Skip to comments.My visit to US Naval Base Coronado - April 8-9, 2012
Posted on 04/16/2012 10:24:25 AM PDT by Jeff Head
| Over the weekend begininng Saturday, April 7th, 2012, myself and my wife were down in southern California, in San Diego. We were there for my daughter's wedding on Monday, April 9th, in Coronado, California on the beach at the Hotel del Coronado.
Beautiful setting, but also the home of the Naval Base Coranado and a lot of the Amphibios Warfare Command on the West Coast. Across the strait was the anchorage for many of the vessels.
We took some time to visit and photograph the vessesl we could see, and there were a lot of them, a real delight for any naval enthusiast.
First of all, off the coast of the island, either doing exercises, or standing as an ABM sentinel, we immediately saw an Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS Destroyer. She was very well defined with very sleek lines and very squared away. This was a Flight IIA Burke, with the full helicopter hangar on the aft end.
US NAVY ARLEIGH BURKE FLIGHT IIA DDG OFF THE COAST
While we were watching and photographing these vessels a US Marine Sea Hawk helicopter flew over and I got a picture of it. There were numerous helo overflights throughout the times we were there.
Across the strait were the anchorages for many ships of the US 7th Fleet. I tried to get pictures of as many as I could:
US NAVY WASP CLASS LHD, USS BOXER, LHD-4
US NAVY HOSPITAL SHIP
Driving across the Coronado Bridge, we were treated to a close up view of a new, San Antonio Class LPD undergoing maintenance while docked there. This is the USS Green Bay, LPD-20.
US NAVY SAN ANTONIO CLASS LPD, USS GREEN BAY, LPD-20
All along the line were more Burke destroyers, a Tconderoga Class Cruisers, another Wasp Class LHD and other support vessels.
US NAVY WASP CLASS LHD, USS KEARSARGE, LHD-3 & ANOTHER BURKE DDG
Here’s a journal of my trip down to San Diego. We visited the Naval Base on Coronado Island and the anchorages across the strait. We were there for my daughters wedding on Monday the ninth, but this was a lot of fun too and I though folks on FR might enjoy seeing the photos I got.
Thanks for the great pix! I’m going to be in Coronado in three weeks and you have me all psyched up now!
Great pictures, Jeff. Looks like you had great weather too. What a fantastic setting for a wedding. Who was driving and who was snapping pictures crossing the Coronado bridge?
Any day in San Diego is a great day....
Thanks for posting.
Best duty station ever! I lived in Coronado for two years when I was DCA in the Vincennes. Plus another year when I was a baby SWO at Surface Warfare Officer School at the amphib base. I wish I still lived there...
Like going home again. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the pix! I was stationed at NAB Coronado from 1986 to 1988 (BMU ONE).
Ah yes, NINAS, I will always remember my stay there. They provided me with a car and driver, and I was an Army Capt. at that time.
I had a good friend who was a stockbroker and who handled various financial things for some number of Naval officers. I didn’t know nor want to know the details. Anyway, he wangled a tour of the John C. Stennis (carrier) for which we drove down from LA to do. Great fun, massive ship.
Thanks...it was a fantastic wedding ceremony for our daughter...exactly what she wanted.
My wife snapped the pic from the bridge as we went over. I told her I wanted a good pic of the vessel closest to the bridge and she came through magnificantly.
Great Pictures Even Greater when We Remember what you have been through to get there. Pray all is going well.
Thanks to all of you guys. Glad to provide some ties to good memories. Weather was great...pics were outstanding.
The one Burke out there was interesting. I know we have several ABM vessels now posted along the coast...do not know if that was this one’s mission. They are basically a point defense weapons for incoming ballistic missiles and help augment the longer ranged land based installations at Vandenberg and up in Alaska.
God bless each of you...and thank you for your service to our Republic.
I see they have consolidated all the local commands (except Naval Station San Diego) under Naval Base Coronado. I worked at Naval Air Station, North Island for my last active duty station. Great drive up the Silver Strand from Imperial Beach every morning. Used to see the Buds trainees humping their rears off.
Wow, they've really built out the Naval Amphibious Base since I last saw it in 1986. So they now dock the amphib ships there, rather than the Naval Station at 32nd Street? Best to you.
