Naval Training Center, San Diego had its
inception in 1916 when Mr. William Kettner, Congressman from the
Eleventh Congressional District of California and spokesman for the
San Diego Chamber of Commerce, interested the Honorable Franklin D.
Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, in establishing a
naval training activity on the shores of San Diego Bay. Due to the
Nation's entry into World War I, further development of permanent site plan was
postponed until 1919, when Congress authorized acceptance by the Navy
of the present site of the Training Center.
However in 1917 the City of San Diego
made way for a temporary Naval Training Station. The station at
Balboa Park ensured the a permanent naval training installation in San
Diego. The original grant
for the permanent site consisted of 135 acres of highland donated by the San Diego Chamber of
Commerce and 142 acres of tideland given by the City of San Diego.
Construction work began in 1921, and on 1 June 1923 the U. S. Naval
Training Station, San Diego, was placed in commission under the
command of Captain (later Rear Admiral) David F. Sellers, U. S. Navy.
At the time of its commissioning in 1923 the
station bore little resemblance to its present size or arrangement.
At that time Camp Paul Jones housed the entire population of the
station and the maximum recruit strength was 1,500. The period of
recruit training was then sixteen weeks. The shore line of San Diego
Bay extended considerably further inland than at present, and the land
now occupied by Preble Field, the North Athletic Area and Camp
Farragut was entirely under water. The recruit parade ground was
located on the present site of the Public Works garage. During the
1920's the Recruit Receiving and Outgoing Units were housed in the
Detention Unit, known as Camp Ingram, which consisted of a group of
walled tents adjacent to the south boundary of Camp Paul Jones. Until
Camp Lawrence was completed in 1936, recruits spent their first three
weeks of training under canvas in this Detention Unit.
1939 a construction program was commenced which within three years was
to increase the capacity of the station four-fold. This expansion went
hand in glove with a large scale program of harbor improvements by
means of which the channel and anchorages in San Diego Bay were
deepened and 130 acres of filled land were added to the eastern
boundaries of the station. By 1941 Camp Luce had been completed, and
the construction of Camps Mahan, Decatur, and Farragut was already
well under way when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Virtually all
this construction work was completed by September, 1942, when the
capacity of the station had reached its wartime peak of 33,000 men,
25,000 of whom were recruits. The period of recruit training during
World War 11 varied between three weeks and seven weeks.
In April, 1944, the Secretary of the Navy changed
the status of the Training Station to that of a group command and
redesignated it the U. S. Naval Training Center, San Diego. Under the
Center Commander were established three subordinate commands: The
Recruit Training Command, The Service School Command and the
The years immediately following World War II saw
a considerable reduction in population of the Training Center despite
a post-war expansion of the Service Schools, and by the end of 1949
the population of the Center had
dropped to a twenty-year low of 5,800 men. Six months later, when the
Communists invaded the Republic of Korea, an immediate expansion of
all Naval training activities took place and by September of 1950 the
Center was again operating at nearly full capacity.
During the early months of the Korean conflict it
became apparent that the demand for trained personnel in the rapidly
growing Pacific Fleet would require further expansion of this training
center. Accordingly steps were taken by the Navy Department to
reactivate Camp Elliott, formerly a World War II Marine Corps training
camp which is located ten miles north of San Diego on Kearny Mesa. On
15 January 1951 Camp Elliott was placed in commission as Elliott Annex
of the Naval Training Center for the purpose of conducting the primary
phases of recruit training. In March, 1953, in line with the planned
reduction in size of the Navy, training at Elliott Annex was
discontinued and it was placed in an inactive status. During its two
years of operation, over 150,000 recruits received training there.
Late in 1952 projects were approved to convert
some recruit barracks into classrooms and to
extend training facilities by construction of a permanent recruit camp
on the undeveloped Training Center land lying to the south and east of
the estuary. The six converted barracks went into service as recruit
classrooms in April, 1953, and construction work on the new camp was
completed in 1955. With the completion of this project the Naval
Training Center filled out to its present boundaries of 435 acres.
In the furtherance of its mission of supplying
trained naval personnel to the fleets and ships of the United States
Navy, each of the three subordinate commands of the Naval Training
Center has important roles to fill.
The Administrative Command has the responsibility
of conducting most of the Center's
business and furnishing a wide range of services necessary to the
daily life of the large community which the Center has become. The
Administrative Command has the responsibility of maintaining the
Center's buildings and grounds, and through its facilities all
personnel on the Center are house, fed, clothed and paid, and receive
their medical and dental car The Administrative Command also provides
such other community services as recreational and Navy Exchange
facilities; communications, postal and transportation services; and
police all fire protection.
Under the Service School Command are grouped more
than twenty Navy Schools in which recruits as well as men from the
fleet receive training in the specialized duties of certain ratings.
