Naval Station Argentia (IATA: NWP) is a former base of the United States Navy that operated from 1941 to 1994. It was established in the community of Argentia in what was then the Dominion of Newfoundland, which later became the tenth Canadian province, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Naval Air Station Argentia
|Operator||United States Navy|
|Time zone||NST (UTC−03:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||NDT (UTC−02:30)|
|Elevation AMSL||28 ft / 9 m|
Naval Air Station Argentia
Location in Newfoundland and Labrador
Established under the British-US destroyers for bases agreement of 1940, the base was first occupied on 25 January 1941 following the expropriation of the flat headland formed by a small natural bay called Little Placentia Sound and the western end facing Placentia Bay by the Newfoundland government; over 400 families were displaced.
Civilian construction crews from civilian contractors George A. Fuller Company and Merritt-Chapman and Scott Corporation, rushed to build the base as well as an adjoining air field. On 15 July 1941, the Naval Operating Base was commissioned. On 12 October 1942 the 17th Naval Construction Battalion began to arrive at the base and worked jointly with the civilians until 5 May 1943. At that time it became a completely military operation. Before that happened the 64th CB started to arrive in March followed by the 69th CB in June. On November 17, 1943, Construction Battalion Maintenance Units (CBMUs) 525 and 526 arrived to take over the station maintenance with the CB's having completed the base's construction.
On 7 August 1941 the heavy cruiser USS Augusta carrying U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in the anchorage at Little Placentia Bay off the base. Roosevelt inspected the base construction progress and did some fishing from Augusta over the next two days. Augusta was joined by the British warship HMS Prince of Wales carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 9 August 1941. While in the Argentia anchorage from 9–12 August, the chiefs of staff of Britain and the U.S. met to discuss war strategies and logistics once the U.S. joined in the war. The two leaders and their aides also negotiated the wording of a press release that they called a "joint statement". That press release was issued on 14 August 1941 in Washington, D.C. and was issued simultaneously in London, England. Several days later the Daily Herald would characterize the public statement as being the Atlantic Charter. However, there never was a signed, legal document called the "Atlantic Charter". Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill signed it. The conference concluded the evening of 12 August 1941 with the British and American warships and their escorts passing in review before departing the area for their home ports. The joint declaration was publicly announced on 14 August, presumably after Prince of Wales had returned to UK waters.
On 28 August 1941 Naval Air Station Argentia was commissioned. NAS Argentia was built on the plateau atop the triangular peninsula adjacent to Naval Station Argentia's anchorage and shore facilities. The air station was used to base convoy protection, coastal patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, both land-based aircraft and seaplanes. While NAS Argentia was nominally an independent facility from Naval Station Argentia, both facilities are largely viewed as one.
Beginning that summer, USS Prairie was used to house Flag Headquarters at the base.
February 1942 saw the Argentia base at the centre of one of the worst accidental disasters in the US Navy's history when USS Pollux and USS Truxtun grounded and were lost with heavy casualties 75 mi (121 km) southwest of the base. Over 100 victims were buried in Argentia's military cemetery.
United States Army Coast Artillery Corps troops were first deployed to Argentia in early 1941, at first a single coast defence battery with two or four 155 mm guns and an anti-aircraft battery. In January 1942 construction began on two batteries of 6-inch guns, and in March 1942 the United States Army established Fort McAndrew at Argentia to provide security to the navy base through an anti-aircraft battery and additional coast defence guns. Later that spring the Royal Navy established a small maintenance base at Argentia to service its ships involved in convoy escort groups operating out of Halifax, Sydney, St. John's and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.
In the spring of 1943 a 7,000 ton floating drydock was installed at Argentia, along with a ship repair facility. In August 1943, Task Force 24 Flag Headquarters moved ashore to permanent facilities after having been housed aboard USS Prairie.
In 1944, Argentia served as one of the two stopover bases for the refuelling, maintenance, and crew changes of the six United States Navy (USN) K-class blimps that made the first transatlantic crossings of non-rigid airships. Blimps K-123 and K-130 from USN Blimp Squadron 14 (also known as ZP-14, Blimpron 14, or "The Africa Squadron") left South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts on 28 May 1944 and landed at Argentia about 16 hours later. The two K-ships then flew for approximately 22 hours to Lages Field on Terceira Island in the Azores, the second stopover base for the transatlantic flights. The last leg was a ~20-hour flight to the squadron's final destination with Fleet Air Wing (FAW) 15 at Port Lyautey, French Morocco (now Kenitra, Morocco). Blimps K-123 and K-130 were followed by K-109 and K-134 then K-112 and K-101 which left South Weymouth on 11 and 27 June, respectively, in 1944. These six blimps initially conducted nighttime anti-submarine warfare operations to complement the daytime missions flown by FAW-15 aircraft (PBYs and PB4Y-2) using magnetic anomaly detection to locate U-boats in the relatively shallow waters around the Strait of Gibraltar. Later, ZP-14 K-ships conducted minespotting and minesweeping operations in key Mediterranean ports and various escort missions including that of the convoy carrying Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to the Yalta Conference in early 1945. In late April 1945, K-89 and K-114 left NAS Weeksville (now Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City) in North Carolina and flew a southern route to NAS Bermuda, the Azores, and Port Lyautey, where they arrived on 1 May 1945.
