By Michael Vernon Voss
NWS Yorktown Public Affairs Officer
YORKTOWN, Va., -- Retired and active duty service members, civilian employees, local government officials and the citizens of Yorktown and Williamsburg enjoyed a week’s worth of events celebrating the 99th birthday of Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Yorktown.
The week’s celebratory events began Aug. 8 with a U.S. Fleet Forces Four Star Edition Band concert and a Gloucester High School Navy JROTC silent drill performance in front of a crowd of more than 200 at the historic Yorktown Riverwalk.
As part of the ceremony, Sheila Noll, a Chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors, presented Capt. Matthew A. Kosnar, Commanding Officer, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, the official proclamation from York County decreeing 7 Aug. Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Day.
During Chairman Noll’s speech, she recalled the long history of the once Naval Mine Depot and its evolution to today's preeminent East Coast weapons station.
“This birthday represents more than just 99th years of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown supporting the Atlantic Fleet,” said Kosnar. “This birthday represents 99 years of a relationship between this installation and our community neighbors. An installation’s ability to successfully support the Navy mission is directly tied to community support. It is tied to how Sailors feel about the local community they frequent daily, and how that community feels about them. Here, we are really fortunate that the Yorktown, Williamsburg and surrounding communities have embraced the NWS Yorktown mission and the men and women who serve here.”
Additional celebrations continued to honor the momentous occasion, including a special meal and installation-wide quarterly awards recognition ceremony held at the installation’s Scudder Hall Galley that was attended by more than 200 Sailors, Civilian Employees, Retirees and members of the Greater Williamsburg Tourism and Chamber Alliance.
Lastly, to finish the week’s events, the installation opened its gates more than 100 runners from the installation and local area to take part in the annual 8K Fear the Pier race Aug. 11.
“I would like to offer my utmost appreciation and respect to those who have served and continue to serve our nation’s defense mission from this historic installation,” said Kosnar. “Commanding a talented and cohesive team like we have here at NWS Yorktown makes my job easy. This installation and its 37 tenant units have been making history for 99 years, and we are set to continue that history into our centennial next year.”
Chosen because of its prime location where both the Ohio and Chesapeake railroads came together, near the York River and its close proximity to Naval Station Norfolk, NWS Yorktown originated as Naval Mine Depot in 1918 and was combined with a Seabee training facility, now Cheatham Annex, becoming NWS Yorktown. Today, 99 years later, WPNSTA Yorktown is home to more than 37 tenant units who function as a team to provide ordnance to Navy Fleet as well as logistical supplies and expeditionary training to the entire DOD while contributing more than $253 million dollars annually in economic impact to the local economy.