9,500 tons. Some Destroyer.
I sailed on 4,500 ton Destroyers.
We could use about 60 hulls in that 4,500 ton class. Of course, with all the modern voodoo.
Wife and I were in SD last month. We toured the retired carrier Midway and got 100 or more pix.
Breeze was cool, off the ocean. We expected it to be a bit warmer. Came home with San Diego sweatshirts.
Not to get too technical, but the ships homeported in San Diego actually belong to Third Fleet. Seventh Fleet is embarked on USS Blueridge, homeported in Yokosuka Japan. Once they deploy and enter the Seventh Fleet AOR they chop to Seventh Fleet, unless they are part of te FDNF.
Yep...lots of tonnage there.
The wedding on the beach outside Htoel Del Cornado was great, exactly what my daughter wanted and envisioned.
All the Navy sites were a big plus/treat for yours truly.
No problem, you of course are correct. The 3rd fleet is off the US West Coast and the 7th is forward deployed...thanks for correcting me.
Thank you...for your faith and prayers.
it was a great time being there and getting all the photos...and, of course, attending and enjoying my daughter’s wedding and seeing her so happy.
God’s speed to you and yours.
Agreed. And the newer Burke Flight IIIs are going to be over 10,000 tons. I believe they are actually going to call those cruisers.
I am hoping we take Lockheed and others up on the multi-mission combatanbt, which is a frigate at the 4,000 ton mark. we need them to replace the Perrys and to augment the surface fleet for medium threat environment, and to assist in escort duties. The LCSs are going to be hard pressed to do any of those missions.
They will perform well in the lotorals against FACs and pirates and drug loards...but not likely in medium threat or those escort duties. The ASW package may help them actually do a credible ASW escort job...but they need more endurance.
Anyhow, the multi-mission combatant FFG is something we do need a bunch of.
I wish we had had time to go over and go through the Midway. I would have loved that.
Oh well, all the more reason for another trip down that way. LOL!
You’re welcome. It was a great visit.
No doubt you know the Midway is now a museum but could be reactivated if needed (so they said.)
$15 buys a senior pass on the carrier. Each visitor gets a handset and headphones that broadcast a short narrative on each exhibit inside and up top. There are 150 + of these. Plan a full day to see it all.
There are a couple dozen aircraft from WW II to the modern era on the carrier. Some I’d never heard of, including the RA-5 Vigilante.
Anyone visiting San Diego, don’t forget to visit the Midway, take a harbor excursion and a short drive to the old Point Loma Lighthouse - Cabrillo National Monument where you get a great view of the harbor, North Island landing strips, glimpses of the submarine docks and San Diego skyline in general.
The Hotel Del has shops directly underneath it and makes for nice window browsing.
Dh grew up in San Diego as a Navy brat (his dad is a retired Master Chief) and was stationed at NAB Coronado with SBU-12 when we got married in March 1995. I miss the beauty of the place, but not the wildfires or gangbangers :( His next duty station was in Puerto Rico at the now-defunct Roosey Roads—our first child is a native Puerto Rican ;)
WOOOOHOOOO! Congratulations to your daughter and her husband and their respective families and friends, Jeff.
I’ve visited San Diego 3-4 times (from Michigan) with my family. It is one of my favorite places. Thanks very much for the pictures, Jeff. I pray that you are doing well.
WOOOOHOOOO! GRRRRRREAT news! BTTT!
The A-5 Vigilante was a big, supersonic aircraft designed as a long range naval strike bomber to deliver nuclear weapons against the USSR and her allies.
The RA-5C was the recon derivitive when the long range nuclear option was removed from the carriers in 1963 in favor of SLBMs from nuclear SSBN submarines. The recon version served through Vietnam and beyond until 1979.
The Tomcat and later the Hornet have since taken over thos tactical and strike recon duties.
Here's a good pic of the strike version of the aircraft operating off of the USS Enterprise in 1962:
In addition to the five A-5s, you can see an A-4 on the port side forward cat, and an F-8 Crusader sitting on the forward starboard elevator.
One of the stories mentioned that the F-4 pilots would ask the A-5 to slow down so they could stay with it.
