Naval Training Center – Bainbridge, MD

United States Naval Training Center, Bainbridge (USNTC Bainbridge) was the US Navy Training Center located at Port Deposit, Maryland, on the bluffs of the northeast bank of the Susquehanna River. It was active from 1942 to 1976.

The training center occupied the former campus of the Tome School for boys. Its was ideally located in the militarized U.S. East Coast of  WWII, and was accessible via Maryland Rt 222 about halfway between US1 & US40, approximately 35 miles  northeast of Baltimore, MD, and 75 miles from Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, PA. The center was placed under the command of the Commander of the Fifth Naval District, based in Norfolk, VA.

The site was approved by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the property of the Jacob Tome school for boys was expanded, by government purchase, from 330 acres  to 1,132 acres . Eggers & Higgins, the architects on the Thomas Jefferson Memorial was among the architects for the center’s construction. The center was expanded with an additional five hundred buildings and was activated on October 1, 1942. Ten days later the Center was opened and the first batch of U.S. Navy recruits were admitted for “boot camp” training and indoctrination.

President Roosevelt personally chose the name of “Bainbridge” for the Center in honor of Commodore William Bainbridge who had commanded the famous American frigate Constitution during the War of 1812 and defeated the British frigate HMS Java. The president reportedly expressed his wishes that the Center would live up to the high standards established by Commodore Bainbridge.

Once the gates were opened for recruits on October 11, 1942, the first busloads of recruits arrived from transportation collection points at Havre de Grace and Perryville, MD. The recruits were given a battery ofr teststo determine their educational and skill levels, then trained in indoctrination, ordnance and gunnery, seamanship, fire fighting, physical training and military drill.

Part of each recruit’s training included the ignoble “service week” training, which occurred halfway through boot camp training and included kitchen duty, peeling potatoes, mopping, picking up “butts”, etc. However, the more fortunate recruits with special desirable skills, such as typing, could end up on an office typewriter rather than in a kitchen.

Military recruits were also trained in shipboard duties. However, these “shipboard duties” were aboard the R.T.S. Commodore, a relatively large ship built on dry land. The dry land-bound ship was equipped with most of the facilities found on a real ship, including deck guns, pilot house, davits with whaleboats, and mooring lines fastened to earth-bound bollards, so that crew members could even learn casting off hawsers and other lines connecting the ship to its dock.

By the end of World War II, the center had trained a total of 244,277 recruits who were formally graduated and transferred to various ships and stations throughout the world. After World War II, the center continued limited operations until June 30, 1947, when it was first inactivated as a Navy training center.

Non-recruit training

A total of 24,484 recruit graduates were trained and graduated during World War II with technical skills under the direction of the Service School Command.

The following activities, under the control of the Service School Command and the Administrative Command, were located in the Naval Training Center during World War II and were not part of the Recruit Training Command portion of the Naval Training Center:

  • Coast Guard School
  • Rockefeller Research Unit (Report to Naval Training Station).
  • Stewards Mates’ School Roll
  • Naval Academy Preparatory School
  • Naval Hospital
  • Hospital Corps School
  • Naval Training School (Radio)
  • Naval Training School (Fire Controlmen)
  • Fire Fighters School
  • Naval Training School (Electrical)
  • Naval Training School (Physical Instructors)
  • Naval Training School (Instructors)
  • Naval Training School (Sound Motion Picture Technician)
  • Fire Fighters Training Unit)
  • Naval Training School (Motion Picture Operators)
  • Naval Training School (Recruit Instructors – C)

After World War II, the center was deactivated in 1947, and only school remining at the center was then the Naval Academy Prep School, which continued to operate at Bainbridge until it was moved to Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1974.

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