Every branch of the service is represented in this corner of southeastern Virginia: Start with the world's largest naval base and the only East Coast home for the mighty aircraft carriers. Fighter jets from the Navy and the Air Force soar overhead. Coast Guard cutters patrol the waterways. Navy SEALs, soldiers and Marines deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans live here. Veterans' organizations hold reunions here. When the U.S. military decides to act, it is more than a news story. People in Hampton Roads feel it.
Area InstallationsFort Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Hampton. First operational on July 25, 1823, Fort Monroe is, for the moment, the headquarters for the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, known as TRADOC. It is also home to Northern Command's Joint Task Force Civil Support and the Casemate Museum. It is the only active Army post with a moat. The post is scheduled to close in 2011 as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendation. Its future use has yet to be determined. TRADOC headquarters will move to Fort Eustis in Newport News.
Langley Air Force Base, Hampton. In January 2010, Langley merged with Fort Eustis in Newport News creating Joint Base Langley-Eustis. While each installation maintains its distinct identity, the support for both locations has been combined under the new 633rd Air Base Wing. The main units on Langley AFB are Air Combat Command, 480th Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Wing, 1st Fighter Wing and 633d Air Base Wing. Langley's 1st Fighter Wing consists of F-15s flown by the 71st Fighter Squadron and F-22 Raptors flown by the 27th and 94th Fighter Squadrons. The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing moved from Richmond to Langley AFB on October 1, 2007 and began flying Raptors alongside active duty airmen.
Fort Eustis, Newport News. Established in 1918, Fort Eustis is named for Brevet Brig. Gen. Abraham Eustis, a Virginia native and veteran of the War of 1812. The base is headquarters for the Army Transportation Center and School, the 7th Sustainment Brigade, the 8th Transportation Brigade and the Army Transportation Museum. Soldiers stationed there continue to deploy to Iraq to unload supply ships at Kuwait ports and truck the goods into Iraq.
Naval Station Norfolk. The station is the largest naval base in the world. Roughly 70 ships are home-ported at the naval station. An airfield there, Chambers Field, is home to some 16 aircraft squadrons. There are roughly 54,000 active-duty sailors based at the station.
Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach. Once a swampy wasteland and now a master jet base, this installation was commissioned in 1943 and is now a complex with more than seven miles of runways. Oceana operates 18 F/A -18 Hornet squadrons. Its Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Units train maintenance technicians for the squadrons. The station is located on 5,916 acres, has 250 total aircraft and has buildings valued at $823 million in plant replacement value. It is the largest employer in Virginia Beach.
Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story: This joint Navy-Army base was established in October 2009, the first of its kind in Hampton Roads. It is comprised of the former Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek and the Army Post, Fort Story. Little Creek began as a training ground for World War II amphibious forces and today is home to squadrons of Navy SEALs. It has 18 ships home ported there, plus 35 Landing Crafts Air Cushion (LCACs) and 34 conventional waterborne landing craft units (LCUs) and other smaller boats.
Coast Guard Training Center, Yorktown. It is a training facility for the Coast Guard as well as some foreign troops
Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. The Navy stores, maintains and loads bombs, missiles and other ordnance for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet at this base. Don't ask if there are nuclear weapons. The only answer you'll get from a spokesman is, "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons on this base."
The station also manages the adjacent storage facility formerly known as Cheatham Annex in York County.
Army Sgt. Maj. Edward Ratcliff, a Medal of Honor recipient, is buried in a small cemetery at the weapons station. Ratcliff, who was born a slave in James City County, fought with the Union's 38th U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
Camp Peary, Williamsburg. This officially is named the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity. Don't tell anyone, but the CIA uses this 10,000-acre camp as a training center. Little is publicly known about the place. Neighbors have said they hear loud explosions coming from the camp, which is referred to as "The Farm." The number of workers there and payroll are not divulged.
Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth. This is one of the largest shipyards in the world. It specializes in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines. It's the oldest and largest industrial facility that belongs to the U.S. Navy. In fact, it predates the formation of the U.S. Navy by 31 years. It was established in 1767 as the Gosport Shipyard under the British flag. Its founder was loyal to the Crown and fled at the start of the American Revolution. It fell to the colony of Virginia, and has stayed in the Old Dominion.
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Occupying a 112-acre site along the Elizabeth River in downtown Portsmouth, the hospital is located on the original site of Fort Nelson, which was built in 1776 to provide harbor defense for Norfolk and Portsmouth. It is the oldest hospital in the U.S. Navy. The hospital and its branch clinics provide health care to the region's roughly 420,000 active-duty service members, family members and military retirees. It is also one of three major teaching hospitals in the Navy with residency programs in 13 specialty areas. Each year, approximately 75 officers complete internships at the Naval Medical Center.
Navy Supervisor of Shipbuilding (Conversion and Repair), Newport News. This Navy office oversees the shipyard's work on Navy ships and submarines being built or overhauled.
Coast Guard, Atlantic Area, Portsmouth. The Fifth Coast Guard District focuses on safety and security of the oceans, coastal areas, and marine transportation system within the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region.