Most of these are Class "A" schools, where non-rated men
learn the skills and information necessary to them to perform a
specific pet officer rating. Among these schools are those which train
firecontrol technicians, electricians mates, radiomen, yeomen,
commissarymen and stewards. Other schools teach specialized skills
such as motion picture operation, teletype maintenance and
stenography. The present capacity of the Service Schools is about
The largest of the three commands at the Training
Center is the Recruit Training Command. Here the recruit undergoes his
transition from civilian to military life; learns the history,
tradition customs and regulations of his chosen service; and receives
instruction in naval skills and subjects which will be basic
information throughout his period of naval service.
Most of the facilities of the Recruit Training
Command are centered on Bainbridge Court and occupy the western half
of the Training Center. Here are concentrated the barracks and
headquarters of the recruit brigade, and nearby are located the mess
halls, classrooms, athletic fields and recreation buildings used by
Now in its forty second year of service to the
Navy, the Naval Training Center, San Diego, faces with confidence the
challenges an unsettled world.
(The Anchor, United States Naval Training Center, San Diego
California - 1964)
Before 1993 NTC expanded to over 300 buildings
with nearly 3 million square feet of space occupying almost 550 acres
onsite plus training buildings at 32nd Street Naval Station.
of thousands of civilian and military passed through the gates of
Naval Training Center in the course of it's history. This base remains
a proud memory for over a million civilian and military personnel who
provided support functions, taught or received training here.
Contributing to the
In annual payroll alone -- for both military and civilian personnel --
NTC contributed almost $80 million per year to the San Diego economy,
according to the Navy's proposed 1994 budget. More than 28,000
visitors a year came to graduations at RTC, and 80 percent of these
visitors were from out of town and contributed almost $7 million
annually to the local economy. Beyond these payroll and visitor
expenditures, the Navy spent an additional $10 million for base
operation support contracts. With all finances taken into
consideration, NTC provided over 2 billion dollars to the local
economy over it's lifetime.
The end of the Cold War led to military downsizing and the need to
close surplus bases. The federal Base Realignment and Closure
Commission eventually slated NTC for closure in 1993.
The Navy closed NTC facilities
incrementally with Recruit Training Command closing in 1995, Service
School Command in December 1996 and many smaller tenant commands
closed or moved during these years. The Navy officially closed NTC on
April 30, 1997, and ceased all military operations.
1994-1996 - City's NTC Reuse Committee, with
input from interested citizens, makes recommendations resulting in a
draft Reuse Plan.
Nov. 1996 - City Council adopts draft Reuse Plan
as the City's preferred alternative.
March 1996 - Voters approve changing designation
of NTC property from future urbanizing to planned urbanizing.
April 1997 - The Navy closes NTC and all active
military uses of the base concludes.
May 1997 - City Redevelopment Agency adopts the
NTC Redevelopment Project Area.
Dec. 1996-Aug. 1997 - Navy and City prepare joint
draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR)
for public review.
Aug. 1997-July 1998 - Navy and City prepare joint
Final Draft EIS/EIR.
July 1998 - Navy issues contract for its
appraisal of property.
Aug. 1998 - City completes Final Draft Reuse
Aug. 1998 - City issues Request for
Qualifications for master developer/partner.
Oct. 1998 - City Council adopts Reuse Plan and
Jan. 1999 - City issues Request for Proposals for
Feb 1999 - Navy receives draft appraisal from its
contractor and allows the City limited review.
Mar. 1999 - Navy signs Record of Decision, Navy's
final approval of Reuse Plan and certification of the EIS.
June 1999 - City Council selects master
May 1999 - City submits Economic Development
Conveyance application (including business plan and offer to purchase)
May-Nov. 1999 - City and Navy negotiate property
May-Nov. 1999 - City negotiates Disposition and
Development Agreement with the master developer.
Mar 2000 - City receives property from the Navy
and signs Disposition and Development Agreement with the master
(Facts About Naval Training Center, San Diego,
The City of San Diego 1999)
A large portion of Naval Training Center has been designated as a
historical site. It's only fitting that where hundreds of thousands of
men and women transitioned from civilians to Sailors and learned
advanced training that a museum be set up in this historical site. The
city in 1997 set down this vision for the historic core.
Core Development Concept
At the north end could be a retail marketplace featuring restaurants,
marine-oriented crafts, farmers markets, and other festive retail
uses. Along with traditional retailers, uses that combine crafts and
manufacturing with retail sales are encouraged. The main body of the
Historic Core could be rehabilitated into a variety of commercial uses
including offices, small retail uses, and live/work spaces. The NTC
headquarters building and its grounds could become the site of a
military and maritime museum celebrating San Diego's maritime history
and military heritage.
2002 - Five hundred military
family housing units are under construction.
Sep 2002 - The first military housing units are completed,
Sailors and their families start to move in.
McMillin Companies, the Master Developer for the former Naval Training
Center now named "Liberty Station" starts the horizontal improvements
for the 350 civilian housing units that will be built.
2003 - The NTC Foundation receives approval from the San Diego City
Council for loans to advance the reutilization of the Arts, Culture and
Civic center now named "Promenade Center."
June 2003 - First
family moves into new McMillin constructed home at Liberty Station.