The Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek
major operating base for the Amphibious Forces in the United States Navy
's Atlantic Fleet
. The base comprises four
locations in three states, including almost 12,000 acres (49 km²)
of real estate. Its Little Creek location in Virginia
Beach, Virginia totals 2,120
acres (9 km²) of land, though its post office address is in
facilities include 350 acres (1.4 km²) at Camp Pendleton, located
just north of Fleet Training Center Dam Neck in Virginia Beach, and 21 acres (85,000 m²) known
as Radio Island at Morehead City,
N.C., used as an amphibious embarkation/debarkation area
Marine Corps units at MCB Camp
The mission of the Naval Amphibious Base is to provide required
support services to over 15,000 personnel of the 27 homeported
ships and 78 resident and/or supported activities. The base's
combination of operational, support, and training facilities are
geared predominantly to amphibious operations, making the base
unique among bases of the United States and Allied Navies.
The Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek is the largest base of its
kind in the world.
On October 1, 2009, NAB Litle Creek and the Army's base Fort Story
finished a 2 year merge into one joint base officially named Joint
Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
World War II
On July 16, 1942, a U.S. Navy truck drove off Shore Drive, the scenic
highway along the south shore of the Chesapeake Bay between Ocean
View in Norfolk and the
resort city of Virginia Beach, near an inlet called "Little Creek."
truck stopped in a waterlogged bean field of the Whitehurst
family's farm in Princess
Anne County, Virginia
. For days thereafter, trucks loaded with
lumber and equipment rolled into the area in almost continuous
The reason for this mass assault in a bean field northeast of
Norfolk was that, early in World War
, Navy planners saw a necessity for landing large numbers of
American troops on foreign shores in the face of enemy gunfire.
That such operations would be difficult was also evident. New
methods and techniques in landing troops would have to be
developed. Training would be needed before sufficient men were
proficient in the complicated art of the amphibious
assault, which would enable
U.S. troops to drive to the heart of the enemy.
During the early phases of World War II the base was literally a
combination of farmland and swamps
. Four bases
were constructed on this area: Camp Bradford, Camp Shelton, U.S.
Naval Frontier Base, and Amphibious Training Base.Camps Bradford
and Shelton were named for the former owners of the land.
- At first Camp Bradford was a training base for Navy Seabees, but in 1943 it was changed into a training
center for the crews of LST
(Landing Ship Tank).
- Camp Shelton was an armed guard training center for bluejackets
serving on board merchant ships as gun crews. At the end of World
War II it served as a separation center.
- The Frontier Base was the forwarding center for Amphibious
Force personnel and equipment destined for the European
- The Amphibious Training Base (also known as "Little Creek") was
the center for all types of amphibious training and the training of
ship's crews for LSM (landing
ship medium), LCI (landing
craft infantry), and LCU (landing craft utility); LCM (landing
craft mechanized), and LCVP
(landing craft vehicle, personnel)
boat crews were also trained at Little Creek.
At the new bases, the techniques of training had to be developed
from scratch. Facilities for the upkeep of equipment as well as
living facilities for personnel were primitive. The newcomers found
few buildings and practically no roads or utilities. Just bean
vines. After various improvisations along came temporary buildings
that were later to give the site some resemblance to a naval
In a few months the trained men who were to land fighting forces
were ready for sea. During World War II
over 200,000 Naval personnel and 160,000 Army
and Marine Corps personnel trained
at Little Creek.
The four bases were partially inactivated at the end of hostilities
of World War II. Shortly thereafter, however, the bases at
Little Creek, because of their central location on the Atlantic
coast, excellent and varied beach conditions, proximity to the
naval facilities of Norfolk, berthing facilities for amphibious ships through
the size of LSTs, and other advantages, were consolidated into the
present installation and renamed the Naval Amphibious Base,
Little Creek with a commissioning date of August 10, 1945.
designated a permanent base in 1946.
Growing over the years to meet the needs of the Amphibious Force,
the base has developed into one of the most modern in the Navy.
Thousands of men and women from all branches of the Armed Forces,
as well as military students from foreign nations, now pass through
the gates of the Naval Amphibious Base yearly for training in
Amphibious warfare adds a crucial measure of leverage to conducting
a maritime campaign successfully. National maritime strategy seeks
to deter war if at all possible, but if deterrence fails, to
destroy enemy maritime forces, protect allied sea lines of
communication, support the land campaign, and secure favorable
leverage for termination of hostilities. It is a truly global
strategy, requiring the ability to dominate the world's oceans and
the flexibility of force employment that only naval forces can
provide. Naval forces are viewed as central elements of American
military strategy. The Navy/Marine Corps team provides an effective
amphibious striking arm in support of the national military
strategy. Today nearly 13,000 Sailors, Marines, and civilian
employees are assigned to the various stations or attend schools at
the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek in support of the
Navy/Marine Corps team.
(As of September 2008)
Major shore commands
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Two
- Explosive Ordnance Diposal Mobile Unit Ten
- Naval Beach Group Two
- Assault Craft Unit Two
- Assault Craft Unit Four
- Beachmaster Unit Two
- Amphibious Construction Battalion Two
- Naval Special Warfare Group Two
- SEAL Team Two
- SEAL Team Four
- SEAL Team Eight
- SEAL Team Ten
- Naval Special Warfare Group Four
- Tactical Air Control Group Two
- Tactical Air Control Squadron Twenty One
- Tactical Air Control Squadron Twenty Two
The base remains bisected by a finger of land not part of the base.
includes Ferry Road, a rail line, and the docks serving current
cross-bay rail barge traffic of Bay
Coast Railroad, formerly the Eastern Shore Railroad, to Cape Charles,
Ferry Road, crossed by the base's Guam Road-Amphibious Drive
, once served the now defunct Little Creek-Cape Charles
which transported passengers and motor vehicles across
the mouth of the bay to Cape Charles
and Kiptopeke until replacement in 1964 by the Chesapeake Bay
See: Ferry Road bisecting
- The base was initially established in the farmland of Princess Anne County.
years later, in 1963, the growing county was consolidated with its
tiny resort city neighbor, forming the "new" City of Virginia
Beach, one of Virginia's largest.
base carries a Norfolk,
Virginia mailing address (i.e. zip
code 23521), but is physically located in the independent city of Virginia Beach (which
uses zip codes in the 23450 - 23479 range; the base is likely
located in 23455.)