Keyport, Wash. – Captain David Kohnke, commanding officer of Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport (NUWC Keyport), and Commander Dustin Demorest, chief staff officer of NUWC Keyport, kicked off their command’s centennial celebration by raising a special commemorative flag on June 27 at Naval Base Kitsap-Keyport (NBK-Keyport).
The flag, suggested by NUWC Keyport employee Wayne Jordheim, will be flown at NBK-Keyport through the end of 2014 as a reminder of the important contributions the men and women of NUWC Keyport have made to national defense over the past 100 years.
The command now called NUWC Keyport began due to the U.S. Navy’s recognition, at the beginning of the last century, that both the Pacific Fleet and the undersea domain would be increasingly important to America’s security and prosperity.
In 1908, a group of Navy officers were given the task of finding a perfect location for a West Coast torpedo testing base. They were told to find “a clear water site … not over 10 fathoms deep and not under five, with a sandy bottom and virtually no current.” The sea conditions also were required to “have little tide and must not be too cold.” Those specifications and many other desirable characteristics were found in the tiny, isolated village and peninsula of Keyport, Wash. Eventually, the Navy purchased the land required for what was to be known as the Pacific Coast Torpedo Station, and the first Commanding Officer took charge on November 11, 1914. At the time the base had no other Sailors, no workforce, and no buildings usable for its designated purpose.
From those humble beginnings NUWC Keyport has grown well beyond both its original home and its original mission. Today the Command has facilities and operations in California, Guam, Hawaii, British Columbia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and personnel working in several other states and countries. NUWC Keyport’s current mission is to provide advanced technical capabilities for test and evaluation, in-service engineering, maintenance and industrial base support, fleet material readiness, and obsolescence management for undersea warfare.
Other centennial commemoration activities, on base and at venues and events in nearby communities, will take place during the remainder of 2014.