Norfolk is home port for all US Navy aircraft carriers on the East Coast
Source: I-564 Intermodal Connector Project, Project Fact Sheet
The largest number of military facilities in Virginia are the 45 National Guard armories. The National Guard is the state militia, with 9,000 people serving under the command of the governor - except when it is federalized. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Virginia National Guard units were mobilized and sent overseas.1
Units were reorganized and relocated at the start of the 21st Century, integrating the National Guard into the Department of Defense's war-fighting plans. When the Federal government relocated units at Federal military bases during the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, the Air Virginia National Guard also shifted facilities.
The Virginia Air National Guard was established in 1947, and has two units in Virginia. The 203rd Red Horse Squadron is based at Virginia Beach. What today is the 192nd Fighter Wing was based at Sandston until 2007. It shifted its base from Richmond International Airport to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, when its pilots transitioned from flying the F-16 Falcon to the F-22 Raptor:2
first take-off of an airplane from a ship occurred in 1910 with a launch from the USS Birmingham in Hampton Roads
Source: Smithsonian Institution, Events, 1910, USA, Virginia (VA), Hampton Roads, First Takeoff From Ship
Some military facilities in Virginia are Federal - the Pentagon, the Norfolk Naval Base, Fort A.P Hill, etc. The personnel and contracts associated with those facilities are economically significant. The high-tech service economy of Northern Virginia developed in part because the Pentagon hired contractors to provide information technology services.
Maintaining Federally-funded military bases is a priority objective for Virginia's elected officials. Since the start of the Cold War, all US Senators from Virginia - no matter what their political party - have opposed shifting any aircraft carriers away from Norfolk to Florida or West Coast bases. Each ship based at the Norfolk Naval Base helps to stimulate the local economy.
The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process threatened to close the Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach in 2005. Local officials had rezoned property near the air base to allow housing and commercial development, resulting in higher risk if a jet experienced a problem during landing or takeoff.
subdivisions near Oceana NAS
Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wetlands Mapper
In the consolidation of military bases during the BRAC process, Pentagon officials sought to move fighter squadrons to facilities where costs of operations could be lowered. The cost of an accident at Oceana, in both human lives and money, were increasing as development increased near the flight paths, and the BRAC commission proposed moving the fighter jets at Oceana to Cecil Field, Florida unless the city reduced the risk by limiting development.
the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process moved the 192nd Fighter Wing of the Virginia Air National Guard from Richmond to Langley Air Force Base
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online
The city objected to the claims of BRAC commissioners that incompatible uses had been authorized by rezonings over the last 30 years. Instead, the city claimed that the Navy had expanded the map of accident potential zones after rezoning had occurred, except in 4% of the new residential units that had been authorized after 1975.
Virginia Beach and state officials responded to the military concerns regarding encroachment. The city and the Navy completed a Joint Land Use Study, the city committed to acquire lands to block development in Accident Potential Zone 1 (APZ-1), the state agreed to supply partial funding for purchasing land, and the Master Jet Base remained open.3
development rights for much of the area near Oceana NAS were established prior to 1975 (brown), while some areas (red) were rezoned after Accident Potential Zone 1 was defined
Source: The Truth About Encroachment
A similar effort in the City of Chesapeake was designed to preserve the usability of Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field. The Fentress Airfield Overlay District defines a zone between Fentress and Oceana where development will be limited through land purchases and rezoning decisions by the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. New houses within that zone would trigger new noise complaints, as jets practicing takeoffs and landings.
In 2013, the City of Chesapeake approved construction of 31 houses near Fentress, triggering such a negative response by the Navy that the city quickly rescinded its decision and agreed to discourage development on properties which experience and average sound level of 65-decibel to 70-decibels.4
the City of Chesapeake and State of Virginia fund land purchases to limit encroachment at Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online
Not all military-focused facilities in Virginia are Federal. The Commonwealth of Virginia owns Camp Pendleton. The massive shipyard at Newport News is owned by a private corporation. Radford Army Ammunition Plant is a government-owned facility, but operated by a private contractor. A large number of private contractors and consultants occupy buildings near military bases and supply workers on the bases, especially in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
the Norfolk Naval Base was established in World War I as the home of the Atlantic Fleet
Source: National Archives, A port quarter view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) passing the naval station, 02/18/1991
the 1710th Transportation Company from Emporia returned from Afghanistan in February, 2014
Source: Virginia National Guard
Fort Monroe was built after the War of 1812, and remained under Union control throughout the Civil War
Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated History of the Civil War, Fort Monroe, Virginia as Seen From the James River (p.195)
proposed routes for light rail extension to the Norfolk Naval Station would trigger revitalization/redevelopment in different parts of Norfolk
Source: Hampton Roads Transit Naval Station Norfolk Transit Extension Study, Naval Station Norfolk Alignment Concepts
the military practices for recovery of jet fuel, if a plane from Joint Base Langley-Eustis crashes
Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, JBLE conducts aircraft crash exercise
Marines with the Maritime Raid Force practicing Visit, Board, Search and Seizure operations in Hampton Roads before deployment
Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, Marines with the MRF, 22nd MEU participate in a VBSS course
military units practice amphibious operations on Utah Beach at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story
Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, Trident Sun 18
the USS Wisconsin is now a tourist attraction in Norfolk