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Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek

The Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, the largest base of its kind in the world, is the major operating station for the amphibious forces of the United States Atlantic Fleet. The base's location totals 2,120 acres of land and is sited at the extreme northwest corner of Virginia Beach. Little Creek's mission is to provide continuously improving support and services to operating forces and shore commands.

Commissioned in 1945, the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek grew out of four bases constructed during World War II--the Amphibious Training Base, the Naval Frontier Base, and Camps Bradford and Shelton. It consisted of three annexes named for the former owners of the property--Shelton on the east, Bradford in the center, and Whitehurst to the west. A Secretary of the Navy letter in July 1945 disestablished the separate bases and established the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek with a commissioning date of July 30, 1945. In 1946 Little Creek was designated a permanent base.

Today the facility is comprised of four locations in three states, including almost 9,000 acres of real estate within which 15,000 military and civilian employees work together. Outlying facilities of the Amphibious Base include a 6,013-acre Naval Gunfire Support Range located at Bloodsworth Island, Maryland, 80 miles north in the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately 350 acres at Camp Pendleton, sandwiched between Dam Neck and the commercial section of Virginia Beach, make up Little Creek's only property with direct access to the open ocean. Twenty-one acres known as Radio Island at Morehead City, North Carolina, are used as an amphibious embarkation/debarkation area for United States Marine Corps units at Camp Lejeune, NC. Port facilities are leased at the Commercial Terminal in Morehead City, NC, near Radio Island.

The 61 piers surrounding Little Creek Channel provide docking facilities for approximately 30 Navy ships homeported at Little Creek.

The Little Creek site includes woodland training areas in support of amphibious operation. Sandy beaches and mudflats provide a realistic scenario for other hands-on training. Also included are three miles of beach on the Chesapeake Bay and 3/4 of a mile of beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Navy, Army, and Marine Corps reserve personnel have use of the training facilities. Their training is coordinated through the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Readiness Center at Little Creek. Some 4,500 reservists train here yearly. More than 75 tenant and/or supported activities live here, most of which are directly involved in amphibious operation. The base has three primary training commands. The Fleet Training Unit is responsible for refresher and underway training of Navy and Coast Guard ships. The mission of Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic is to provide instruction and training for personnel and units of the US Atlantic Fleet, reserve components, and allied military personnel in order to achieve and maintain an optimum state of readiness for amphibious operations; to provide training in shipboard engineering, naval gunfire support, naval science, and seamanship, conduct training for the total force in the doctrine, tactics and techniques of amphibious, Maritime Prepositioned Forces (MPF), and waterborne operations, with emphasis on landing forces matters for the Atlantic Fleet.

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Maintained by Robert Sherman
Originally created by John Pike
Updated Sunday, December 06, 1998 5:59:17 AM