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Naval Weapons Station (NAVWPNSTA)
Yorktown, Virginia

Over the years, the growth and expansion of the Navy's technical requirements and responsibilities have been reflected by corresponding developments at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown to support the Atlantic Fleet. The site of the weapons station was acquired for the Navy by a presidential proclamation on August 7, 1918, and was at the time the largest naval installation in the world, its land area covering about twenty square miles. During World War II, it developed mines, depth charges, and new ordnance devices. After World War II, activities at the Navy Mine Depot were reduced. In 1953, Skiffes Creek Annex was commissioned with Guided Missile Service Unit No. 211. In 1958, the base was redesignated as a Naval Weapons Station. In the 1970s additional support facilities were constructed to support missile rework.

Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Virginia accommodated 120 W-80-0 nuclear munitions for Tomahawk SLCM's and 160 nuclear aerial bombs for deck-based naval aviation. These weapons were reportedly moved to Kings Bay in the late 1990s. Currently Yorktown does not accomodate nuclear weapons.

Yorktown Naval Weapons Station is about 3 miles from Yorktown, 35 miles from Norfolk, VA. Naval Weapons Station Yorktown hosts 25 tenant commands which include the Atlantic Ordnance Command, the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity, the Marine Corps Second Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, Fleet Industrial Supply Center Detachment, Fleet Hospital Support Office, Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group and 19 Storefronts. The station and tenant commands work together as a team to provide ordnance logistics, technical, supply and related services to the Atlantic Fleet. Today the station is a hub of activity. As one of the Navy's "explosive corridors" to the sea, supply, amphibious and combatant ships may be seen arriving and departing the station's two piers.

As part of the Navy's Mid-Atlantic installation claimant consolidation, Cheatham Annex, formerly an annex of the Fleet Industrial Supply Center, Norfolk, was incorporated with the station on October 1, 1998. This area of land located in the Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown historical triangle was acquired by the Navy on June 21, 1943.

The Coast Guard Reserve Training Center Yorktown is located on a small peninsula near the mouth of the York River. The U. S. Coast Guard Reserve Training Center occupies 154 acres of land on a small peninsula formed by the juncture of the York River and Wormley Creek. Thousands of members of the Coast Guard family - regulars, reservists, and auxiliarists - come to Yorktown each year to receive quality instruction in a number of entry level or advance training programs. In addition, the Reserve Training Center hosts trainees from other armed services, a variety of State and Federal agencies, and allied foreign nations.

The number of schools located at the Reserve Training Center has grown from the original Officer Candidate and Marine Safety Schools. Today, the Training Division consist of four branches: Operations Training, Engineering and Weapons, Marine Safety, and Navigation and Waterways safety. The Operations Training Branch includes Quartermaster and Radarman Schools, as well as Maritime Law Enforcement School and Recruiter School. The Engineering and Weapons Branch is made up of the Machiner Technician, Electrician's Mate, Damage Control, Gunner's Mate, and Fire Control Technician Schools. The Marine Safety Branch includes Marine Inspection and Investigation, Port Safety and Security, Coastal Defense Planning, Marine Environmental Response, and Marine Science Technician Schools. The navigation and Waterways Safety Branch includes National Aids to Navigation and national Search and Rescue Schools, as well as the UTB Systems Center. The Reserve Training Center is also responsible for producing and maintaining correspondence courses and examinations for more than 60 nonresident courses.

The land of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown (NAVWPNSTA Yorktown) is rich in colonial history. The station sits amidst a setting of natural beauty surrounded by the distant echo of the first settlers in Virginia and the battle cries of the Revolutionary War. Long before the world ever conceived of such things as the testing and evaluation that now go on at the weapons station, the infantry of the American Revolution and the Civil War slogged along the Old Williamsburg Road where today it runs through the station. The oldest structure onboard the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station is the Lee House, built around 1649, where many generations of the family lived out their lives before the property was acquired by the U.S. government.

