Located in Hampden Township, NSA Mechanicsburg is one of the few military facilities run by the United States Navy in Pennsylvania. The base is commanded by James W. Smart. It is one of the most varied installations in the US Navy. Its objectives changed a little over time, while its future is not that secure. In fact, in 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure commission eyed the installation and although it managed to remain “alive”, many of its operations were changed again. Some of the commands were relocated to other nearby bases, resulting in yet another change in the objectives.
The primary mission at NSA Mechanicsburg has constantly changed over the history, but its main objective remains supporting the local units and tenants. At the same time, the base has always been at the disposal of the US Navy, not to mention about the missions assigned by the Department of Defense. These days, the activities on site vary a little. Most of them concentrate on ship maintenance operations, as well as more or less important reparations, according to each case.
The personnel support is just as important. The housing opportunities are among the main facilities, while the inhabitants also have a lot of services and centers that make them feel like living in a civilian community. Whether they want recreational areas or outdoor activities, all of them are successfully covered. The facilities are equal for all the inhabitants, counting military personnel, civilian families, contractors and employees. The reserve or retired units are just as important.
Prior to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure commission, the base had an extra objective. It was responsible for petroleum operations, as well as chemical handling missions. All these activities have been relocated since then. They are now part of a center in Richmond, Virginia. It was the last change in the local mission and objectives.
Prior to World War II, the needs for more depots in the United States Navy were obvious. Most of them were overcrowded and there was no room for anything else. The officials found the wide and plain farmlands in Pennsylvania a great site for a base, so the authorization was taken in 1941. Less than a year later, the base was commissioned. It was officially opened on October, 1-st ,1942. Soon after the war ended, some of the most important units in the US Navy were relocated on site.
The first major change occurred in 1972, when NAS Mechanicsburg reached its peaks in activity. The authorities decided to merge it with the center for Ships Parts Control. The name remained unchanged, but the activity drastically increased due to the hundreds of troops who were relocated. The ’90s brought in a round of updates and improvements, not to mention about a few major changes in the units and tenants on site.
These days, NAS Mechanicsburn serves close to 5,000 inhabitants. There are around 30 tenants hosted, with the most important ones counting the Inventory Control Point, the Supply System Commands or the Information Systems Activity.