NAS Roosevelt Road Patch – Sew On
A 3.5 to 4.5 inches NAS Roosevelt Road Patch of United States Navy.
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is a former United States Navy base in the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The site is run today as José Aponte de la Torre Airport, a public use airport.
In 1919, the future U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, toured Puerto Rico, visiting Ceiba. When he returned to the White House, he expressed a liking for the terrain where the base is now. This was during the World War I era, and the United States could benefit from an air field in Ceiba. While Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, its territorial rights belong to the United States, which made it perfectly feasible, and ideal, for the American government to build an airplane base in Ceiba.
It took many years for the United States Government to become convinced of the need for an air base in Ceiba. When Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany began to invade other European countries, the US, led by then President Roosevelt, entertained the idea of a Naval air station in Ceiba. With war in the European and Pacific theatres, they saw an airbase in the Caribbean as necessary. President Roosevelt ordered the creation of the base in 1940. In 1941, $50 million (equivalent to $869 million in 2019) was appropriated to develop a protected anchorage in the sea area between Puerto Rico and Vieques, an area later named Roosevelt Roads by Navy Secretary Frank Knox on 15 May 1941. On 22 August 1941, President Roosevelt signed a naval works among other things, authorized another $21.97 million (equivalent to $382 million in 2019) for a protected fleet anchorage at Roosevelt Roads.
The base had been inaugurated, but scaled down to maintenance status with a public works office in 1944. From then until 1957, the base went through many shifts, being opened seven times and closed eight times. Meanwhile, it continued as a source of employment for the citizens of Ceiba.
In 1957, it was upgraded to Naval Station status. Fort Bundy was located there, but it crossed over to parts of Vieques, a fact which would become important in the future. An U.S.A. military mission, the M3, was located there. It was part of the “Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Puerto Rico Base Communication Department”. M3 had a fleet center, a technical control facility and a Tactical support communications department, among other things. The M3 was designated to help Puerto Rico, the United States and other Caribbean and Latin American countries to deal with drug trafficking, illegal immigration and other problems. The main purpose of the base was tactical support for land/sea/air maneuvers on Vieques Island.
In 1969, the U.S. Navy established Camp Moscrip which held a rotating United States Navy Construction Battalion (Seabee).
For the next 47 years the base was utilized for flight practice, as well as other missions and control of the area’s air space. In August 2002, a MC-130H airplane carrying seven airmen crashed in the town of Caguas, while en route from Roosevelt Roads to Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla. All seven perished, in the largest air tragedy in Caguas’s history.
Within the industrial area the drydock, a bombproof power plant, a sewage pumping station, and a machine shop were completed. The drydock, 1100 by 155 feet, and built in the dry, was used for the first time in July 1943. The power plant, a bombproof structure with 4-feet-thick concrete walls, was equipped with two 5,000-kw steam-driven generators. The drydock was dedicated on 15 February 1944, and the Bolles Drydock, in memory of Captain Harry A. Bolles, (CEC) USN, who was killed in Alaska in World War II.
In 2003, a military appropriations bill required the Secretary of the Navy to close within six months of the enactment of the act. The base officially closed on 31 March 2004. At the time, there were nearly 1,200 active-duty officers and sailors at Roosevelt Roads. United States Special Operations Command South moved from Roosevelt Roads to Homestead Air Reserve Base. U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command moved from Roosevelt Roads to Mayport Naval Station. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 (Seabee) moved from Roosevelt Roads to Little Creek, Virginia. When Roosevelt Roads closed, the only U.S. naval base in the Caribbean was the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. From the time that Congress voted to close the base to its closure, Roosevelt Roads closed faster than any other military installation on U.S. soil in several decades. After its closure, 200 sailors and civilians remained to help in the transition from a naval base to a naval agency coordinating the closing process.
Of the former base’s property, about 30 percent was transferred to the government of Puerto Rico and its munipalities, 40 percent became a wetlands preserve, and the remainder was offered for sale at public auction.
In 2017, Roosevelt Roads military personnel arrived at Roosevelt Roads after Hurricane Maria to assist in rescue efforts. Units such as the United States Air Force 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron, 821st Contingency Response Group, the United States Army 1st Armored Division Aviation Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division “Dustoff” unit arrived at Roosevelt Roads. Marines and sailors also set up a supply staging base receiving around-the-clock airlifts at Roosevelt Roads. This was the first major military activity at Roosevelt Roads since 2004.
U.S Naval Forces Southern Command
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) directs naval forces and interacts with partner nations to shape the maritime environment within United States Southern Command’s Area of Focus (AOF). With a focus on Theater Security Cooperation, NAVSO works to strengthen and build effective alliance and friendships, develop partner nation capabilities, and maintain U.S. operational access to defend the United States.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO), headquartered at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, was the Naval Component Commander to the U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami, Florida. It provides strategic and operational command and control for U.S. Naval Forces in South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
On 10 December 1999 the U.S. Navy established Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, also known as NAVSOUTH, in a ceremony aboard USS Vicksburg (CG 69) inport Roosevelt Roads. The new organization is responsible for Navy operational forces in the United States Southern Command’s area of responsibility (AOR), including Naval Special Warfare Unit Four, a training detachment for SEAL teams from the SOCOM operational area. It oversees U.S. naval forces participating in drug enforcement operations and interaction with South American naval forces, including the annual UNITAS operations around South America. As the Navy’s senior representative, Commander, United States Naval Forces, Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) serves as the principal liaison with the government of Puerto Rico. In January 2004 The Navy decided to relocate U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO) from Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, to Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Since the Navy had to close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads by 31 March 2004, relocation of USNAVSO was a high priority.