Coast Guard Island
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Coast Guard Island is an artificial island in the Oakland Estuary between Oakland and Alameda, California. The 67-acre (27 ha) island is situated in the historic Brooklyn Basin, now known as Embarcadero Cove. It is within the Alameda city limits, but is tied to the main land only via a bridge from Dennison Street in Oakland.
The Island supports a number of U.S. Coast Guard facilities managed by Base Support Unit, including Commander of Pacific Area, Commander of United States Coast Guard District Eleven, Sector San Francisco, PSSU Alameda, HSWL-FO Alameda, ESU Alameda, an industrial service center, barracks, one 378-foot (115 m) high endurance cutter, three 418-foot (127 m) National Security Cutters, a medical and dental clinic, and public works facilities to service the island.
Originally known as Government Island, this artificial island was formed in 1913 by the dredging project that extended the Oakland Estuary to San Leandro Bay. The Coast Guard first came to the island in 1926 when it established Base 11. An Executive Order signed in September 1931 gave title to a 15-acre (6.1 ha) tract for a permanent base. Improvements were started at that time and by 1933 included streets, utilities, spur tracks, a trestle bridge from Oakland, a transformer station, and rebuilding of the existing wharves. The cost was more than one and a half million dollars and provided facilities for Base 11 and the Coast Guard Store (warehouses).
The shore establishment expanded in 1939 with the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service. A training center was established in 1940 to meet the service's increased personnel needs.
An area of 35 acres (14 ha) was acquired from the City of Alameda in 1939 with an additional 17 acres (6.9 ha) purchased by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942. The entire island of 67 acres (27 ha) was devoted to training center facilities. The first contract provided for five barracks, mess hall and galley, engineering and administration buildings, an infirmary, roadways, heating, plumbing, electrical and fire protection. The contract was awarded February 21, 1942 and completed June 30, 1942 at a cost of $1,680,082.94. Additional contracts for another half million dollars provided for additional barracks, clothing issue building, paving a drill field, band room, incinerator, anti-aircraft trainer building, and docks for small boats.
The training center was first opened on June 1, 1942 with accommodations for 900 men. It was solely to train recruits. Specialty training was added later to include fireman, signalman, laundryman, radioman, boatswain's mate, cooks and bakers, and volunteer port security.
After the war, Government Island (aka Base Alameda) remained a Coast Guard Training Center with addition of the Weather Bureau, Internal Auditors, and the Bureau of Roads. During the late 1960s the Training & Supply Center was the Coast Guard's largest field unit on the West Coast. The Training Center graduated 60-100 seaman and fireman apprentices each week. The Supply Center provided support to the western area districts including Squadrons One and Three in Viet Nam. The cutters Taney, Gresham, and Barataria were homeported at the island.
In 1982, the Training Center was closed and recruit training was accomplished exclusively at Cape May, New Jersey. Support Center Alameda was established June 1, 1982 and the island was renamed Coast Guard Island. The Pacific Area Command, Eleventh Coast Guard District, and Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay moved from downtown San Francisco to the island. On June 24, 1987 the Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific was established and located on the island. The Support Center was redesignated as Integrated Support Command Alameda on March 15, 1996.
Commanding and Executive Officers:
- 1968 Captain Henry P. KNISKERN, USCG, Commanding Officer