Long Beach Naval Shipyard (NSY)
Long Beach, California
The Long Beach NSY, which closed in FY97, was located at Terminal Island between the cities of Long Beach and San Pedro and approximately 23 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport. The Shipyard closing came on top of an estimated 17,000 jobs lost in 1991 due to the reassignment of 38 ships based in Long Beach to other west coast home ports.
The property was first leased to the Federal government in 1935, but most construction occurred during World War II. The shipyard was closed in 1950, then reactivated in 1951 for the Korean War. By 1952, an attack carrier and destroyer escorts had transferred there. The shipyard also hosted minesweepers and MSTS* ships. Supply and fuel depots at the site were reactivated in 1955. Additional ships were ported at the shipyard, and other ships were refurbished for transport overseas. In 1974, base realignment downgraded the shipyard to a naval support activity, and dozens of ships were transferred elsewhere. However, the base was again upgraded to a Naval Station in 1979. During the 1980s two battleships were refurbished at the shipyard.
The Long Beach NSY industrial area encompasses 119 acres of the total 214 owned. There are 120 permanent, 39 semi-permanent, and 6 temporary buildings, for a total of 165 buildings. There are 17 different shop work areas and 2.4M SF of covered building space. The shipyard had three graving docks, and five industrial piers. There are 12,307 linear feet of total ship berthing space. Crane capacity ranged from 25 tons to 67 tons (portal) and from 25 tons to 112 tons (floating).
The Long Beach NSY was equipped with facilities and skills to perform all non-nuclear structural, sheetmetal, boiler, rigging, electronics, electrical, lagging, ordnance, sandblasting, welding, machining, woodworking, painting, pipe fitting, and other work pertaining to the overhaul and repair of surface ships. Dry dock No. 1 was designated the West Coast nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) emergency dry dock. The shipyard possessed complete design, engineering, and planning capabilities to support its industrial work.
To meet its mobilization mission assignment the shipyard was equipped with facilities and skills capable of performing all structural, sheetmetal, boiler, rigging, electronics, electrical, insulating, ordnance, sandblasting, welding, machining, woodworking, painting, pipe fitting, and other work incidental to the overhaul and repair of surface ships. The shipyard possessed complete design, engineering, combat systems, quality assurance, planning and public works capabilities to support its industrial work.
Through the years the shipyard accomplished several special projects in addition to its primary mission. These included support or scientific projects in conjunction with programs like POLARIS, POSEIDON, and SEALAB. Currently the shipyard operated electronic and weapons checkout and evaluation functions.
Long Beach Naval Shipyard had a modernization and military construction program to meet the critical need to improve waterfront capabilities and facilities and to provide sufficient flexibility to meet workload changes and technological advances required for fleet support.
The Facilities and Maintenance Department had two main shops. These shops support the Fleet Industrial Supply Center, San Diego, Long Beach Detachment; various local Department of Defense activities; Navy housing at Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, and San Pedro; and numerous tenant commands.
The shipyard enjoyed an excellent reputation among its fleet customers. Past and current performance in terms of producing timely, economical and quality work coupled with a zeal in responsiveness contribute to this reputation.
The shipyard developed an ongoing business strategy that resulted in the establishment of the Navy's largest organic depot with unique repairable rework centers for electronics systems. The shipyard broadened its marketing scope to encompass soliciting for such programs as: modifications, self-help habitability modifications, female habitability modifications to combatants, and increases in manufacturing lines, i.e., jet blast deflectors, butterfly valves, etc.
In 1994 Long Beach employed approximately 3,000 civilian employees, approximately 800 MWR and Navy Exchange personnel, and was considered a major industry in the local area. Shipyard payroll is estimated at approximately $142.2M annually, plus $8.4M in MWR and Navy Exchange salaries. The workforce size is comprised of 84.5 percent highly skilled production workers and engineers. The remaining 15.5 percent consisted of administrative and clerical positions.
Immediately before World War II it became apparent that a major anchorage and operation area was needed in the Long Beach-Los Angeles-San Pedro area. Public Law 667 (76th Congress) authorized the establishment of a fleet operating base there, as well as land acquisition, harbor breakwater, buildings, and other accessories. The Second Deficiency Bill of 1940 provided $19.8M, and Terminal Island naval dry docks was established. The location was ideal since it is within the doubly protected west basin of the Port of Long Beach and yet only minutes away from the open sea. In times past, the site has been an Indian burial ground, a shark oil center, a rum-runner's paradise, and a fashionable bathing beach. On 18 December 1940, a one dollar check was given to the city of Long Beach for the acquisition cost of surface rights. Early construction of the Moreell Dry Dock permitted ship work to begin on 7 April 1942. In 1945 an inner breakwater was constructed to protect ships against the surge of open sea waters.
During World War II, the naval dry docks provided routine and battle damage repairs to a parade of tankers, cargo ships, troop transports, destroyers, and cruisers. Peak employment of 16,091 civilian employees was reached in August 1945.
On 9 February 1943, the Secretary of the Navy established the facilities as the US Naval Dry Docks, Roosevelt Base, California. The name of this facility was changed to Terminal Island Naval Shipyard on 30 November 1945. The name became Long Beach Naval Shipyard (NSY) in March 1948.
The Long Beach NSY was placed in an inactive status on 1 June 1950. The Korean War began less than one month later. Reactivation of the shipyard was directed on 4 January 1951. Since then, the shipyard has provided fleet support in the Southern California area. The Long Beach NSY workload consists dominantly of overhaul and maintenance of non-nuclear surface ships of the US Navy.
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