Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach
(Naval Ammunition and Net Depot,
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 areas proximity to the navy
fleet concentrations in Long Beach and San Diego.
Since World War Two the base has evolved
into the Navys 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 facilitys 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
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.