Naval Training Center – San Diego, CA

Naval Training Center San Diego (NTC San Diego) (1923–1997) is a former United States Navy base located at the north end of San Diego Bay. The Naval Training Center site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the individual structures are designated as historic by the city of San Diego.[2]

The base was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC) 1993 commission at the end of the Cold War. It is now the site of Liberty Station, a mixed-use community being redeveloped and repurposed by the City of San Diego.

In the mid – 1920s, the City of San Diego hoped to strengthen its economic ties with the military, and offered the Navy more than 200 acres of land in Point Loma at the north end of San Diego Bay, in an effort to entice it to move the Recruit Training Station from San Francisco. Then – congressman William Kettner is credited with key leadership in the effort to establish the Naval Training Center and other Navy bases in San Diego. Congress authorized the center in 1919, construction began in 1921, and the base was commissioned in 1923. The first commandant was Capt. David F. Sellers.

Throughout its 70-year history as a military base, the mission of Naval Training Center (NTC) San Diego was 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, architedt Frank Walter Stevenson adopted the Mission, Revival style. The initial buildings (now the Historic Core) were oriented along two main axes running north-south. Within a few years, harbor improvements deepened the channel and anchorages in San Diego Bay and added 130 acrew of filled land to the Naval Training Station, 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 are eventually expanded to almost 550 acres.

During World War II the base housed up to 33,000 men, of whom 25,000 were recruits. In the postwar period the base population dropped to a low of 5,800 men; but the base reached peak population of 40,000 during the Korean War. In 1952, funding was approved to convert six recruit barracks on board NTC into classrooms, and to expand recruit training facilities through construction of a permanent recruit camp on the undeveloped property lying to the south and east of the estuary. The six recruit classrooms went into service in 1953. Construction of the new camp, later named Camp Nimitz, was completed in 1955. This new home for recruits initially provided 16 barracks for 3,248 Sailors. There was also a galley with eight different mess hall wings big enough to accommodate 5,000 Sailors.

In late 1965, a new demand for trained Navy personnel to man additional ships and overseas billets, called into service by the Vietnam War, surged the onboard recruit population to an excess of 18,000. Concurrently, expansion plans and projects continued with the laying of a foundation for a new 8,000-man messing facility adjacent to Bainbridge Court. Additionally, an ambitious program outlaid over five years planned extensive upgrade and construction of new classrooms for 31 apprentice class “A” and advanced schools, administrative facilities, and barracks for NTC. These upgrades were completed by 1970.

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.

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