Special Report

Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia Is the Largest in the Country

There are more than 40 naval bases spread across the country. The one officially known as Naval Station Norfolk is the largest. It is also the largest military base in the country based on active-duty personnel. NS Norfolk has 4 miles of waterfront in southeastern Virginia in the Sewells Point peninsula of Norfolk city. It is the headquarters of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet.

Naval Station Norfolk supports 75 ships and 134 aircraft in 14 piers and 11 hangars, according to the site Naval Technology. The piers are located west of the entryway to the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The site describes Norfolk as “providing facilities and installation services for the biggest concentration of the US Navy.”

The base was first established in 1917 as the U.S. entered World War I. It has become a huge naval shipyard and repair location for naval warships. This part of the base describes itself as “America’s Shipyard.” (This is the largest military base in each state.)

The number of active-duty military personnel stationed at Norfolk is just over 47,000. Including family members and other personnel assigned to the base, over 100,000 people work and live at the base, according to the Department of Defense military demographics data for 2019, the most recent year of comprehensive data by base.

Across the 26 military largest installations, active-duty personnel range from just over 10,000 to nearly 50,000.

These are America’s largest military bases.

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