Naval Station Norfolk celebrates centennial with cake cutting ceremony

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Naval Station Norfolk held a cake cutting ceremony Wednesday morning to celebrate its 100th birthday.

President Woodrow Wilson bought the land for the base back in 1917 after the United States entered World War I.

Wilson issued a proclamation June 28, 1917, setting aside $1.2 million for 474 acres of land — 367 acres of which were the old Jamestown Exposition grounds.

Now, it’s the world’s largest naval station, covering 6,200 acres and employing more than 67,000 people.

The base supports more than 59 ships, 187 aircraft and 18 squadrons. The Navy says Naval Station Norfolk has a significant economic impact on Hampton Roads.

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It has been the homeport of ships including the recently decommissioned USS Enterprise (CVN 65) — and current carriers like the USS George H.W. Bush and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Capt. Rich McDaniel, the base Commanding Officer, took part in the cake cutting.

“It’s a great day for the Navy. It’s a great day for Naval Station Norfolk. It’s a great day for the City of Norfolk. Naval Station Norfolk has always been the heartbeat behind the U.S. fleet. We’re the home to the east coast fleet, we have a prominent role in our nation’s history, so it’s pretty special to be celebrating the birthday today.” McDaniel told 10 On Your Side.