Naval Magazine Indian Island notes 75 years

Posted 5/24/16

Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island celebrated its 75th year of operation on May 13, with military personnel and civilian employees of the installation honoring the island’s rich heritage with a …

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Naval Magazine Indian Island notes 75 years


Naval Magazine (NAVMAG) Indian Island celebrated its 75th year of operation on May 13, with military personnel and civilian employees of the installation honoring the island’s rich heritage with a beach beautification cleanup project and a cook-out lunch.

Jefferson County Commissioner David Sullivan attended the festivities and delivered an official proclamation on behalf of the county.

“Jefferson County and Naval Magazine Indian Island have a long and prosperous relationship all the way back to World War II,” said Sullivan.

“The Navy adds greatly to the economy of our county, and Navy personnel are active members in our community. They join in the local PTA, they coach Little League teams and they are a solid part of our growth.”

Commissioners Kathleen Kler and Phil Johnson signed the county proclamation along with Sullivan. Cmdr. Nicholas Vande Griend, NAVMAG Indian Island’s commanding officer, accepting the proclamation on behalf of the Navy.

On Aug. 1, 1939, the commandant of the 13th Naval District received a recommendation from the Bureau of Ordnance to purchase the 2,715-acre Indian Island for use as an ammunition depot. Later that year, construction of the naval magazine and net depot began.

On May 10, 1941, the Naval Magazine, Indian Island and the Naval Net Depot were established. The unit was responsible for producing and maintaining the steel nets used to protect naval installations in Puget Sound from attack by motor torpedo boats and submarines.

In 1945, the magazine and depot were consolidated. In June 1948, the base was renamed Indian Island Annex to the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot, Bangor, on Hood Canal.

By 1959, the station was placed on reduced activity status. From 1960 to 1975, Indian Island was mainly used for storage. Naval Torpedo Station Keyport assumed its control in October 1970.

The construction of the Trident ballistic missile submarine base at Bangor necessitated a relocation of Bangor’s ordnance facilities. In June 1976, the reactivation of Indian Island began. The goal was a facility capable of handling conventional ordnance support to the United States’ Pacific Fleet.

On June 1, 1979, Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station, Indian Island Detachment, was active.

In October 1992, responsibility for Indian Island’s operations transferred to the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California. The station was renamed Detachment Port Hadlock. A year later, with the establishment of the Naval Ordnance Center, the station became the Naval Ordnance Center, Pacific Division, Port Hadlock Detachment.

On Oct. 1, 2000, it became Naval Magazine Indian Island, part of the Navy Northwest Region.

NAVMAG Indian Island is the Navy’s only deep-water port on the West Coast capable of loading munitions for all U.S. military branches, according to a press release. It is also the U.S. military’s largest ordnance storage site on the West Coast, handling small arms ammunition, artillery shells and missiles. The armory supports joint Department of Defense exercises that test and validate the mobilization of munitions throughout the Pacific theater of operations.

NAVMAG Indian Island was originally designed for the storage of munitions and the assembly of mines and submarine netting. The island is also home to the DOD’s largest container crane, known by Indian Island personnel as “Big Blue.” Big Blue has a 40-ton lift capacity and operates on a rail system.

In 2000, the NAVMAG Indian Island’s capabilities were upgraded for the efficient shipment of containerized ammunition for the purpose of surge mobilization. Not just the Navy, but all U.S. military services and allied forces depend upon Indian Island.

“Our emphasis has always been and will always be on safety, accuracy and efficiency; in that order,” said Vande Griend. “We are proud to provide the logistics backbone for our fleet.”

The 2,700-acre island hosts a wealth of cultural and natural resources, including several Native-American archeological sites, historical pioneer homestead sites, and WWII era buildings. The island is also home to a wide diversity of wildlife species, including bald eagles.

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the command earned platinum level Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Awards. Likewise, the ordnance depot earned the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Safety Award for small industrial commands in 2013 and has been nominated to receive the award again this year.

“Naval Magazine Indian Island and the people who work here deliver ordnance that ensures the Navy’s ability to project power around the world,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Ruth, the commander of Navy Region Northwest. “We pay tribute here to their first 75 years of a job well done and we expect continued excellence in the years to come.”

If you have additional questions concerning this news release, please call Phil Guerrero, Naval Magazine Indian Island Public Affairs Officer at 360-396-4955, or via email:



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