Reunion Information
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Unit Details

Strength
Center
 
Type
Garrison - Base Station
 
Year
1942 - 1993
 

Description

History of the Naval Training Center


In the mid-1920s, the City of San Diego hoped to strengthen its economic ties with the military, and offered more than 200 acres of land to the Navy at the north end of San Diego Bay to entice it to move the Recruit Training Station from San Francisco.

Building NTC



Throughout its 70-year history as a military base, the mission of Naval Training Center (NTC), San Diego, had been to provide primary, advanced and specialized training for members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Reserve. In support of that mission, NTC expanded to include 300 buildings with nearly three million square feet of space. In designing the first buildings at the training station, Navy architects adopted the Mission Revival style. Within a few years, harbor improvements deepened the channel and anchorages in San Diego Bay and added 130 acres of filled land to the Naval Training Station, which was later renamed the Naval Training Center. Development of the base occurred in phases, often in direct response to national defense priorities. As a result, there was no comprehensive plan for NTC, and buildings were scattered throughout the base or existed in small clusters. The base eventually expanded to almost 550 acres.


By the early 1990s, San Diego had become home to more than one-sixth of the Navy's entire fleet. San Diego had more than a dozen major military installations, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the local economy with more than 133,000 uniformed personnel and another 30,000 civilians relying on the military for their livelihood.



Contributing to the Economy


In annual payroll alone for both military and civilian personnel, NTC contributed almost $80 million to the San Diego economy, according to the Navy's 1994 budget. Each year, more than 28,000 visitors came to graduations at NTC, and 80 percent of those visitors were from out of town, contributing 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.



NTC Closes


The end of the Cold War led to military downsizing and the need to close surplus bases. In 1993, the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission slated NTC for eventual closure.


The Navy closed NTC facilities incrementally. As the military functions on the base dwindled, so did the Navy's budget. Fearing that the lack of activity on the base would lead to security problems, the City and Navy entered into a master lease agreement in 1995 allowing the City interim use of 67 acres of the base site. The agreement was later amended to include more than half of the NTC property, with approximately 75 buildings occupied by interim users. These buildings were subleased from the City to various parties including film companies, nonprofit organizations, City departments, and small businesses. In addition, interim leasing allowed the City to maintain the buildings and landscape areas at a higher standard of maintenance than an otherwise decreasing Navy caretaker budget could provide. The Navy officially closed NTC on April 30, 1997, and all military operations ceased.




Notable Persons
None
 
Filed Under
Recruit Training Center (RTC) (Faculty Staff)
 
Active Reporting Unit
None
 
Inactive Reporting Units
 
Unit Videos 
 
 

Unit Web Links
Recruit Training Command and Naval Training Center, San Diego California

Cradle of the Navy

Winds of Change
Members Who Served in This Unit


 
None
 
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  Unit History Detail
Date
Jan 02, 1939

Title
Operation from 1939 to 1995

Content
In 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 Administrative Command.

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 administrative 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 5,000 men.

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 the recruits.

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.

Hundreds 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.
   

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