Military Ocean Terminal Concord base operations: (925) 246-4041, DSN: 488-8000
Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO) is located at 37° 59′ 39″ N, 121° 58′ 58″ W just north of the city of Concord California in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. The base is comprised of two sections, a 115 acre inland facility and a 6,526 tidal area facility. The Port Chicago Highway connects the two sections. The site is boarded to the north by the waters of Suisan Bay and on the south by the California Delta Highway. The east and west boundaries are marked by Walnut Creek and Kinne Boulevard respectively. Military Ocean Terminal Concord also maintains seven offshore islands within Suisan Bay that lay inside the boundaries of Solano County. The area around Military Ocean Terminal Concord is classified as Mediterranean climate, experiencing mild winters and warm dry summers. The area has mild seasonal changes with average winter temperatures of 52 °F and average summer temperatures of 85 °F, though temperatures in excess of 100 °F are not entirely uncommon. The area averages 18.31 inches of precipitation yearly.
Military Ocean Terminal Concord was originally established as the Concord Naval Weapons Station in 1942 on the shores of the Sacramento River. During World War II the weapons station served as a storage depot and rearmament facility for naval munitions, supplying ships at Port Chicago in Suisan Bay. The base also maintained a Naval Outlying Field at its southern edge that served as an operating airfield. In 1944 Concord Naval Weapons Station was the site of the worst home-front casualties of World War II with the Port Chicago Naval Magazine explosion. On July 17 1944, 3.5 million pounds of explosives unintentionally detonated causing massive destruction to the area. 320 military and civilian personnel were killed, another 390 seriously injured and $12.5 million in property and structural damage sustained. Today, a five acre memorial, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Site marks the area of the explosion.
Following World War II the Concord Naval Weapons Station continued to serve as an ammunition supply and storage facility though the outlying field ceased to serve as an active airfield. Concord Naval Weapons Station continued serving Navy ships throughout the Korean War Conflict, The Vietnam War and The Gulf War, shipping ammunition and supplies across the Pacific Ocean.
The original area of Concord Naval Weapons Station consisted of two main areas; a 5,028 acre inland area and a 7,360 acre tidal area that included several outlying islands. These areas both saw heavy use during World War II and the well into the Vietnam War era, but usage slowed significantly by the 1980’s. At the close of the 20th century Concord Naval Weapons Station had a very small contingent of military personnel on its grounds and a majority of the ammunition bunkers, warehouses and building sat empty. In 2007, per 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommendations, it was announced that the inland portion of Concord Naval Weapons Station would be closed. In 2008 control of the base was transferred and the inland portion of Concord Naval Weapons Station became Detachment of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, which it will remain until its ultimate closing. Following the closing of this area the five member City Council of Concord, acting as the Federally designated Local Reuse Authority, plans to develop the area for commercial and residential projects. Control of the tidal area was transferred to the U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) and redesignated as Military Ocean Terminal Concord.
The primary mission of Military Ocean Terminal Concord is to serve as the major west coast distribution hub for surface cargo from storage and repair depots nationwide and supply forward operating United States Armed Forces. Military Ocean Terminal Concord falls under the control of the U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) and is operated in conjunction with its east coast sister facility, Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point in North Carolina. The maximum net explosive weight capacity of the facility, 18.8 million pounds, is one of the largest in the United States and represents 25% of Country’s total ammunition throughput capability.
Military Ocean Terminal Concord is the primary west coast common-user ammunition terminal, supplying Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps facilities in the area. The majority of this supply and distribution responsibility falls on the 834th Transportation Battalion of the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. The 834th TB is tasked with safely providing ammunition terminal and distribution services both combat operations and training evolutions and running a general cargo supply mission.
Though no actual ammunition storage takes place at the base, it receives large shipment of munitions regularly. Shipping containers are received through any of three different base operated shipping piers or through any of the four commercial ports used in San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles/Long Beach and Port Hueneme. The base also receives ammunition shipments via commercial highway trucking and through the two Army maintained rail lines and the commercial rail system.
Visitors to Military Ocean Terminal Concord are required to register with the base security office or have a current Common Access Card. Due to the high volume of explosives and ammunition passing through the facility public access is generally not permitted. The expectation to this is visitors to the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Site. Those visiting the memorial are transported into the base via a National Parks shuttle for the guided tour.