Mayport Naval Station
Naval Station Mayport is home to 55 tenant commands and private organizations. Some two dozen ships are presently berthed in the Mayport basin, including AEGIS guided-missile cruisers, destroyers and guided-missile frigates. The aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy has recently shifted its home port to Mayport; an additional four ships are expected in 1999. The Naval Station is unique in that it is home to a busy seaport as well as an air facility which conducts more than 135,000 flight operations each year. Naval Station Mayport consolidated operations with Naval Air Station Mayport in 1992 and became Naval Station Mayport. More than 14,000 active-duty personnel, 45,000 family members and retirees and 1,400 civilian employees comprise the Mayport family. The Navy at Mayport covers 3,409 acres and is the third largest naval facility in the continental United States.
The US Naval Air Station Jacksonville has evolved from a relatively small training base into the hub of the Navy's third largest complex, right behind San Diego and Norfolk. The air station's two aviation wings - Patrol WING ELEVEN and Helicopter Antisubmarine WING ATLANTIC, which relocated to NASJAX in 1973 - fly the P-3 Orion long-range maritime surveillance aircraft and the SH-3 Sea King and SH-60 helicopters. NASJAX occupies 3896 acres on the St. Johns River and is home to 14,532 personnel and 68 tenant commands.
Mayport was commissioned in December 1942, and was approximately one quarter the size of the station today. The basin, dredged to 29 feet, was used by patrol craft, rescue boats, and jeep carriers. Reclassified as a Naval Sea Frontier Base in 1943, Mayport added a landing field and a fueling facility for submarines. Decommissioned at the end of the war, Mayport reactivated in 1948, and by 1955 added a master jet runway. As a naval station, Mayport served as an advance staging area during the Cuban missile crisis. Station ships have been involved in operations off the coasts of Lebanon, and Granada, and in the Persian Gulf. Helicopters at Naval Air Facility, established in 1982, joined the fleet at Mayport Naval Station in 1992.
As chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, Representative Charles E. Bennett worked to turn Mayport Naval Station [a surplus military facility when Bennett was elected to Congress in 1948] into an aircraft carrier homeport and the second largest such port on the East Coast. In addition, he successfully secured three naval air stations in Jacksonville.
In 1990 the Congress directed the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a plan for upgrading Mayport to provide that naval station with the capability to be able to service nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and otherwise to serve as a homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. This was consistent with the Navy's plan to retire conventionally fueled aircraft carriers and to deploy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, under which the Navy had a requirement for a second East Coast homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (in addition to the existing homeport of Norfolk, Virginia). In 1992 the Secretary of the Navy was directed to submit to the congressional defense committees a report on the Navy's plan for developing a second East Coast homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The report was to include a schedule, by fiscal year, for funding the development of a second homeport for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers on the East Coast of the United States.
The station's harbor can accommodate up to 34 fleet units, including two aircraft carriers. More than 23 ships call Mayport home, including Ticonderoga-class cruisers, Arleigh Burke and Spruance-class destroyers and Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates. In February 1992, the USS Forrestal changed her homeport from Mayport FL, to nearby Pensacola to become the US Navy's training carrier for naval aviators and support personnel. And on 24 June 1994, the Navy's oldest active duty aircraft carrier, USS. Saratoga, completed her final voyage, returning to Mayport from a 6-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. Presently, the USS JOHN F KENNEDY (CV 67) is homeported in Mayport.
In January 2004 The Navy decided to relocate U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO) from Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, to Naval Station Mayport, FL. Since the Navy must close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads by March 31, 2004, relocation of USNAVSO is a high priority.
Naval Station Mayport is located near the Port of Jacksonville on the St. Johns River in northeast Florida. The river is the approach to Jacksonville. Most of the station is less than 10 ft above mean sea level (MSL). The airfield runway is 14 ft above MSL. There is no sheltering topography in the area, with little elevation north or south along the coast above 20 ft MSL.
The Mayport Basin is located on the south side of the St. Johns River just inside the entrance jetties and westward of St. Johns Point. Berths consist of the two primary carrier piers (C1 and C2), another carrier berth at dolphins (C3), and several other piers for smaller naval vessels. Berths B2 and B3 have also been used as a carrier pier. Depths at all piers except Al are silted to about 38 ft at mean low water (MLW) and are expected to be dredged to 45 ft in 1982. Pier heights are 11 ft at delta piers and 12 ft above MLW at Bravo and Charlie piers while normal high tide is 5 ft above MLW.
The Navy Duel Depot is located about 16 miles upriver, just upstream from Drummond Creek. It has a face of about 400 ft with overall length 920 ft dolphin-to-dolphin, a deck height of 11.7 ft above MLW and a design depth of 38 ft at MLW alongside.
Navy ships are assigned repair availabilities under the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair (SUPSHIPJAX) by force and type commanders. These repairs may take place at diverse locations dependent on ship size and degree of repair. Locations include:
- Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc. (JSI) commercial yard - in the lower harbor about 22 miles upriver.
- JSI Bellinger Shipyard Division - off the St. Johns River south along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
- Atlantic Marine, Inc. - on the Intracoastal Waterway at the north side of the main channel of the St. Johns River.
- Atlantic Dry Dock - on the Intracoastal Waterway north at St. George Island, next to Atlantic Marine, Inc.
- Various leased facilities at Naval Station Mayport.
Ready Reserve Force, or RRF, ships help to offset the shortage of militarily useful US -flagged ships. RRF ships are maintained in four-, five-, 10- or 20-day readiness status by the US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration. When activated, these ships are under the operational control of Military Sealift Command. Ships with four- or five-day readiness status are berthed at ports throughout the United States allowing them to remain close to potential military load-out sites.
The Blount Island Terminal is located about nine miles upriver from the entrance jetty, on the north side of the main channel. The facility is owned and operated by Jacksonville Port Authority (JPA). In 1981 the terminal had 3550 ft of usable berthing space, with a deck height of 9 ft above MLW and a depth alongside of 38 ft at MLW. The Celotex Corporation pier is located at Dames Point just upriver from Blount Island. Privately owned, the terminal has 635 ft of berthing, a deck height of 10 ft above MLW and depth alongside of 32 ft at MLW. The Gulf Oil Pier is located at Drummond Point. It is a private terminal that has a berth of 200 ft with dolphins, a depth of 38 ft at MLW and a pier height of 12 ft above MLW. The Jacksonville Bulk Terminal is located about 18 miles from the mouth of the St. Johns River. It features a 1000 ft berth, with 36 ft at MLW alongside and a deck height of 10 ft above MLW. The Talleyrand Terminal is located approximately 1.8 miles below the John E. Mathews Bridge. The terminal consists of over 2800 ft of marginal wharf with a depth alongside of 38 ft at MLW and a deck height of 8 ft above MLW.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Naval Station Pascagoula, MS. Its ships along with dedicated personnel, equipment, and support would be relocated to Naval Station Mayport, FL.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation would reduce excess berthing capacity while allowing for consolidation of surface ships in a fleet concentration area. Sufficient capacity and fleet dispersal would be maintained with East Coast surface fleet homeports of Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Station Mayport. Environmentally, Naval Station Mayport was in Maintenance for Ozone (1-Hour), but an Air Conformity Determination would not be required.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|