Thank you for your service...my Dad was a combat vet of WW II in the Pacific Theater in the Navy starting in 1943. He came home in 1946 after an additional year helping to ferry Japanese nationals back to Japan from China. He stayed in the reserves for ten more years and was a full Lieutenant when he got out.
My son in law is an E-7 up at Bangor sub base north of Bremerton, Washington, but has just been accepted into a Officer program where he can become either a pharmicist or nurse, where the Navy pays his college and when he gets out he is a Lt JG, with a ten year commitment.
Anyhow, we have a very strong Navy tradition.
Yep...back then imagine...we had several squadrons of those Mach 2+ nuclear bombers parked on carrier decks around the world where they could cruise right up close and launch at you with very little warning if it came to it.
But, the SSBN nuclear subs accomplished the same thing with even more megatons delievered much faster, and even much harder to find.
Now with the 14 Ohio class SSBNs and their multiple warhead missiles...and our proven accuracy and technology (as opposed to the very faulty Soviet and Russian stuff) we have many many times more capability.
So the carriers understandably went back to tactical missions and duties as opposed to strategic strike missions.
Thanks Jeff! Wonderful shots of what I know was a great time.
One description I read said the A-5 “pooped” the nuke out the back of the airplane. And, sometimes, there was a “draft effect” with other weapons that canceled it’s accuracy.
Oh Jeff, after such a long hard struggle with your health you made it to your daughter’s wedding!
So very happy you had such a wonderful trip.
I’ve never been to San Diego before, but we’re going out there next month to visit in-laws. I look forward to a visit on the Midway. Heard a lot about the zoo there; that’s on top of my list of things to see.
Hear hear....my first thoughts as well
The USS FORREST SHERMAN (DD-931) class destroyers came out at the end of the Korean War in 1953. They started the USN on its growth cycle from 4,600 tons and 418 feet to the current DDG-51 class 8,400 ton, 510 feet. [When you add two helos, you get a huge growth spurt.]
My days on tin cans were in the stone age: USS HALSEY POWELL (DD-686) Fletcher class at 2,900 tons (fl) and 376 feet. Later on a Sumner class USS WALDRON (DD-699) and USS STRONG (DD-758) at 3,200 tons (fl) and 376 feet. The World War 2 built destroyers had very few creature comforts but they were tough ships that lasted a long time and served well.
Lucky you! Used to live in Escondido (North of San Diego). Try to find time to visit the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park located in Escondido. Just checked they now call in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We visited there all the time and really is a special place. Go in the morning as it does get hot!
On the drive to Escondido up 15 N you will go past Miramar Naval Air Station which used to be a busy place. Top Gun school located there.
Been to all the Sea World’s and San Diego has the best! Try to visit that as the gardens and flowers are beautiful and the shows are great. Check the sun angle and try to sit accordingly- can be roasting if full sun for an hour.
Just some thoughts for your family to consider, wish I could come!!
Thanks for the tips, mojo. My wife’s been out there a couple of times to visit her bro who’s lived there for about 30 years. I’ve never heard a bad thing said about San Diego. Only thing I’m not looking forward to is that long plane ride from West Palm Beach to SD via Atlanta.
You do know that Miramar is now a Marine Air Station? Or were you referring to the past? The Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) is now integrated into the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center at NAS Fallon, NV.
Talking past- 1980’s. Thanks for the update.
7th Fleet is WESTPAC. EASTPAC is 3rd Fleet.
Yep...already fixed that on my site...was my bad, &th is forward deployed in Japan.
Another freeper also pointed thios out on this thread and I appreciate it.
They say San Diego is the highest concentration of US Naval vessels in the world after Norfolk. I believe it.
The entire Sound around Bremerton is pretty big too, as would be Hawaii and Japan.
But yes, this is the 3rd fleet. Thanks for pointing it out.
Pearl Harbor has full complement of surface vessals and subs but much of the time they are deployed. Carriers are in and out since no one wants another December 7th in the Duck Pond. When a carrier arrives, it’s rarely inside the harbor unless for a refit. Where the subs are is anyone’s guess.
The same consolidation of bases occurred in San Diego with all but one of the Naval installations (Naval Base, San Diego).
I always thought that to have different command structures were redundant (think redundant fedgov agencies), so I think this a good thing. Of course, each base still has it's own designation and base commander.
It's always a thrill when a carrier returns to port.
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