The Navy’s permanent presence in West Puget Sound dates back to 1891 when the Navy purchased 190 acres of Pacific Northwest wilderness for less than $10,000. On this acreage, the Navy established Puget Sound Naval Station, Bremerton. After initial surveying by Lt. Charles Wilkes, a commission chaired by Alfred T. Mahan selected Lt. Ambrose Wyckoff as Naval Station Puget Sound, Bremerton’s first and founding commandant. The first dry dock, known today as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, was completed in 1896 and proved critical during the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) encompasses more than 11,000 acres in various locations in Washington state, Alaska and British Columbia. NBK’s five main installations are in Kitsap County and include Bangor, Bremerton, Keyport, Manchester and Jackson Park. NBK and its tenant commands feature a plethora of missions, diversity found only in the West Sound’s installations. NBK is home to more than 60 tenant commands staffed by civilians, contractors, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Soldiers, all dedicated to executing our primary mission: support the fleet, fighter and family in the defense and protection of our nation.
Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island’s strategic mission is to provide ordnance logistics support to the Pacific Fleet and the joint services in peace and war. In 1941, the Navy commissioned the Naval Magazine and Net depot on Indian Island and used the organization for the storage of Navy munitions and assembly of mines and submarine nets. The island was placed in a reduced operating status in 1959 and then reactivated in 1979 when munitions storage and handling facilities at Bangor were moved to Indian Island.
Naval Base Kitsap has several programs and many facilities to help the members and family of its tenant commands. Religious services, recreational opportunities, lodging and financial support have all been taken into consideration to help Sailors focus while at work and relax on liberty.
Commander, Navy Region Northwest is responsible for coordinating activities of Navy bases in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. The majority of those facilities are in the Puget Sound area. Primary mission areas for the command’s staff include environmental coordination, regional emergency management and quality of life. While it has coordination responsibility for all naval facilities in the Pacific Northwest, its commander also functions as senior-in-command for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Magazine Indian Island and Naval Station Everett. More information on the command can be found at www.cnic.navy.mil/cnrnw.
With so much to do and all within an hour’s drive, the West Sound will never leave you bored. You can go mountain biking, head to a museum, go scuba diving and more. If you’re hungry, you can find just about any food you’d like. There are restaurants serving world-wide cuisines, locally-owned breweries and eateries specializing in northwest fare. If shopping is what you like, you will find major chains and locally owned shops. One of West Sound’s greatest assets is the wildlife and scenery. Make sure to contact the local chamber of commerce to learn more about what our community offers.