Naval Station Norfolk (IATA: NGU, ICAO: KNGU, FAA LID: NGU), is a United States Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia. It supports naval forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command,[1] those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean. The installation occupies about 4 miles (6.4 km) of waterfront space and 11 miles (18 km) of pier and wharf space of the Hampton Roads peninsula known as Sewell's Point. It is the world's largest naval station, with the largest concentration of U.S. Navy forces through 75 ships alongside 14 piers and with 134 aircraft and 11 aircraft hangars at the adjacently operated Chambers Field and [2] Port Services controls more than 3,100 ships' movements annually as they arrive and depart their berths.

Air Operations conducts over 100,000 flight operations each year, an average of 275 flights per day or one every six minutes. Over 150,000 passengers and 264,000 tons of mail and cargo depart annually on Air Mobility Command (AMC) aircraft and other AMC-chartered flights from the airfield's AMC Terminal.[3]


USS Yorktown (CV-5) docked at then–NOB Norfolk in October 1937

The area where the base is located was the site of the original 1907 Jamestown Exposition.[4]

In April 1917, not long after the United States entered World War I, a bill was passed for the purchase of the land, and money was set aside in the amount of $1.6 million for the development of the base. The Fifth Naval Headquarters was established, along with the Naval Operating Base (NOB) and other facilities. By 1918, there were 34,000 enlisted men at the base.[4] However, by the war's end, the base was reduced in personnel and put into a "standby mode."[5]

USS New Jersey (BB-62) and USS Missouri (BB-63) at NS Norfolk in 1954.

When World War II began in Europe in 1939, the base became more active again. New facilities were built, including new runways for aircraft, part of NAS Norfolk. It also had ramps built to be used by seaplanes to be operated by the Navy during the war.[4] About 400 acres was acquired and, by 1943, the air station had become a central airfield for operations. Due to the expansion, it contributed to ending the war due because of the training it provided to naval air units.[6]

In March 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered the Commandant of the 5th Naval District to place NOB Norfolk and NAS Norfolk as separate installations under the command of Commandant Naval Base, whose title was soon changed to Commander, Navy Region, Mid-Atlantic.[7]

On 1 January 1953, the name of the naval base was officially changed to Naval Station Norfolk (NS Norfolk), after being known as the NOB.[6]

In 1968, the Naval Air Station was given a major role in John F. Kennedy's vision of putting a man on the moon. The air station became Recovery Control Center Atlantic, which provided command, control, and communications for the ships and aircraft that participated in the recovery operations of Apollo 7.[6]

Due to the end of the Cold War, a drawdown began in the 1990s, and the Navy began reducing shore installations to help with operating costs. Due to this, the Navy merged the separate Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Air Station Norfolk into a single installation to be called Naval Station Norfolk, which became official on 5 February 1999.[6]

Following the attack on the USS Cole and 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the base had some major upgrades to its security gates, costing more than $12.5 million.[6]

On 26 January 2017, NS Norfolk celebrated its centennial at the Pennsylvania House, a historical building built for the Jamestown Exposition,[8] located on the base.[9]


On Easter (April 3) of 1988, members of the anti-nuclear group Plowshares boarded USS Iowa (BB-61) with visitors for a ship's tour and left their group to do symbolic damage to the ship's empty Tomahawk missile launchers, using hammers and their own blood.[10]

Naval Station Norfolk is homeport for the USS Cole (DDG-67), which was the victim of an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack in October 2000 while it was harbored and being refueled in the port of Aden, Yemen. 17 American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured in the attack, which was later revealed to have been a dress rehearsal for future terror attacks by the group in the United States.[11] The USS Cole remains in active service and remains homeported at Norfolk.

On March 24, 2014, a shooting at NS Norfolk resulted in the death of a sailor and a civilian. The shooting occurred around 11:20 p.m. EDT aboard the USS Mahan (DDG-72). Security forces shot and killed the civilian who had allegedly shot the sailor aboard the vessel.[12] The base was closed for a short time after the shooting on the USS Mahan.[13]

Operational Units

Naval Station Norfolk is home port of four carrier strike groups and their assigned ships. In addition, the Naval Station plays host to several Military Sealift Command ships, as well as the submarines of the Atlantic Fleet.

As of June 2017, the following operational units are headquartered or homeported at Naval Station Norfolk:

Carrier Strike Groups (CARSTRKGRU)

Destroyer Squadrons (DESRONS)

Aircraft carriers



Military sealift command

Air Squadrons

Tenant/Shore Commands

In addition to the several operational units, Naval Station Norfolk is also headquarters to a number of shore activities that provided administrative and specialty support to regional operational assets, and in some cases, the entire Navy.

As of February 2017, these included:

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Navy.

  1. ^ Mission and Vision, Naval Station Norfolk
  2. ^ History of Naval Station Norfolk
  3. ^ "NS Norfolk History". www.cnic.navy.mil. Retrieved 2015-11-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "Naval Station Norfolk - History". CNIC. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "NS Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, VA MilitaryBases.com". Military Bases. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "History of Naval Station Norfolk Naval Station Norfolk Base Guide & Telephone Directory". www.nsnbg.com. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  7. ^ Pike, John. "Naval Station Norfolk". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  8. ^ Hansen, Louis. "What's in a name? Pennsylvania House, Norfolk". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  9. ^ "Naval Station Norfolk Centennial". CNIC. Retrieved 23 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "An Activist Nun Trying To Provoke People To Think". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Casualties: U. S. Navy and Marine Corps Personnel Killed and Wounded in Wars, Conflicts, Terrorist Acts, and Other Hostile Incidents". Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (25 March 2014). "Family: Military Policeman Was Shooting Victim". CBS Local. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  13. ^ West, Rachel (25 March 2014). "Navy ID's shooter in USS Mahan death". WAVY-TV. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 

External links