Located in Portsmouth, in the southeastern part of Virginia, Norfolk Naval Shipyard is a military station established and operated by the United States Navy. The industrial installation is the largest of its kind in the US Navy, not to mention about the variety of changes it has been through over the history. The current name was given in 1862. It was switched from Gosport Shipyard. The base is established on the Elizabeth River and is commanded by Rear Admiral Joseph Campbell.
Norfolk Naval Shipyard began its ascension under the British domination. It was established in 1767 and turned out to be an excellent facility for the British forces. More than a century later, the American Revolution outburst and the installation quickly became one of the Americans’ priorities. The British commander remained loyal to his country. The Americans took over his properties meanwhile, but he didn’t give up. He came back with a large group of soldiers and burnt down the facility.
The American domination began in 1794. Five years later, USS Chesapeake became the first frigate to be hosted on site. Prior to the American Civil War, the base was expanded and multiple facilities were raised by the authorities. During the American Civil War, Virginia decided to be among the Confederate forces. The current commander of the base thought differently, therefore he decided to burn down the base for the second time in its history. The Confederate forces did take it over in the end, but it was useless. It was rebuilt only to be burnt down again in 1862, as the Union forces were about to gain the control over it. Soon after getting there, the Union forces decided to rename it to what it is today.
Until World War I, Norfolk Naval Shipyard was only used to build, repair and host ships. No major events affected its good going. No improvements were performed either. However, right before World War I, it was expanded to host more than 10,000 military troops and their civilian families. The same operations were performed prior to World War II too. The facility was basically doubled in size. During the war, it hosted close to 50,000 troops and built almost 7,000 different ships.
These days, things have not changed too much. The objectives are still the same, but the activity is obviously not as intense anymore. The base remains the largest of its kind in the US Navy and stands up to the expectations. One of the notable events in the last years is the relieve of Captain William Kiestler, who was removed from the leadership because his superiors lost their confidence in his capacities to lead.
When it comes to the units hosted at US Navy military bases, they can be described through the ships hosted on site. There are around ten notable ships hosted at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, such as USS Chesapeake, USS Arizona, USS Raleigh, USS Alabama, CSS Virginia or USS Texas. The list can go on, especially if you count the smaller and less significant vessels as well.