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Naval Base Kitsap
Bremerton WA
4733'00"N 12238'30"W

In June 2004, SUBASE Bangor merged with Naval Station Bremerton. The new command was named Naval Base Kitsap.

NBK-Bangor's military history began in 1942 when it became the site for shipping ammunition to the Pacific theater during World War II. After the Navy purchased 7,676 acres near the town of Bangor for approximately $18.7 million, the U.S. Naval Magazine was established June 5, 1944 and began operations in January 1945.

From World War II, and through the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, until January 1973, Bangor continued its role as a U.S. Ammunition Depot responsible for shipping conventional weapons abroad.

The Navy announced the selection of Bangor as homeport for the first squadron of TRIDENT submarines in 1973. An Environmental Impact Statement was published in July 1974 and construction began in October 1974. On 1 February 1977, Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) was officially activated. In May 1987, SUBASE Bangor was awarded the Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award, otherwise known as the "Best Base in the Navy" award. In June 1989, the Secretary of the Navy presented SUBASE Bangor the Environmental Quality Award for "effectively melding the operational requirements of the Navy with the national objectives of protecting and improving the environment.

Pre-History

Hood Canal and the surrounding Puget Sound Basin was formed and modified by repeated glacial events. The most recent glacier, containing ice 3,000 to 5,000 feet thick, melted away to the north about 13,000 years ago. Close on the heels of the retreating glacier, early man occupied the newly emerged land. Excavations near Sequim, about 30 miles northwest of Bangor, show early man hunting and cooking bison and mastodon in the grassy tundra type setting. As the climate became temperate and forests, streams, and wildlife stabilized, native man occupied shorelines of bays, lakes and streams.

Native Indians lived in permanent communities near river mouths on the west side of Hood Canal, and established seasonal hunting and fishing camps along the shoreline of what is now Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor (NBK-Bangor). Use of the area was made by native groups now known as the Skokomish, Sklalam, and Suqamish tribes.

European contact with natives began with the visit of Captain George Vancouver in 1792. Vancouver charted Hood Canal, naming it in honor of Lord Hood of the English Admiralty. Mount Rainier and Mount Baker are other present landmarks named for Vancouver's bosses. The Hudson's Bay Company established their trading post at Nisqually, 50 miles south of Bangor, and a census taken of the native population on Hood Canal was 500 in 1844. Relations with the natives were generally good, however, apparent poor treatment of individual natives led to the death of two Hudson's Bay men along the present NBK-Bangor waterfront in 1828.

American interest in this area was focused by exploration and charting by the Wilkes Expedition in 1841. Charles Wilkes named the Toandos Peninsula, across the Canal from Bangor after a local native group then occupying the Dabob Bay area. Puget Mill Company established a sawmill at Port Gamble, 10 miles north of Bangor, in 1853 that operated at that site until 1995. Washington Mill Company built a sawmill at Seabeck, 10 miles south of Bangor in 1857, which operated until 1886. Lumber cut from local trees was shipped to San Francisco to support the gold rush building boom. An altercation at Port Gamble with raiding Indians from Canada resulted in the first combat fatality of a United States Navy man on the Pacific in 1856.

Euro/American settlers moved into land cleared by logging operations. King Spit, the point just south of Bangor's south waterfront boundary, is named for George King, who received his land patent from President U.S. Grant in 1875. Early settlers tried farming, but found the glacial soils uncooperative. The raising of chickens seems to have been successful, but most residents supplemented their livelihood with outside logging, fishing, or after 1891, at the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. The Bangor townsite was slated in 1890, and named for the founder's home town in Maine. The store was built in 1891, and the first school district was formed in 1892.



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