Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach
(Naval Ammunition and Net Depot, Seal Beach)
Main Gate circa 1950s
Station History (2005)
Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, California and its Detachments - located in Concord, Fallbrook and San Diego, California - exist to provide weapons storage, loading, maintenance and support to ships and submarines of the United States Pacific Fleet. Our facilities also service Coast Guard vessels and Marine Corps units stationed afloat and ashore.
Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach was commissioned in 1944, at the height of World War Two, as a Naval Ammunition and Net Depot. The base at that time had two primary missions: Storage and loading of ammunition onto Pacific Fleet ships bound for the war, and servicing the anti-submarine nets used to protect fleet bases and anchorages around the world. The Depot was built next to the seaside community of Seal Beach, located on the northwest corner of Orange County, California. Seal Beach was considered an ideal site due to both a large amount of available open space for weapons storage, and the area’s proximity to the navy fleet concentrations in Long Beach and San Diego.
Since World War Two the base has evolved into the Navy’s primary West Coast ordnance storage, loading and maintenance installation. Cruisers, destroyers, frigates and medium-sized amphibious assault ships are loaded with missiles, torpedoes, countermeasures devices and conventional ammunition at the facility’s 1,000 foot-long wharf. In addition, larger ships can be accommodated at a protected explosives anchorage located in nearby Long Beach Harbor. Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach personnel also perform maintenance on some types of torpedoes and missiles. An average of 80 vessels are loaded or unloaded each year.
The station has an active Installation Restoration, or environmental cleanup, program. One-fifth of the station land area has been designated as a National Wildlife Refuge, and is home to many endangered and threatened species. The station is also home to the West Coast WWII Submarine Memorial.
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (1995)

A total of 4,889.12 acres were acquired during the period 1944 through 1946 by the Navy Department. This property was used for the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and consisted of 4,855.45 acres acquired by fee and 33.67 acres acquired as easements.

The Naval Ammunition and Net Depot, Seal Beach (the center's original name) was activated in 1942 at the start of World War II. The base has been continuously used as an ammunition and weapons storage and transfer area. Some of the U.S. Navy improvements to the site include fuel tanks, administrative buildings, ammunition storage bunkers, auto maintenance shops, evaporation ponds and storage trailers. The Station is still being used as an ammunition and weapons storage and transfer area.

The majority of the Naval Weapons Station is still under the active control of the u.S. Navy. A total of 338.13 acres of the site is no longer under the control of the Navy. This property includes 194.05 acres transferred through easements for roads and flood control channels, 75.09 acres transferred through an out permit, and 68.99 acres disposed of through quitclaim deeds. The out permit was granted to Hancock Oil Company on 19 August 1959. The area is now owned by BrietBurn. The site was originally used for oil production and is currently being used for natural gas production. This property will transfer back to the Navy at the time oil extraction operations cease (in approximately 20 to 30 years).
Quitclaim deeds included 63.29 acres to the County of Orange (for use as the Sunset Aquatic Park), 5.50 acres to the Lincoln Fidelity Company (for use as a nesting ground for the California Least Tern), and 0.20 acres to North American Rockwell (currently Rockwell International). Information regarding the exact location of the quitclaim parcels is unknown. The remaining 4,550.99 acres is under Navy jurisdiction.
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Updated 8 February 2016