The Naval Amphibious Base (NAB), Coronado was established in 1943 after the land was literally created from the dredging of San Diego Bay done to allow large ships used in World War II to steam into Naval Station San Diego. It is the only Naval amphibious base on the West Coast. The amphibious base includes 5,500 yards of Pacific Ocean and bayside beachfront that is used for training. This area, along with 2,000 yards of Pacific Ocean beachfront on the Silver Strand, provide operators with 7,500 yards of expansive beaches, unique topography, and on-base facilities that encompass a critical area for amphibious and clandestine training in support of littoral, unconventional, and special warfare operations. NAB is the home to over 30 tenant commands with a population of approximately 5,000 personnel, including major commands such as Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific (COMNAVSURFPAC), Commander Naval Special Warfare (SPECWAR) Command and the Commander Expeditionary Warfare Training Group (EWTG) Pacific. NAB is also the home of the Navy's Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) Team.
The amphibious base houses Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, responsible for the training, maintenance and crews of the approximately 90 ships of the Pacific Fleet and Commander Naval Special Warfare Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Also located there are most of the Naval Expeditionary and Naval Special Warfare units of the Pacific Fleet as well as the famed Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs.
The Naval Amphibious Base was renamed in 1946, although it had been in operation as the Amphibious Training Base since 1943. It is host to thirty commands including the headquarters for the Naval Special Warfare Command, a second echelon command which is headquarters for America's elite maritime special operations forces - the U.S. Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen.
Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and its adjacent beaches provide training for Navy SEALs, amphibious insertion and other small units. The beach was recently designated a critical habitat pursuant to the Endangered Species Act for the Western Snowy Plover and the California Least Tern. To support the recovery of these species, the Navy now physically marks nesting areas and reschedule training to other areas during nesting season. The Navy also conducts an active predator control program on Coronado’s beaches to protect nesting birds. Population counts are increasing for both species to the extent that in the year 2000 about 40-50% of the beach area normally available for training was lost to nesting.
Formally commissioned in January 1944, Naval Amphibious Base (NAB), Coronado provides a shore base for the operations, training, and support of naval amphibious units on the West Coast. It is one of only two Navy amphibious training bases in the United States. NAB is approximately 1,000 acres in size and is composed of the Main Base, training beaches, California least tern preserve, recreational marina, enlisted family housing, and state park. State Highway 75 separates NAB into surfside (ocean) and bayside portions. The majority of the bayside is composed of fill materials dredged from San Diego Bay in the early 1940s. Amphibious training is conducted on both surfside and bayside beaches. To the south of the Main Base, the majority of amphibious training activities take place on about 257 acres of ocean beachfront property, leased from the State of California. A least tern nesting preserve is located on North and South Delta Beach between the NAB Marina and Main Base. NAB is located within the city of Coronado, California, a community of approximately 30,000. The city of Coronado covers nearly 9 square miles of land, and NAB lies south of the main residential and commercial portions of the city. Another naval facility, Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, is located northwest of the city of Coronado. South of NAB is the Silver Strand State Beach.
In June of 1943, the Secretary of the Navy authorized the establishment of the Amphibious Training Base in the San Diego area to meet wartimes demands for trained landing craft crews. These crews were deployed to the South Pacific area of operations, where their successful and historical efforts were contributory to the conclusion of World War II. The streets of the base bear the names of those famous battles which led to the defeat of the Japanese Empire: Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Tulagi, and Bougainville, to name a few.
In 1946, the base was renamed Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado and its primary mission was changed to that of providing major administrative and logistical support to the amphibious units which are located on the base. The base also conducts research and tests of newly developed amphibious equipment.