Chapter XVII
Minor Programs

In addition to the major programs discussed in the foregoing chapters on continental facilities there were many minor construction programs which required relatively small expenditures of funds but which represented an important contribution to the war effort. Among these programs were radio facilities, frontier and section bases, Coast Guard facilities, access roads, security measures, and research facilities.

The Navy's radio communication system, which began to take form shortly after Marconi invented the wireless, had grown in the period between 1915 and 1940 until it encompassed a far-reaching network of high, medium, and low frequency transmitting stations capable of encircling the globe, receiving stations, and a large number of supplementary stations, including numerous installations of air-navigational aids.

The construction program for radio facilities in the continental United States under the Bureau of Yards and Docks during the war was relatively modest, involving the expenditure of about $25,000,000. The comparatively small scope of this program is explained by the fact that the improvements and expansions made during the war were primarily related to equipment under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ships rather than to structures under the cognizance of the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Vast strides were made in modernization of radio equipment and in the application of radar and other electronic developments but at a relatively small cost for facilities. Also, the cost of many special installations, such as those at air stations, was included in the cost of those activities rather than in the general radio program.

There was, however, a program of major proportions accomplished for overseas radio facilities at Hawaii and at many advance bases which are described in Part III.

The largest single construction project was at Washington, D.C., where a communications annex was established at a cost of $5,274,974. New radio transmitting and receiving stations were established on Bainbridge Island, across Puget Sound from Seattle, at a cost of $3,219,104. More than $1,000,000 was spent on improvements at each of the radio stations at Mare Island and San Diego, Calif.

Improvement programs involving expenditures of between half a million and a million dollars each were undertaken at Annapolis, Md., Cheltenham, Md., and Norfolk, Va, on the East Coast, and at Skagg Island, Calif., on the West Coast. Programs involving between $100,000 and $500,000 each were accomplished at eleven East Coast stations, two West Coast stations, and two Gulf Coast stations. These projects included new radio stations at Dupont, S.C., New River, N.C., Quantico, Va., Quonset Point, R.I., Squantum, Mass., Point Isabel, Texas, Chatham, Mass., Jupiter, Fla., and Alameda and Castroville, Calif.

Another relatively small program which contributed significantly to the anti-submarine warfare was the establishment of a considerable number of section bases and frontier bases along the East, West, and Gulf Coasts. These bases were created to serve as home operational ports for the many small craft patrolling the entire coastal area to prevent enemy submarines from lying in wait along coastal shipping lanes or entering the many inlets along the coast, particularly on the East and Gulf Coasts.

The facilities constructed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks during the war consisted, in the main, of berthing, small boat repair facilities, and housing and recreational facilities for the personnel of the patrol squadrons.

Civilian contractors worked at 42 of these continental stations under the supervision of the Bureau, at an overall cost of $37,733,111. The largest single project was at Little Creek, Va., where a section base was constructed at a cost of $4,257,148. The largest West Coast station in this category was at San Francisco, where a total of $3,824,221 was spent. On the Gulf Coast, the section base at New Orleans involved the expenditure of $3,093,062.


Six other section bases costing more than $1,000,000 each were built at Newport, R.I., Morro Bay, Calif., Burrwood, La., Morehead City, N.C., Tompkinsville, N.Y., and Ocracoke, N.C.

In addition to the general programs which have been described, there were a large number of special facilities of various kinds constructed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks during the war for other bureaus, such as expansions of the Naval Research laboratory and of the David Taylor Model Basin, at Carderock, Md., and similar activities particularly in the fields of research and development. Many of these projects involved exceptionally complex technical problems related to the tremendous advancement of scientific knowledge attained at such incredible speed during the war. The total appropriations for such projects not included in any of the major programs amounted to $187,965,966.

The overall program for new and expanded facilities at continental bases required authorized appropriations of $4,932,422,211. Although space does not permit a complete and detailed recapitulation of all the projects undertaken in this gigantic program or a presentation as graphic as might be desired of the complete picture of the intricacies, the urgency, and the romance of this vast undertaking, it is manifest from the abridged summary which has been compiled that the Bureau of Yards and Docks played a vital part in the expansion of the Navy's shore establishment to meet the ballooning requirements of the war and contributed in no small measure, through its speedy accomplishment of this program, to the ultimate victory.


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