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London, UK

In 1942 Admiral Harold F. Stark set up offices at 20 Grosvenor Square (7 North Audley Street), marking the beginning of the leadership of US Naval Forces, Europe what is now CINUSNAVEUR. 20 Grosvenor Square was the Headquarters for General Dwight D. Eisenhower and COMNAVEUR provided key intelligence reports for the invasion of North Africa. The flag for CINCUSNAVEUR and COMEASTLANT is in Naples Italy; the administrative headquarters for both commands is in London England.

Naval Activities United Kingdom (NAVACTUK) oversees facilities and services in England. Its mission is to exercise command over assigned activities; to discharge area coordination responsibilities over shore activities in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe; to coordinate the provision of logistic and administrative support for the US Naval activities and units in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe and other agencies as directed; and carry out responsibilities and act as the single Navy official to speak for the Commander in Chief, US Naval Forces, Europe/US Commander, Eastern Atlantic in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. Total population served is as of late 1998 was 3605, with 1140 active duty, 1729 family members, 361 civilian employees, and 384 retirees.

There is no "base" as you would normally find. The Navy offices in London are located in five major areas; at R.A.F. West Ruislip, the Eastcote D.O.E. Complex, Blenheim Crescent at West Ruislip, R.A.F. Daws Hill, and the Navy Headquarters Building in central London at 7 North Audley Street. The building was Eisenhower's HQ during WWII, and the Navy leases the building here from the Duke of Westminister for 100 pounds per year. The US pays the taxes. R.A.F. West Ruislip is about 12 miles North West of central London. The commute from the offices downtown to the the Eastcote or West Ruislip offices is about 1 hour by train (or the Tube as it is known locally) or 45 minutes by car, depending on the time of day. Most people work in Navy offices at either Blenheim Crescent or 7 North Audley. R.A.F. stands for Royal Air Force and some of the Navy locations are on R.A.F. bases, however, these are not air bases with planes, runways, etc., but small bases no longer used by the R.A.F.. Office Space is "loaned" to the US Government, and typically you will not find any British military personnel at these locations.

R.A.F. West Ruislip facilities include: Navy Exchange, Commissary, Family Service Center, MWR recreation facilities, Housing Office, Post Office, Chapel, DoDDS Elementary School, Community Bank, Child Development Center, Thrift Shop, Auto Shop, Subway Sandwich Shop, and the Center Stage all hands club and movie theater.

US Naval Activities, London was established in 1951 by the direction of the Chief of Naval Operations as a union of two shore commands; US Naval Activities in London, and US Naval Facility, London. The functions assigned these two commands had been previously performed by the Headquarters Command, Commander in Chief, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (CINCNELM). Personnel assigned upon this establishment were largely drawn from the CINCNELM staff.

In 1958, the US Naval Facility, London was designated as the US Naval Support Activity, London. As other Naval activities in the United Kingdom and Northwestern Europe were established, the command was designated by the Secretary of the Navy to its present title of US Naval Activities, United Kingdom (NAVACTUK). In August 1965, the US Naval Support Activities, London was disestablished and reassigned to COMNAVACTUK, consolidating the support activity and old facility into one command.

The Commander, US Naval Activities in London was double-hatted, also serving as Commanding Officer of the US Naval Facility, London. Except for the commanding officer who served in both commands, all officers, enlisted men, US civilians and UK employees were assigned to the US Naval Facility, London. Their functions included administrative, legal, medical, dental, supply, public works and Navy Exchange operations.

Commander, US Naval Activities, United Kingdom is an echelon three command subordinate to the Commander in Chief, US Naval Forces, Europe. As the regional area coordinator for the United Kingdom and Northern Europe, COMNAVACTUK also exercises command over Naval Air Facility, Mildenhall, Navy Exchange, United Kingdom, US Naval Medical Clinics, United Kingdom; and the Marine Corps Security Force Company, London.

As the "base commander" for the tenant activities in the greater London area, NAVACTUK's 12 officers, 60 enlisted and 289 civilian personnel directly support more 760 military personnel and over 1200 of their dependents in the greater London area; student officers at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Royal Forces Staff Colleges; and individuals assigned to the Personnel Exchange Program (PEP) in the United Kingdom. In this capacity, COMNAVACTUK operates three post offices, an official mail metering office, a Navy Exchange and commissary, clubs and recreation services, public works and supply departments, a chapel and all the services normally provided by a large Naval station. COMNAVACTUK's headquarters is located at 86 Blenheim Crescent, Ruislip in northwest London, with some Administrative, Supply and Public Works support operations located in or adjacent to the CINCUSNAVEUR Headquarters building in downtown London. The RAF West Ruislip complex hosts the chapel, commissary and exchange, a fitness center, Department of Defense elementary school, a Family Service Center and a Child Development Center. There are also 80 family housing units located at this complex. The RAF Hendon complex consists of 97 family housing units. The RAF Daws Hill complex consists of 70 housing units and hosts the London Central High School. Also located at RAF Daws Hill are supply and public works support. The Ministry of Defence facility at Eastcote support the Marine Corps Security Force Company, London and a number of other Navy and Department of Defense activities.