In approximately 1942 the aerodrome was listed as USAAF Aerodrome - Argentia, Newfoundland at with a variation of 29 degrees west and elevation of 50 ft (15 m). The field was listed as "All hard surfaced" and had three runways listed as follows:
|7/25||5,000 ft (1,500 m)||300 ft (91 m)||Hard Surfaced|
|12/30||5,000 ft (1,500 m)||300 ft (91 m)||Hard Surfaced|
|17/35||5,000 ft (1,500 m)||300 ft (91 m)||Hard Surfaced|
United States Army Coast Artillery Corps troops were first deployed to Argentia in January 1941, initially Battery A of the 57th Coast Artillery (Tractor Drawn) (TD) Regiment with two or possibly four mobile 155 mm guns, and Battery B of the 62nd Coast Artillery (Anti-aircraft) (AA) Regiment. A command known as the Harbor Defenses of Argentia and St. John's was established at this time to coordinate US coast defence activities in Newfoundland, under the Newfoundland Base Command. On 20 July 1941 the 155 mm gun battery was redesignated as Battery A, 53rd Coast Artillery (TD) Regiment, and on 1 August 1941 (some sources 1942) the AA battery was redesignated as Battery A, 421st CA (AA) Battalion (Separate). After the US entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, construction on two batteries (Batteries 281 and 282) of two 6-inch guns each began in January 1942 and was completed in October 1942. These guns were on shielded long-range carriages with reinforced concrete and earth bunkers housing magazines and fire control equipment. On 16 February 1942 the harbour defence units in Newfoundland were redesignated as components of the 24th Coast Artillery (Harbor Defense) (Composite) Regiment, the headquarters and two additional batteries of which arrived at Fort McAndrew from the US on 25 March 1942. In April 1942 the AA defences were strengthened with the arrival of the 422nd CA Battalion (AA).
|Name||No. of guns||Gun type||Carriage type||Location|
|Battery 281||2||6-inch gun M1905||shielded barbette||Argentia North|
|Battery 282||2||6-inch gun M1905||shielded barbette||Hill 195|
|Battery 954||2||6"/50 caliber gun (Navy Mark 8)||pedestal||Shalloway Point|
|Battery 604||2||6"/50 caliber gun (Navy Mark 8)||pedestal||Latine Point|
|Unnamed||2||155 mm gun||towed on Panama mounts||Unknown|
|Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat Battery (AMTB) Roche Point||4||90 mm gun||2 fixed, 2 mobile||Roche Point|
|AMTB Ship Harbour Point||4||90 mm gun||2 fixed, 2 mobile||Ship Harbour Point|
|Battery 955||2||3-inch gun||pedestal||Isaac Point, later north tip of airfield|
In March 1943 the 24th CA Regiment was reduced to a battalion. In December 1943-January 1944 elements of the unit returned to the US for inactivation. In October 1944 the unit was reorganized, but was not fully inactivated until 8 September 1945. The date the unit was transferred to the US for inactivation is unclear. Postwar, circa 1946 the coast defence batteries were inactivated. The 6-inch guns of Batteries 281 and 282 survive. Battery 282's guns are still in place, and in 1993 Battery 281's guns were moved to Fort Columbia in Washington state, US.
Following the war's end in August 1945, the first dependents of naval personnel were permitted to move to Argentia to live in permanent quarters on base.
In 1949, Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation as the 10th province. During the Cold War, Argentia Naval Station became a key "node" in the Northwest Atlantic's SOSUS network, helping to detect Soviet nuclear submarines. The base was the target of several espionage attempts between the 1940s–1990s as a result.
In 1955 McAndrew AFB was decommissioned and the facility was turned over to the US Navy with USAF personnel moving to other locations in Newfoundland such as Ernest Harmon AFB, Goose AFB or various radar installations being built in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Air Force such as the Pinetree Line, Mid-Canada Line and Distant Early Warning Line. Associated with the DEW Line, radar picket ships such as USS Hissem used the base, and Lockheed WV-2 Warning Star aircraft used the airfield. These ships and aircraft were called Barrier Force Atlantic (BARLANT) and operated from 1955 through 1965.
