Navy Bases

Earle Naval Weapons Station, New Jersey

Located in Colts Neck, New Jersey, NWS Earle is one of the most serene and beautiful Navy installations in the country. It is set within over 11,000 acres of mostly wooded land in which wildlife outnumbers people. Our main-side complex, in Colts Neck Township, is nestled within an upscale community of horse farms, fruit orchards and country estates. Our waterfront site, located 14 miles away in Leonardo, is situated in Sandy Hook Bay, overlooking the New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.

Naval Weapons Station Earle operates a receipts, storage, segregation and issue (RSSI) ordnance facility to support the Atlantic fleet including Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and DoD conventional ammunition requirements, and also provides homeport services for assigned T-AOEs & T-AE. Today Earle continues to be the Navy's premier Weapons Station.

Naval Weapons Station Earle servers over 2,000 military DoD civilians and families.

The Weapons Station railroad consists of 130 miles of track, five locomotives and 330 pieces of rolling stock. Over the years, NWSE has taken on many important functions. The Naval Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transportation (PHST) Center is responsible for identification of life cycle requirements, conception, design, development, prototype fabrication, test and evaluation, production acquisition and transportation and logistics documentation of ordnance containers and handling equipment. They also handle allowancing of ordnance handling equipment (OHE) and electrical/electronic test equipment. The Center is a detachment of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division.

The Public Works Center maintains a site at Earle and keeps Earle running smoothly day-to-day. It maintains the facilities, manages our housing and operates and maintains vehicles. Earle is, in many ways, like a small town with homes, office buildings, industrial plants, banks, medical facilities, fitness centers, chapel, eating facilities, cars and trucks.

The Station's Pier complex is one of the longest "finger piers" in the world. It is presently comprised of a two-mile long trestle which connects to three finger piers - which are Piers 2, 3, and 4. One mile from the shore the trestle branches off to Pier 1. At the junction of Piers 2, 3 and 4, a concrete platform exits which supports a forklift/battery recharging shop and the port operations building. This area is known as the "wye".

The original piers and trestle were constructed in early 1940s. The "wye" was constructed in 1981 and Pier 4 was completed in 1990, and a new main approach was constructed in 1993. The original piers and trestle were constructed of reinforced concerete slabs approximately 24 inches thick, and overlaid with an asphalt wearing surface. The docks are supported by more than 41,000 timber piles. Elevated loading platforms line both side of each pier. Pier 4 and the new Trestle are constructed of pre-stressed concrete box girders topped by a cast-in-place reinforced concrete deck, supported on precast concrete pile caps and steel pipe piles.

Naval Weapons Station Earle's history began in 1943, when a pressing need developed for an ammunition depot in the greater New York area to support the war effort. A board was established to locate a suitable site, and chose Earle's present location in New Jersey because it offered many advantages. The location provided ships with a safe and operationally advantageous port to take on ammunition, and it also had access to commercial rail facilities with lines coming from the west, where the majority of ammunition shipments originated. The rural location of the site also allowed for minimal dislocation of the local population.

On Aug. 2, 1943, construction began on what was to be Naval Ammunition Depot Earle, named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance during World War I. The depot was commissioned on Dec. 13, 1943. There was still a long way to go to complete N.A.D. Earle. That work included building the military road and railway connecting main-side complex, the waterfront complex and the pier.

The pier stretches 2.2 miles into the Sandy Hook bay and comprises 2.9 miles of pier/trestle surface area. Earle continued to develop after World War II, keeping pace with the changing needs of the Navy. In 1974, Earle's name was officially changed to Naval Weapons Station Earle. The Station is divided into two sections: Mainside, located in Colts Neck, and the Waterfront Area, on Sandy Hook Bay, located in the Leonardo section of Middletown. Both areas are connected by Normandy road, a 15-mile military road and rail line.