Naval Station Norfolk has been in operation since 1917. It is located in Norfolk, Virginia, a city of 242,000 people. The base is designed to support naval forces that are part of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Known as NS Norfolk or Norfolk Naval Base, its claim to fame is that it is the largest naval station in the entire world. It has approximately 75 ships, 134 aircraft, 14 piers, and 11 aircraft hangars. It covers four miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and has seven miles of piers and wharfs. The base also operates over 100,000 flights every year, approximately 275 flights every day. Not only this, but the Navy uses this installation as a headquarters for U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command.
How did this base become what it is today? Interest in this area of land first began in 1907 at the Jamestown Exposition. The naval officers who were at this world fair noticed how perfect the location would be for a naval base, and only one year later, a bill was passed to purchase the property. Due to budget reasons, the navy was not able to purchase the property at that time. When the U.S. entered World War I, however, it soon became apparent how necessary it was that they take advantage of the prime location. The Navy paid $1.2 million for 474 acres and spent a further $1.6 million to build the base. The new base included a Naval Training Center, a Naval Air Station, Submarine Station, and a Naval Hospital. In 1918, there were already 34,000 enlisted members living at the base.
The base outgrew the property and land from the flats was filled in from dredging. The Navy's air units were also expanded during this time, with 30,000 enlisted members serving in the aviation unit. When World War I ended, the huge growth which had been witnessed at the base came to a halt. In the years following, the population of the base fell to less than half. This was not only true of Naval Station Norfolk, but military stations across the country. Despite cutbacks, the air operations at the base continued. In 1921, the installation officially became known as Naval Air Station Norfolk. Testing and training on aircraft carriers took place here and in the 1930s, more construction occurred and more barracks were built.
The most changes occurred at the base, however, when World War II started. By December of 1939, the Navy had planned $4 million in projects for Naval Station Norfolk. By 1940, there were at least 8,000 people working at the base, the highest since the First World War. Congress then authorized the purchase of 1,000 acres of land east of the Naval Station. The cost of purchasing this land as well as constructing the necessary buildings was more than $72 million. The history of the base shows how much this installation has changed and how it has come to be the largest Naval Station in the world.
If you were accused of a crime while on Naval Station Norfolk, you need to be aware that there are different penalties and laws you could be facing. Criminal law for members of the military is different than it is for civilians. Our team at The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service understands criminal law as well as military law and is dedicated to helping members of the Armed Forces who have been accused of crimes. Call today to learn more about how we could help you.
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