Coco Solo was a United States Navy facility, which operated a submarine base and a naval air station, that was established 6 May 1918. The site corresponds with modern-day Cativá in Panama. It was on the Atlantic Ocean (northwest) side of the Panama Canal Zone, near Colón, Panama and five C-class submarines were based there during 1914-1919.
The larger Coco Solo Hospital was constructed in the summer of 1941. The area containing it was transferred from the civil part of the Panama Canal Zone to the naval part when Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8981 on December 17, 1941. During World War II, Coco Solo also served as a Naval Aviation Facility, housing a squadron of P-38 Lightning aircraft.
By the 1960s, no US Navy vessels remained, only some support staff and housing. Coco Solo was also home to the Atlantic Side High School and Cristobal Junior and Senior High, which in the late 1970s was also the high school for Panamanians from Rainbow City. Also located in Coco Solo was the local commissary where Zonians would purchase food and clothing. At the far end of Randolph Road was Fort Randolph, unused except for military training exercises, and where the Fort Randolph Riding Club was located as used by the Canal Zone Horsemen's Association.
Until the mid-1990s, the town site of Coco Solo was used by the civilian employees of the Panama Canal as a residential area. Navy communications operations at the nearby Galeta Island facility were conducted as well.
After the turnover of the Panama Canal to Panamanians in 1999, US military activity ceased at both Coco Solo and Galeta Island.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Naval Station Coco Solo.|
- History and photo page on Coco Solo
- Photo of the US Naval Hospital Coco Solo
- "The Battle for Coco Solo Panama, 1989", Infantry Magazine
- "Tropical decay blights McCain's Panama birthplace", 2008 Reuters story