San Diego's Military Presence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    There are approximately 95,000 uniformed military personnel assigned to a variety of commands and units in the San Diego area. Their dependents and families take the total military population in the county in the neighborhood of 175,000.

    The Navy and Marines make up the bulk of the military presence. Those two services operate seven bases in San Diego County.

    NAVY: Navy Region Southwest (NRSW): The Navy's presence in San Diego revolves around NRSW. It is the Naval Shore Installation Management Headquarters for all Navy operations in California, Arizona and Nevada. Structurally, all the area's bases, installations and commands answer to NRSW. There is, however, a separate command and public affairs structure for all those bases and installations. Additionally, many of the units assigned to local bases have responsibility for reporting to a variety of military commands, including Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet, Naval Surface Fleet, and Naval Special Warfare Command.

    Navy Region Southwest Statistics:
    · Aircraft Squadrons: 35
    · Aircraft: 406
    · Ships: 48 Surface Combatants
    · Aircraft Carriers: 2 (The Nimitz and Reagan are nuclear powered.)
    · Submarines: 7
    · Military Sealift Command Ships: 9

    Those 48 surface combatants include all the ships that make up a Carrier Task Force. There is also a variety of other ships such as Guided Missile Cruisers, Destroyers, Guided Missile Destroyers, Frigates and Amphibious Assault Ships that could act in concert with a carrier task force or be assigned to other attack elements as the strategy and tactics might dictate.

     Naval Base Coronado: This is among the best known of the area's naval installations. NAB Coronado actually is three separate bases under one command structure. It includes North Island Naval Air Station, Naval Amphibious Base and OLF Imperial Beach. The Navy's SEAL units are trained and headquartered at North Island and the Amphibious Base. They are a part of Special Warfare Command and would likely be among the first into any action of any kind. North Island is home to numerous aviation units. It has over 235 assigned aircraft, including anti-submarine warfare planes, large cargo planes, several types of planes that are used to ferry personnel and supplies to and from carriers and more than a dozen helicopter squadrons that have a variety of medium to large helicopters assigned.

     Naval Station San Diego: Known locally as 32nd Street, this is the most traditional of the Navy's bases. It is where the majority of the non-submarine combatants are berthed and serviced. While Southwest Command may be the control center on paper, in reality it is 32nd Street where naval operations center.
     Naval Base Point Loma: This is home to the port's seven submarines and their support services. All are nuclear powered, all have tremendous range and all are equipped with missiles that could, and probably would, be used in a surgical attack.

     Naval Medical Center San Diego: NMCSD is better known by its old name of Balboa Naval Hospital. It is one of the Navy's largest medical centers. Along with providing support for active duty military personnel, their dependents and the area's retirees, this also is the hospital to which wounded from the Pacific Rim would be evacuated for extended, extensive or specialized medical care.

    MARINES:

     Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton: Pendleton is the Marines' largest amphibious training facility. It has 17 miles of coastline, 125,000 acres of maneuver land available and can be used to live-fire any tactical weapon the Corps employs. The I Marine Expeditionary Force, the 1st Marine Division and 1st Force Service Support Group are assigned to Pendleton. The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity also are housed on the base. There Are 37,000 active duty Marines and Sailors at Pendleton along with 3,400 civilian employees.

     Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar): Miramar has been in flux and growing since the last round of base closures and the movement of more helicopters and people to the base from El Toro and other deactivated bases. It is the home to the Marine Air Bases Western Area Headquarters, the 3rd Marine Aviation Wing, a huge Combat Service Support Detachment and Marine Aircraft Group 46. One of its units is a Marine Air Carrier Group that can provide aviation assets to the Bremerton, WA, based nuclear aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson. The FA-18 is the base's primary aviation asset. There also are numerous C-130's assigned there. The base is home to more than a dozen squadrons of helicopters that include both CH-46's and CH-53's. The number of Marines assigned there is difficult to determine. Manpower is still in flux because the base is still receiving those previously mentioned people and aircraft from other bases. Most conservative estimates place the number around 10,000. MCAS is the Corps' largest aviation center.

    Marine Recruit Depot (MCRD): MCRD is one of only two Marine Corps recruit training centers. It is the place where Basic Training (Boot Camp) is held for all Marine recruits who enter the Corps from west of the Mississippi. It provides training for roughly half of the 40,000 people who enter the Corps each year. There are 2,200 people permanently assigned. The recruit population fluctuates between 3,000 to 6,000.There also are 825 civilian employees at the Depot.