Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Naval Base, Point Loma
Located in beautiful San Diego, California,
Naval Base Point Loma (NBPL) is one of the most diverse and challenging
Naval bases in the CNIC inventory. Consolidated under Commander
Navy Region Southwest, the six installations that make up NBPL
are the Naval Submarine Base; Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare
Command; Commander Third Fleet Headquarters complex; Space and
Naval Warfare Systems Command Headquarters; SPAWAR Systems Center
and Fleet Intelligence Training Command Pacific, forming a highly
technical hub of naval activity. The Naval Consolidated Brig,
located at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, is also under the
cognizance of NBPL. Embedded inside NBPL are Cabrillo National
Park and the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, which averages
more than 1.2 million visitors annually.
The modern history of Point Loma begins
in September 1542, when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (a Portuguese
navigator in the service of Spain) landed here and explored the
surrounding area for 6 days. Cabrillo raised the flag of Spain
and named the port San Miguel Bay.
Sebastian Vizcaino, a Spanish trader who
operated between Mexico and the Orient, visited the bay in November
1602. He renamed it San Diego in honor of San Diego de Alcala,
a Franciscan lay brother. His records establish the NBPL area
as the site of the first Roman Catholic mass to be celebrated
in what is now the State of California. A monument in front of
the present day Chapel at NBPL commemorates that mass.
The Spanish decided to build a fort in
the area because the peninsula guarded the only access to the
Bay. Completed in 1797, the fort was made of adobe and was armed
with a nine-pound cannon. The fort was named Fort Guijarros (Spanish
for "cobblestones") because the point was covered with
smooth stones. In later years, English-speaking sailors used
these stones as ballast for their sailing vessels - thus the
name "Ballast Point." Both Fort Guijarros and Ballast
Point are California historical landmarks.
In February 1852 President Fillmore set
aside the southern portion of Point Loma (about 1400 acres) for
military purposes. Subsequently, it was assigned to the U.S.
Army and named Fort Rosecrans, after General Rosecrans, an 1842
graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. In 1898 the Army built
a coast artillery installation on the site which remained active
In 1959 Fort Rosecrans was turned over
to the U.S. Navy. The Navy Submarine Support Facility was established
in November 1963 on 280 acres of the land. On November 27, 1974
the base was re-designated a shore command, serving assigned
submarines, Submarine Group Five, Submarine Squadron Three, Submarine
Development Group One, the Submarine Training Facility and later,
Submarine Squadron Eleven. On October 1, 1981 the base was designated
as Naval Submarine Base.
Starting in April 1995, several commands
were decommissioned or their homeports were changed to meet the
down-sizing requirements of the Navy. Commands throughout San
Diego were regionalized in an effort to provide equal or better
base services while managing a reduced budget. The six naval
installations on Point Loma were consolidated as Naval Base Point
Loma on 1 October, 1998.
Current major tenant commands include
Commander Third Fleet, Naval Mine and Anti Submarine Warfare
Command, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), SPAWAR
Systems Center, Fleet Intelligence Training Cetner Pacific, Tactical
Training Group Pacific, Submarine Squadron ELEVEN, Commander
Sealift Logistics Command Pacific, Submarine Training Center
Pacific Detachment, seven submarines, a floating dry dock (ARCO),
and the Navy's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Department (SARD).