Although the exact size and population of Yorke village is not known, history clearly indicates that during a major portion of the 1600's it served as the social, municipal, and religious center for this portion of the York River area. The only remaining feature from either of the two churches from Yorke Village is the gravestone of Major William Gooch, who died in October 1655. The Gooch grave is one of the oldest legible tombstones in the New World. The decline and eventual abandonment of Yorke village coincided with the upriver development of Yorktown as a superior deepwater port in the late 1690's.

Yorktown's moment in history began September 28, 1781, when a group of Colonial and French soldiers set out from Williamsburg to lay siege to the British Army that had fortified the seaport hamlet. Twenty-one days later, Washington had defeated Cornwallis and his British regiments.

During the Civil War, this area became the site of fortifications established by the Army of the Potomac. These fortifications served as part of the seige line established around Yorktown. Once the Union Army was in control of the Peninsula, these trenches became defensive protection in the event of a Confederate attach up the York River.

In 1917, at the request of Congress, a search was conducted to locate an Atlantic Coast site for a weapons handling and storage facility. The basic criteria were: (1) a sheltered inland waterway deep enough to accommodate capital ships, (2) a sparsely populated area sufficient in size to provide quantity­distance separation for explosive material processing and storage facilities, and (3) close to the naval base at Norfolk to permit short boat trips for explosive loadings in the Hampton Roads area.

A site was selected on the south bank of the York River about four miles upstream from Yorktown. The site was commissioned the US Mine Depot, Yorktown on 1 July 1918 to support the laying of mines in the North Sea during World War I. For twenty years following World War I, the depot received, reclaimed, stored, and issued mines, depth charges and related materials.

During the Navy's World War II expansion, the trinitrotoluene (TNT) reclaiming and loading program, which had been established in 1927, was expanded. Torpedo overhaul facilities were also added. A research and development laboratory for experimenting with high explosives was established. Special tasks associated with the design and development of mines, depth charges, advanced underwater ordnance weapons, and other sophisticated ordnance devices were also assigned to the activity. A quality evaluation laboratory was installed to monitor these tasks and mine testing began.

The US Mine Depot was redesignated the US Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown on 7 August 1958, the first of four installations nationwide to be renamed. Since then, WPNSTA Yorktown has kept pace with the introduction of modern and sophisticated weapons into the Navy's inventory; yet, the station continues to support the Fleet with older models of mines, torpedoes, depth charges, rockets, and bombs. Also, the station has continued to expand and realign to become a more effective and efficient operation. On 1 January 1970, the Naval Ammunition Depot, St Juliens Creek in Portsmouth, Virginia, was redesignated an annex of Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown. On 1 April 1970, Skiffes Creek Annex, located near the York River, was disestablished and was designated as the Special Weapons Department of the station. The Explosive Engineering and Research Department was redesignated the Naval Explosive Development Engineering Department. The Special Weapons, Missile Component Rework and Production Department functions were combined into Yorktown's Ordnance Department in 1972. On 1 January 1993, the Air Weapons and Systems Support Department was established by consolidating the functions of the Ordnance Department's former Weapons Maintenance Division, and the Systems Engineering Department's former Air Missiles and Weapons Engineering Division, and the Measurement Sciences and Engineering Division.

The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, Defense Fuel Supply Point, located in Yorktown, Virginia served as a bulk storage and fueling operation between 1918 and 1980. Historical losses over the years resulted in an estimated 3 million gallons of Navy Special Fuel Oil (NSFO) released into the subsurface, covering approximately 13 acres. Construction techniques such as horizontal directional drilling and "one-pass" trenching are highlighted as well as treatment technologies using precipitation, dissolved air floatation, organic clay, filtration, and activated carbon. Recovery rates, system performance data, and cost information for the Yorktown project illustrate the benefits of this innovative thermal approach.

This Naval Fuel Farm located in Southeast Virginia was activated in 1918 with the construction of eight reinforced concrete tanks, each with a holding capacity of 90,000-barrels (3,780,00 gallons). The site comprises 110 acres of generally flat, open field terrain at an elevation of 25 to 50 ft above sea level. The NSFO Tanks were used until 1980 when groundwater was discovered in the tanks and NSFO was found seeping from a lowlying area to the east of the NSFO tank area. Losses over the years resulted in an estimated 3 million gallons of NSFO released into the subsurface, covering approximately 13 acres.