In 1959 the Navy deployed a portable Transit tracking station at the station, which recorded the doppler data from the 24-minute flight of the Transit 1A satellite launched on 17 September 1959. An ionospheric refraction value was calculated using the doppler data recovered by the portable station, and a correction factor was then applied to the data to produce a doppler curve unaffected by ionospheric refraction. The Satellite 1-A trajectory thus determined was in close agreement with range track data. Also in 1959 a NAVFAC (Naval Facility) was established at Argentia to operate part of the SOSUS seabed sonar system.
In 1972 NAVFAC became a joint operations station for the US Navy and the Canadian Forces but Naval Air Station Argentia was decommissioned and the land transferred in 1975 to the Government of Canada. It was subsequently transferred to the provincial government for development. On 30 September 1994 the US Navy left Argentia completely when NAVFAC Argentia was decommissioned (Canadian operations were transferred to Canadian Forces IUSS Centre in Halifax) and the last personnel moved out.
Until 1994, the runways of the former airfield were utilized by the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. The Air Cadets operated weekend glider familiarization through the Air Cadet Gliding Program. The Schweizer SGS 2-33 was launched using an auto-tow launch method, utilizing the entire length of the runway surfaces. Personnel were housed at the Naval Station Argentia facilities. After the US Naval Station was decommissioned, the glider program was operated without facilities support for a few years until the airfield was occupied for the Hydromet Test Facility owned by INCO. With the announcement that the INCO development would not be using the airfield, the Air Cadet Gliding Program once again started using the airfield for gliding operations in May 2008.
Argentia ( ar-JEN-chə) is a Canadian commercial seaport and industrial park located in the Town of Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador. It is situated on the southwest coast of the Avalon Peninsula and defined by a triangular shaped headland which reaches northward out into Placentia Bay creating a natural harbour 3 km (1.9 mi) in length.
Originally settled by the French in the 1630s that fishing settlement was called Petit Plaisance, meaning "Pleasant Little Place". The name was retained in English (Little Placentia) when the French lost control of the area following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The census of 1706 records 149 individuals in 14 habitations. The community adopted its present name (unofficially in 1895 and officially in 1901) for the presence of silver ore near Broad Cove Point on the east side of the harbour.
The name "Argentia" is Latin, meaning "Land of Silver" and was chosen by Father John St. John, the parish priest at Holy Rosary Parish from September 18, 1895 to February 11, 1911. The Silver Cliff Mine operated until the early 1920s but was never profitable. Through most of the 19th century, the fishery was the lifeblood of the community; the Newfoundland Commission of Government built a herring factory at Argentia in 1936.The first church and school were established by Father Pelagius Nowlan in 1835. He was from Ireland and moved to Newfoundland as a missionary priest. In 1836, population was made up 484 people in 76 houses.CFS Shelburne
Canadian Forces Station Shelburne, also known as CFS Shelburne, is a former Canadian Forces Station located in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia.
The facility operated from two locations within the Municipality of the District of Shelburne:
The original facility opened during World War II and was located on the eastern shore of Shelburne Harbour in the community of Sandy Point, immediately south of the boundary for the town of Shelburne. This facility included a deepwater port and shore facilities including barracks and residences.
