Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Naval Base, San Diego
(Naval Destroyer Base, San Diego;
Naval Repair Base, San Diego; Naval Station, San Diego; Naval
Operating Base, San Diego)
at Naval Station San Diego circa 1950
US Army Corps
of Engineers History (2004)
From 1919 to 1953, the Navy acquired
through condemnation, purchase, donation, and exchange a total
of 907.035 acres (not including 110.32 acres addressed in the
history of the Concrete
Ship Constructors Shipyard) for this location. Included in
the property acquisitions were 0.066, 4.15, 0.069, 0.86, and
0.93 acre parcels all located in the southeast portion of the
Base, along the Base boundary.
The Navy built and established the Destroyer Base in 1922 for
the purpose of maintaining the Fleet Destroyer Force, both active
and decommissioned. In 1943, the base was redesignated
the U.S. Naval Repair Base. During WWII, the Base performed conversion,
overhaul, maintenance and battle damage repair on various size
ships. The Base was later redesignated
U.S. Naval Station San Diego.
Since 1922, countless military improvements
have been constructed including 13 piers, one graving dock, numerous
buildings, recreational facilities, and housing areas. A 0.066
acre parcel was occupied by a National City septic tank but no
other military improvements or activities are known to have taken
place. A 4.15 acre parcel was used by the army for unknown purposes
during World War II. This parcel was later used for naval housing.
Past naval activities taking place on
the 0.069, 0.93, and 0.86 acre parcels are unknown.
The Navy still retains most of the original acreage but a few
parcels have been disposed. In 1961, 3.24 acres of the 4.15 acre
parcel were quitclaimed to a private developer. Currently, the
property is occupied by a small strip mall and the National City
Transit Facility. The remaining 0.91 acres are now part of the
Interstate 5 right-of-way and owned by the State of California.
In 1960, the 0.93 acre parcel was quitclaimed to a partnership.
The property is now occupied by a small storage yard and machine
shop. In 1960, the 0.069 acre parcel was quitclaimed to an individual.
It is now part of the parking lot that is owned by a machining
and manufacturing company. The 0.86 acre parcel was donated to
the State of California (date unknown)
and is currently part of State Highway 1.
The title to the 0.066 acre parcel was
re-vested back in the name of National City in 1945. The property
is now under the Naval Exchange Service Center building, but
according to assessor records, still owned by National City.
No military improvements remain on any of these parcels.
San Diego (2005)
by Justin Ruhge
The Naval Station was located in the 1980s
on San Diego Bay between San Diego and National City. Its history
dates back to September 3, 1919 when the city deeded a total
of 98 acres of marshland and tide flats to the government for
the purpose of building a Docking and Fleet Repair Base. The
Navy acquired the land, buildings and some machinery from the
U.S. Shipping Board on February 15, 1921. A 2,500-ton Marine
Railway was completed in early 1922 and on February 23, 1922
the Secretary of the Navy officially established the U.S. Naval
Destroyer Base by General Order No. 78. On August 1, 1923, the
Destroyer base was placed under the Commandant, Eleventh Naval
In 1929 six more acres of waterfront property were added and
the main channel to the base was dredged to 17 feet. From 1935
to 1937 the base facilities were upgraded using Works Progress
Administration (WPA) funds. Fleet Schools were established in
1938 to train repairmen and maintenance personnel to send out
to the fleet. By 1943, the base was enlarged to over 900 acres
with the addition of extensive new facilities. The Navy again
changed the name - this time to Naval Repair Base, a component
of the Naval Base. After World War II the name was changed to
Naval Station in September 1946.
On January 1, 1965 the ship repair function
aboard the Naval Station ended.
Service Schools were created in 1954.
These were placed under the Service Schools Command at the Naval
Training Center, San Diego and in July 1967 the Naval Station
was placed under the Commander Service Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet.
In the late 1980s the Naval Station was
the major logistics support base for Naval forces in the Pacific.
There were fifty-three tenant activities aboard the station.
7,000 military and 5,200 civilians worked on the station. In
addition there were about 36,000 officers and men attached to
the some 100 ships that berthed at the piers. Further improvements
occurred to accommodate the new President Reagan 600 ship Navy.
Base San Diego (2005)
by Justin Ruhge
In January 1920 the Navy established a
Naval Operating Base in San Diego followed by the Eleventh Naval
District a year later on January 25. The first Commandant and
Base Commander, with a staff of seven officers, were headquartered
in the administration building at the Naval Air Station on North
Island. In May 1922, the headquarters was relocated to its present
location in the then just-completed Naval Supply Depot complex
at the foot of Broadway on Harbor Drive. With the outbreak of
World War II, the district played an important role in coordinating
the shipping of vast supplies to the war fronts in the Pacific
Theater. The number and complexity of support commands and activities
throughout the Eleventh Naval District grew accordingly to provide
the increased administrative and logistics support to the fleet.
One hundred and eighty-three functional groups operated under
the management and control of the San Diego Naval Operating Base
during World War II. After the lull following World War II, things
got busy again during the Korean and then Vietnam conflicts.
On January 1, 1978 the Navy closed down
the Twelfth Naval District and made the Eleventh Naval District
responsible for all the states of California, Arizona, Nevada,
Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. The district concept was changed
to just Commander Naval Base, San Diego on October 1. 1980. In
1980, this command included over 400 Navy and Marine Corps shore
commands with about 200,000 active duty personnel and about 100,000
retired persons in California alone. It also included over 60
% of all the real estate owned by the Navy.