maintenance and disposal of the construction equipment and materials which make up the Propositioned War Reserve Material Stocks. Many of the Center's departments, such as the Supply Department, Comptroller, Civil Engineers Support Office and Facilities System Office provide direct support to other Navy commands. In addition, CBC provides support to more than 40 tenant commands with missions ranging from Seabee support to shipboard missile systems testing.

Port Hueneme (pronounced "Why-nee-mee") is located on the vast Oxnard plain, northwest of Los Angeles. The coastal area of Ventura County boasts some of the finest weather available anywhere. The base itself covers more than 1,600 acres and has more than 29 miles of roads and streets and 10 miles of railroad track. Port Hueneme offers the Navy's only deep-water port between San Diego and Washington. Continuing its mission today, Port Hueneme provides a homeport that furnishes training, administrative, and logistic support for Seabees serving in many ports around the world.

NAVSEA Port Hueneme Surface Warfare Center Division is part of the largest Navy Systems Command which is comprised of nearly 50,000 professional men and women. NAVSEA Port Hueneme prides itself on the unique capabilities it possesses to provide Support to the Navy‘s fleet. NSWC PHD provides test and evaluation, in-service engineering and integrated logistics support services for surface and mine warfare combat and weapons systems for the surface Fleet. Weapons systems include Point Defense, NATO Seasparrow, Harpoon, Tomahawk and Aegis.

An integral part of the NSWC PHD capabilities is the Surface Warfare Engineering Facility (SWEF). Housed in a five story, 50,000-square foot building, the SWEF provides system engineering, development and integration of U.S. Navy shipboard offensive and defensive weapons systems. The SWEF hosts a variety of fully operational systems, including sensors and launchers. The site affords clear paths for the installed radars to the open ocean and allows line-of-sight flight paths to the building. The SWEF is capable of simulating shipboard problems for investigating engineering solutions, ship system operational problems, new developmental programs including hardware and software upgrades and training for ship systems personnel on special events. The SWEF was designed to provide the Navy with the capability to safely conduct a multitude of full engagement simulations for the purposes of tactics development, operational evaluation, fault analysis, and training without the burdensome cost of actually taking the systems to sea or using currently installed systems on board ships.

The Surface Warfare Engineering Facility is a land-based test site and laboratory facility that allows test and evaluation of systems designed for use by the fleet. The SWEF ocean front environment makes it possible to simulate shipboard operational problems and evaluate performance without the expense of using ships at sea or the personnel to support these operations. There are three primary types of systems and equipment installed at the SWEF complex: combat systems, fire control radar systems, and missile launching systems. On a day-to-day basis, SWEF personnel investigate, verify, and resolve fleet reported problems related to these systems. They also test equipment prior to its use in the fleet, ensuring combat readiness. In addition, they use equipment in the SWEF to train personnel to operate and maintain these systems, and they develop engineering changes to improve system reliability, maintainability, safety, and effectiveness.

The Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) is a unique Navy asset located at PHD NSWC. The SDTS is a refurbished, remote-controlled ship. The ship supports self-defense engineering, test, and evaluation, without the safety constraints and in-port problems that are associated with manned ships.

Since 1963, Port Hueneme has provided Underway Replenishment (UNREP) engineering services to the Navy surface fleet. UNREP enables aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and amphibious ships to remain underway at sea indefinitely in support of our national interests. It involves the transfer of all consumables from supply ships to the customer ships while both are underway. Items such as fuel, food, ammunition, repair or replacement parts, and personnel are routinely transferred at sea. Port Hueneme has the only fully equipped and operational UNREP test site. This test site contains modern constant tensioned fueling and cargo systems with Navy standard equipment that represents the latest configurations for both the delivery and receiving parts of the system. The test site has many uses.

As a test site, it is used to fully test new systems, equipment, and configurations. Any new UNREP development can be thoroughly tested under the controlled conditions, safety, and economy of this dedicated land-based facility. After a new development has been proven at the test site, it can be installed on a ship for at-sea testing with a high level of confidence that it will perform as designed. As a training site, it is used extensively to train both Navy and civilian crews. Because the Navy standard equipment installed at the test site represents the latest design and highest population of UNREP equipment in the fleet, the training provided in equipment operation and maintenance, as well as system operation, is the most effective land-based UNREP training available. As a demonstration site, it is used to demonstrate UNREP procedures, systems, equipment and new developments to sponsors, fleet representatives, VIPs, foreign military representatives, and public and private tour groups. As a fleet technical assistance site, it is used to simulate or duplicate UNREP problems reported by the fleet and to develop special repair procedures. As an overhaul site, it is used to overhaul and test items turned in by the fleet and return them in operational condition.