The newer facility opened during the Cold War (part of the original Sandy Point facility was reactivated as well) and was located in the community of Lower Sandy Point, approximately 14 km (8.7 mi) south of the town of Shelburne, on Government Point at the southern tip of a peninsula separating Shelburne Harbour from Jordan Bay.Fox Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador
Fox Harbour is a small community on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. According to Statistics Canada in 2011, the population was 270. It is surrounded by hills. It is located close to Argentia, the site of the Naval Station Argentia. According to some sources, Fox Harbour got its name from tales of foxes that came down from the surrounding hills and ate the drying fish on the flakes. As well, the community was called Little Glocester before it became officially named Fox Harbour.Green Pine (communications)
The Green Pine UHF communications system was designed to relay Strategic Air Command (SAC) Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) to SAC aircraft. Green Pine was designed in 1967. Each Green Pine station was equipped with a variety of communications systems, to ensure that nuclear command and control messages would reach nuclear strategic bombers in Northern latitudes.HMS Foley (K474)
The second HMS Foley (K474) was a British Captain-class frigate of the Royal Navy in commission during World War II. Originally constructed as the United States Navy Evarts-class destroyer escort USS Gillette (DE-270), she served in the Royal Navy from 1943 to 1945 and in the U.S. Navy as USS Foley (DE-270) from August to October 1945.HMS Torrington (K577)
The fourth HMS Torrington (K577) was a British Captain-class frigate of the Royal Navy in commission during World War II. Originally constructed as a United States Navy Buckley class destroyer escort, she served in the Royal Navy from 1944 to 1946.Harbor Defenses of Argentia and St. John's
The Harbor Defenses of Argentia and St. John's was a United States Army Coast Artillery Corps harbor defense command in World War II. It was part of the Newfoundland Base Command, established as a result of the 1940 Destroyers for Bases Agreement with the United Kingdom. It coordinated the US Army coast defenses of Naval Station Argentia and the port of St. John's, Newfoundland from January 1941 to (possibly) August 1945. These included coast artillery at Fort McAndrew in Argentia and Fort Pepperrell in St. John's.Hurricane Helene (1958)
Hurricane Helene was the most intense tropical cyclone of the 1958 Atlantic hurricane season. The eighth tropical storm and fourth hurricane of the year, Helene was formed from a tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles on September 21, 1958. Moving steadily westward, the storm slowly intensified, attaining hurricane strength on September 24. As conditions became increasingly favorable for tropical cyclone development, Helene began to rapidly intensify. Nearing the United States East Coast, the hurricane quickly attained Category 4 intensity on September 26, before it subsequently reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 930 mbar (hPa; 27.46 inHg). The intense hurricane came within 10 mi (15 km) of Cape Fear, North Carolina before recurving out to sea. Accelerating northward, Helene gradually weakened, and transitioned into an extratropical cyclone as it passed over Newfoundland on September 29. Helene's extratropical remnants traversed eastwards across the Atlantic Ocean before dissipating near Great Britain on October 4.
Despite not making landfall on North Carolina, its close proximity to land caused extensive damage across the US East Coast. Strong winds resulted in widespread power outages, cutting telecommunications along the coast. A weather station in Wilmington, North Carolina reported a wind gust of 135 mph (215 km/h), setting a new record for fastest wind gust reported there. Though mostly concentrated in North Carolina, rainfall was widespread, reaching as far north as Maine. In the United States, damages reached $11.2 million and there was one indirect death. After impacting the US, Helene produced strong winds and heavy rain across much of Atlantic Canada. In Cape Breton Island on Nova Scotia, the storm was considered the worst in at least 21 years. Power outages cut most communications from the island to the mainland, and property damage in Sydney, Nova Scotia totaled to C$100,000. At Helene's landfall in Newfoundland, strong gusts peaking at 82 mph (132 km/h) in Naval Station Argentia were reported, and loss of power severed communications. Damage across there totaled to at least C$100,000. Total damages associated with Helene in the United States and Canada amounted to $11.4 million, making Helene the costliest storm of the season.List of airports in Newfoundland and Labrador
This is a complete list of airports, water aerodromes and heliports in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.List of defunct airports in Canada
This is an alphabetical list of abandoned airports in Canada that were at one time important enough to warrant an article. Most of these also appear in Category:Defunct airports in Canada. This list is sorted by province or territory.Pepperrell Air Force Base
Pepperrell Air Force Base, previously known as Fort Pepperrell, is a decommissioned United States military base located in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada which operated from 1941-1961.
The base was named in honour of Sir William Pepperrell (1696–1759) of Kittery, Maine, commander of a force of 4,200 soldiers and sailors aboard 90 ships, who captured the French seaport at Louisbourg after a 46-day siege on June 16, 1745.Placentia Bay
Placentia Bay (French: Baie de Plaisance) is a body of water on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. It is formed by Burin Peninsula on the west and Avalon Peninsula on the east. Fishing grounds in the bay were used by native people long before the first European fishermen arrived in the 16th century. For a time, the French controlled the bay. They built their capital at Placentia on the east coast. The British gained Placentia during the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The town and nearby Castle Hill are national historic sites. English settlement followed in the bay and today the main communities are Burin, Marystown, and Placentia.On 14 August 1941 US Naval Station Argentia located in Little Placentia Sound was the site of the Atlantic Conference for the Atlantic Charter, where Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met face to face for the second time since both took office and the start of World War II. They had met earlier that year at the White House over Christmas where Churchill spent 3 weeks to hammer out wartime details and lay the groundwork for Placentia Bay.USS Ellis (DD-154)
USS Ellis (DD–154) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was reclassified AG-115 on 30 June 1945. She was named for Chief Yeoman George Henry Ellis.