As Regional Area Coordinator the commander provides policy guidance and assistance on a wide range of matters including legal, uniforms, casualty affairs assistance, community relations, consolidated civilian personnel support to approximately 40 activities in the United Kingdom, ground defense coordination, and non-combatant evacuation planning and coordination. Additionally, COMNAVACTUK is assigned responsibilities under CINCUSNAVEUR to plan for logistical support required in the event of mobilization.

The Navy established its European Headquarters at 20 Grosvenor Square in 1949. The North Audley entrance was added to the building at that time. In 1960, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) was established. The Naval Communications Unit (NAVCOMMU), London was established in 1964 and was expanded to include three major outstations in England and Scotland by the early 1980s.

In 1991, with the ongoing worldwide integration of computers into communications systems, the Command was renamed the U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NAVCOMTELSTA), London. NAVCOMTELSTA London was an echelon 3 Command reporting directly to U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command (COMNAVCOMTELCOM), Washington, D.C.

More than 20,000 messages pass through London each day making London the largest volume Naval messaging hub in Europe. Communication problems during Desert Storm led to an increase of responsibility for NAVCOMTELSTA London. To alleviate backlogs, London assumed communications coverage for all stations ashore in the European theatre, including those along the Mediterranean Sea. Technical advancements and conversion to electronic message delivery enabled the Command to continue performing its mission with fewer stations and personnel. All three outstations were closed by late 1993, and the large mainframe computer at the London office was replaced by PC-based processors in the following year. These changes resulted in enormous cost savings to the Navy in maintenance and numbers of personnel needed to do the job.

On 1 January 1995, under a worldwide regionalization of communications assets, NAVCOMTELSTA London was realigned under the U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station (NCTAMS), Mediterranean, Naples, Italy. As a result of the downsizing of the Command, NAVCOMTELSTA London was disestablished in mid-1995, and U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Mediterranean, Detachment London (NCTAMS MED DET London UK) was established on 1 July 1995.

In the Summer '97, Command Regional Headquarters' (NCTAMS MED), area of responsibility enlarged to include U.S. Navy telecommunications facilities in Bahrain and in Diego Garcia. On 1 October 1997, the region's name changed from Mediterranean to Europe Central, reflecting the wider area responsibility. Therefore, NCTAMS MED became NCTAMS EURCENT and NCTAMS MED DET London became NCTAMS EURCENT DET London.

The detachment complement is 5 officers, 100 enlisted personnel, and 14 U.S. and British civilians. NCTAMS EURCENT DET London provides communications links between CINCUSNAVEUR and operating forces, and it supports commands and agencies in the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, and Germany.

London is the capital city of Great Britain. One of the world's most important financial and cultural centers, London is noted for its museums, performing arts, exchange and commodity markets, and insurance and banking functions, as well as a host of specialized services. In popular and traditional usage, the term City of London, or the City, is applied only to a small area (1 sq mi) that was the original settlement (ancient Londinium) and is now part of the business and financial district of the metropolis. The City of London and 32 surrounding boroughs form the Greater London metropolitan area, which covers 610 sq mi. The 13 inner boroughs are Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and the City of Westminster. The 19 outer boroughs are Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, and Waltham Forest.

The London Borough of Hillingdon is within the Greater London conurbation, and 13 miles west of the center of London. It is the third largest of the 32 London boroughs and has a population of 234,000 and covers 42 square miles. The Borough is a mixture of modern and ancient, with Heathrow Airport and the London orbital motorway, the M25, within its borders, but also quaint villages and historic churches.

Until about 100 years ago, outer London was a collection of small villages and agricultural land, but with the coming of the railways, people wanted to move out of the city and development began. The name Ruislip, derives from the words 'Rush leap' indicating that at one time the River Pinn, which runs through the area, was narrow enough to leap near rushes on the river bank.

Settlement at Ruislip was recorded in 1086, but evidence of Iron Age settlements (500 BC) have also been found nearby. During the 13th century, Benedictine monks oversaw their land holdings in southern England from Ruislip, until they were seized by King Edward II in 1337. Kings College in Cambridge also owned the village and land at Ruislip during the 15th century. Tithes (rents) contributed to many of the fine college buildings in Cambridge.

This area was heavily wooded, and the oak trees were particularly fine. At various times, orders came from London to supply wood for the building of such things as the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Westminster. Ruislip (and most of London) is built on a clay vale, and with the abundance of raw materials, the area became well known for the quality tiles and bricks it produced. A 13th century kiln was discovered recently in Ruislip.

Since 1914 there has been considerable military activity in the area, with one of the first Royal Air Force bases set up at RAF Northolt (about 1 mile north). The American Air Force occupied RAF West and South Ruislip during the Second World War, and as a consequence the area suffered considerable bombing raids.

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