Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst is actually located about 3 miles away from the town of Lakehurst, New Jersey, in Ocean County. Recently, in October, 2009, the base became part of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which is often called JB MDL. The station is operated by the Naval Air Systems Command, and is a major military airport.
Unfortunately, this base has a tragic past. It is primarily known as the location of the Hindenburg disaster, which took place on May 6, 1937. Before the disaster happened, Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst was the center of naval Airship development. The station played home to 4 major airships the Navy had at that time. One of them, the Shenandoah, had its own hanger built, the Hanger One. For quite some time, this hanger held the world record for the largest single room. Today, the station is used primarily to ensure the safety of aircrafts, especially during launch periods. It’s one of the navy’s primary control sites for aircraft launches, and oversees the safety of hundreds of launches each year.
One of only 2 Navy bases in New Jersey, Naval Weapons Station Earle has been in operation since 1943, but not under the same name. During World War 2, there was a very great need for ammo and supply depots on the east coast, near New York City. Naval Weapons Station Earle was the answer. The depot was originally called the Naval Ammunition Depot Earle. It was named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, the chief of the Bureau of Ordinance during World War 1. The base was constructed in a perfect location: right on the water, for easy ship access, and right on several railroads, so ammunition and other supplies could be shipped to and from the depot easily.
The base was officially commissioned on December 13, 1943, and work continued on it for several years more. After World War 2 ended, the base, still called Naval Ammunition Depot Earle, continued to expand. It was finally renamed to Naval Weapons Station Earle in 1974, and divided into 2 main sections: main side, and the waterfront area.
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