Originally constructed as a temporary depot in the early days of World War II, the Naval Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, California, is a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Shield/Storm. In the early days of World War II, CBC was established to train, stage and supply the newly created Naval Construction Force "Seabees". Since then, the Seabees and the Center have made history together. Officially established May 18, 1942, during World War II, the center was responsible for the staging and shipping of 20 million measurement tons of supplies and equipment and more than 200 thousand men needed in support of the war effort. More construction supplies and equipment were shipped from Port Hueneme than from any other port in the United States.

When the Korean War came in 1950, Port Hueneme was ready to serve the Navy again. Almost all of the Navy's construction equipment and supplies used in that war were routed through Port Hueneme. CBC supported all construction in Southeast Asia and the Pacific during the lull following the Korean War, at the same time keeping itself and its battalions in a state of readiness. Waterfront facilities were updated. Replacement of deteriorated wooden piers with concrete and many other improvements were made throughout the base to keep it ready for any emergency.

The emergency was not long in coming. In 1962 the United States became actively engaged in the conflict in Vietnam. At the height of the conflict, CBC shipping tonnages soared to levels unmatched since World War II. Following the Vietnam conflict, the center again shifted to peacetime support of the Seabees.

When the Army of Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, CBC was ready to support the Navy once more. More than 1,800 port Hueneme Seabees built camps and countless miles of roads in the Saudi Arabian desert. Again, the port provided integral support, shipping, supplies and equipment needed to support not only the Seabees, but the Army, Air Force and Marines as well.

More recently, Seabees played an integral role in disaster recovery and humanitarian efforts both at home in the United States and overseas. Using that special kind of Seabee "know-how," the 'Bees have been directly involved with projects that have benefited millions of people. From the barren terrain of Somalia where they participated in Operation Restore Hope, to the refugee camps in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where "Operation Sea Signal" took them. Closer to home, the Seabees supported disaster recovery efforts for victims of the Malibu firestorms and Northridge earthquake.

The City of Port Hueneme is located on the south central coast of California, 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 50 miles south of Santa Barbara. Neighboring communities include Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo. Offering beach-style living, Port Hueneme features long sandy beaches and lush agricultural fields. Crimes per capita are among the lowest in the county.

This area is commonly referred to as "The Gold Coast." The coastal area of Ventura County boasts some of the finest weather available anywhere. It is within easy access of the metropolises giant of Los Angeles with all its sights and sounds, and about 45 miles south of beautiful Santa Barbara. Neighboring communities include Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Camarillo, and Ventura. Major highways near the Center include U.S. Highway 101 and the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway 1.

The Port of Hueneme is the only deep water harbor between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area and is the U.S. Port of Entry for California's Central Coast region. It serves international businesses and ocean carriers from both the Pacific Rim and Europe. The Port of Hueneme ranks among the top seaports in California for general cargo throughput. The niche markets that Hueneme serves include: the import and export of automobiles, heavy agricultural equipment and industrial vehicles, fresh fruit, fresh produce, forest products, and project cargo. The Port of Hueneme is the top seaport in the United States for citrus export and ranks among the top ten ports in the country for automobile and banana imports. Its unique positioning near the Santa Barbara Channel has also made the Port of Hueneme the primary support facility for the offshore oil industry in California's Central Coast area.

A deep submarine canyon, Hueneme Canyon, which approaches within a few hundred feet of the harbor entrance, provides good navigation and minimal wave and swell action. The harbor is provided additional protection from severe storms by the nearby Channel Islands.

The idea for building a Port was the direct result of a coastal exploration by Thomas Bard in 1867. Bard had learned of a strong offshore underground aquifer flow of fresh water creating a deep water trough called Hueneme Canyon. Growing frustrations experienced by Ventura County's early agricultural industry in getting its expanding grain surpluses to broader markets only tended to confirm Bard's vision of a port to serve as an entrepot for the area's vast agricultural potential. Taking advantage of Hueneme Canyon, a 1500-foot (Bard's) wharf was constructed in 1872 to lighter goods between the coast and ships off shore.

On 24 January 1939 the Standard Dredging Company began operations in the channel, although the official ground breaking ceremonies weren't held until February 4th, with Oxnard attorney Mark Durley serving a master of ceremonies. Appropriately enough, Richard Bard who was destined to be known as the 'Father of Port Hueneme," was asked to turn the first shovel. The harbor was officially completed by July 4, 1940.


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