Over a span of more than 75 years, new missions were assigned and new facilities were built, all within the original tract of approximately 10,624 acres. York County encompasses 108.5 Square Miles or 69,440 Acres. The Naval Weapons Station Complex (including Cheatham Annex) covers 20.7 Square Miles, roughly 1/5 of the total land area of York County.

The station provides quality and responsive logistic, technical, and materiel support to the Fleet in the areas of combat subsystems, equipment, components, and retail ammunition management, maintain and operate an explosive outloading facility and provide homeporting services as assigned by the NAVSEA Commander.

The NAVWPNSTA Yorktown is located on the Virginia Peninsula in the central portion of York County near historic Yorktown. It is situated approximately 60 miles from Richmond, the capital of Virginia; 180 miles south of Washington, DC; and 30 miles north of the Norfolk Naval Base Complex.

The station occupies a total of 10,624 acres. As of 26 September 1994, the plant value was $764.6M. Buildings include 502 permanent (2,867,778 SF), 99 semi­permanent (687,602 SF), and 42 temporary (138,700 SF). The estimated replacement value of plant equipment was $182.5M.

As of 1 September 1994, the total civilian work force was 1,228. The projected yearly payroll for FY94 was $55.M. The total civilian work force comes from the surrounding counties as follows: Gloucester/Mathews, 28 percent; York, 18 percent; James City/Williamsburg, 11 percent; Newport News/Hampton, 33 percent; and a total of 10 percent from other nearby counties. The station work force includes approximately 9 percent professional, 41 percent wage grade, 20 percent technical, and 15 percent administrative, 10 percent clerical, and 5 percent other (police and firefighters).

As of 1997 WPNSTA Yorktown employed approximately 550 civilians and 290 military personnel. The Station hosts 19 tenant commands which employ 336 civilians and 438 military workers. In addition to civilian and military personnel, the population also includes residents of the 458 housing units.

The station is serviced by three major highways (I­64, US 17, and US 60), one railroad, two major commercial air terminals, two military air terminals, two civilian port facilities, one military port facility, one pier facility at the weapon station and two explosive anchorages.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, VA, by relocating the Space Warfare Systems Center Charleston, SC, detachment Yorktown, VA, to Naval Station Norfolk, VA, and consolidating it into the new Space Warfare Systems Command Atlantic detachment, Naval Station Norfolk, VA.These recommended realignments and consolidations would provide for multifunctional and multidisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Maritime C4ISR. This recommendation would also reduce the number of technical facilities engaged in Maritime Sensors, Electronic Warfare, & Electronics and Information Systems RDAT&E from twelve to five. This, in turn, would reduce overlapping infrastructure increase the efficiency of operations and support an integrated approach to RDAT&E for maritime C4ISR. Another result would also be reduced cycle time for fielding systems to the warfighter.

DoD recommended to realign Naval Surface Warfare Center, Yorktown, VA, by relocating all Weapons and Armaments Research, Development & Acquisition, and Test & Evaluation to Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head, MD. All actions would relocate technical facilities with lower overall quantitative Military Value (across Research, Development & Acquisition and Test & Evaluation) into the Integrated RDAT&E center and other receiver sites with greater quantitative Military Value. Consolidating the Navy's air-to-air, air-to-ground, and surface launched missile RD&A, and T&E activities at China Lake, CA, would create an efficient integrated RDAT&E center. China Lake would be able to accommodate with minor modification/addition both mission and lifecycle/ sustainment functions to create synergies between these traditionally independent communities. This recommendation would enable technical synergy, and position the Department of Defense to exploit center-of-mass scientific, technical and acquisition expertise with weapons and armament Research, Development & Acquisition that resided at 10 locations into the one Integrated RDAT&E site, one specialty site, and an energetics site. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 142 jobs (61 direct jobs and 81 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC, Metropolitan Statistical Area (less than 0.1 percent).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:58:20 ZULU