By Michael Vernon Voss
WPNSTA Yorktown Public Affairs Officer
Sailors, civilian employees and community members from York County and the Greater Williamsburg community came together during a week’s worth of events to celebrate the 98th birthday of Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Aug. 8-12.
Originally acquired by order of Presidential Proclamation as the Naval Mine Depot on August 7, 1918, today, after 98 years, the weapons station still serves as one of the Navy’s “explosive corridors” to the sea.
To mark the anniversary of the historic base, this year, Capt. Paul C. Haebler, Commanding Officer, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown accepted an official proclamation recognizing the 98th birthday of the installation from Jeffrey D. Wassmer, Chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors.
Additionally, Haebler along with more than 200 local attendees were treated to a public concert from the Navy Fleet Forces Command Band held at the historic Yorktown Beach.
The celebrations continued on August 12, as more than 100 runners from the installation and local area took part in the annual 8K Fear the Pier race and a special meal held at the Scudder Hall Galley on the weapons station.
“I echo the sentiments of a thankful community, when I say Happy Birthday to the Sailors, civilians and dependents who enable Naval Weapons Station Yorktown to continue meeting our security mission,” said Wassmer. “This installation is of strategic importance to our nation, and you are important to the residents of this community.”
Today, the more than 2,000 Department of Defense employees and contractors assigned to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown contribute more than $300,000 to the local economy, but more importantly they are active volunteers at area schools and Boys and Girls Clubs across the Hampton Roads area.
“The birthday of the installation not only offers a chance to celebrate with our local community members, but it also is an opportunity for us to remember the history of this once mining depot that today delivers more than 90,000 tons of ordnance each year to the Atlantic Fleet,” said Haebler. “As the installation nears its centennial anniversary, I can say with confidence our Sailors and civilian employees start each day remembering to honor the past and look to the future."