Ellis was launched on 30 November 1918 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, sponsored by Mrs. E. T. Stotesbury. The destroyer was commissioned on 7 June 1919, Lieutenant Commander T. E. Van Metre in command.USS Greensboro (PF-101)
USS Greensboro (PF-101) was a United States Navy Tacoma-class frigate in commission from 1945 to 1946.USS Mattole (AO-17)
USS Mattole (AO‑17) was a Kaweah-class fleet replenishment oiler in the United States Navy.
Mattole was built by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, under USSB contract, was laid down 2 June 1919; launched 16 March 1920; acquired by the Navy 6 March 1922 and laid up at Philadelphia; commissioned 16 June 1940, Comdr. J. D. Wilson in command.
Commissioned as hostilities in Europe and Asia began to draw the United States ever closer to the conflict, Mattole was assigned to duties in the North Atlantic. Following America’s entry into the war, the oiler plied between New York City, Boston, Naval Station Argentia, and Reykjavík, supplying fuel to both shore stations and ships. On 13 November 1942, she departed New York in convoy to Casablanca, arriving 1 December. She remained off the coast of north Africa until the 22d, fueling ships operating in support of the Allied offensives against Axis forces and their desire for control of the Mediterranean.
Mattole returned to New York 10 January 1943, continued to Norfolk and then to Bermuda where she underwent intensive exercises in fueling at sea, antisubmarine, and antiaircraft procedures. With this training behind her, the tanker again joined a slow, and vulnerable, supply convoy en route to Gibraltar. The convoy encountered no difficulties and Mattole returned to the United States 16 April.
On 16 June, following overhaul at Norfolk, Mattole began making runs to the oil centers of Aruba and Curaçao. Arriving in the Netherlands West Indies on the 26th, she carried oil to Guantanamo Bay and underwent fueling exercises before taking up duties as station tanker at Port of Spain, Trinidad, 20 July. She was relieved of this duty 6 September and assigned to the important task of keeping Cuban and east coast depots supplied with petroleum products. With only one interruption, she continued this essential duty sailing to Guantanamo Bay; New York; Portland, Maine; and Argentia, Newfoundland, until mid‑1945 when she extended her operations to include gulf coast ports.
The single break in this assignment came in November 1944 when she was ordered to accompany an extremely slow convoy of landing craft and tugs towing Army barges to Cherbourg, France. The convoy departed Charleston, S.C., 6 November and arrived at Plymouth, England, without incident, 5 December. The return voyage was underway by the 12th. On the 20th an enemy submarine attacked. Two ships were lost and the U‑boat, although sighted and pursued, escaped. The remaining ships rescued survivors and the convoy continued on to New York arriving 7 January 1945. Mattole then resumed her coastal and Caribbean tanker operations.
During her last month of active participation in the war effort, July 1945, the oiler carried her cargo between Houston, Galveston, and Cristobal, Canal Zone. On 3 August she departed Galveston for Philadelphia, docking there on the 9th. On 6 September she steamed to Norfolk where she decommissioned 25 October 1945. Struck from the Naval Register 13 November, she was transferred to the Maritime Commission, 7 June 1946. She was subsequently sold by that agency and delivered to the buyer, Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md., 1 July 1947.USS Milledgeville (PF-94)
USS Milledgeville (PF-94), a Tacoma-class frigate, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for Milledgeville, Georgia.USS Peregrine (AM-373)
USS Peregrine (AM-373) was an Auk-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy for the dangerous task of removing mines from minefields laid in the water to prevent ships from passing. She was named after the peregrine, a swift and powerful falcon.
Peregrine was laid down by the Savannah Machine & Foundry Co., Savannah, Georgia, 24 October 1944; launched 17 February 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Ethel K. Adams; and commissioned 27 September 1945, Comdr. Carl R. Cunningham Jr. in command.USS Powhatan (YT-128)
The fifth USS Powhatan (YT-128) was a yard tug that served in the United States Navy from 1938 to 1976. She was reclassified YTM-128 in 1944.
USS Powhatan (YT-128) was laid down on 28 March 1938 by the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts and launched o 10 June 1938. She was completed and delivered to the U.S. Navy on 16 September 1938.
Powhatan served at Newport, Rhode Island, from 1938 to 1958. She was reclassified YTM-128 on 15 May 1944. She was active at Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland, from 1958 to 1963. In 1963 she began service in the 10th Naval District at San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she remained through at least 1970.
Her career from 1970 through 1976 requires further research.
Powhatan was sold for scrap in 1976, and was subsequently lost while under tow by USNS San Juan to a scrapper in the Carolinas.USS Sheboygan (PF-57)
USS Sheboygan (PF-57) was a Tacoma-class frigate of the United States Navy which was later transferred to the Belgian Navy as Lieutenant ter zee Victor Billet.
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