Naval Base Kitsap is located on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington State, from which it derives its namesake. The base is one of the newest installations in the United States and only a handful of bases that were established in the early 21st century. Created in 2004, Naval Base Kitsap is the result of the merging of two United States Navy Installations; Naval Station Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor. The merging of these two former naval stations created what is now the 3rd largest Naval Base in the United States Fleet and the single largest naval installation in Navy Region Northwest.
Under current command of Captain Thomas Zwolfer, the base is home to the US Navy’s Fleet throughout West Puget Sound and provides operational capabilities and support to both surface ships and nuclear submarines. The base is also home to the only dry dock in the United States capable of handling Nimitz Class aircraft carriers, the Navy’s largest fuel depot, and one of four US Navy Nuclear shipyards. In 2005 the base was the recipient of one of the United States Armed Forces highest honors, the Commander in Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence – Best Base in the United States Navy.
The history of Naval Base Kitsap itself is relatively brief with no significant events. The real history lies within the two former installations that comprise the now giant base. Naval Submarine Base Bangor was established in 1942 to counter the threat of Japanese submarines in the Pacific. Its primary role was as a shipping port for the armed forces and played a role in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After its quick construction in 1942, the base undertook a series of rapid improvements and expansions, gaining a spot as a permanent naval station in 1945. During the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam the base transitioned into more of a support role, serving as an ammunition depot directing shipments to conflict zones.
Naval Station Bremerton has a less illustrious history, but a colorful one nonetheless. The area of present day Naval Base Kitsap where Naval Station Bremerton is located was subject to a series of break ins and protests. In 2009, a group of protesters gained entrance to an area that was used for storage of nuclear warheads. They hung banners, destroyed property and covered the area with graffiti. All protesters were quickly arrested following the break in. In 2010 sector that was Naval Station Bremerton became the first installation in the United States Navy to purchase an electric vehicle, earning it a spot in history as the first section of the Navy to move into alternative energy for on base transportation.
Naval Base Kitsap is home to several transitional and tenant units as a result of its maintenance and repair facilities. Current units calling Kitsap home change frequently, however there are multiple ships and units permanently stationed at the base. Fleet Surface units stationed Naval Base Kitsap include the USS Parche, USS Ohio, USS Nevada, USS Georgia, USS Alabama, USS Kentucky and several others. Submarine fleet units of the base are the USS Seawolf, USS Connecticut and the USS John C. Stennis.