Colts Neck, NJ: The weather was sunny and warm on June 8th, a perfect day for a grand red, white and blue 75th Anniversary celebration for Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWSE), located on Highway 34, in Colts Neck.
NWSE was established in 1943, the original name was Naval Ammunition Depot Earle. According to a press release NWSE provided most of the ammunition and ordnance used by American troops during the Allied invasion of Normandy in WWII, and since it's founding 'has ensured that our armed forces have the means to take the fight to America's enemies around the world.' The station's mainside section is located in Colts Neck and the waterfront portion is located on Sandy Hook Bay, in the Leonardo section of Middletown. The two areas are connected by a private government owned roadway.
The 75th Anniversary celebration event offered the community a rare opportunity to come onto the base. Due to high security and space, the event was limited to the first 500 guests that arrived. The gates opened at noon for cars and many motorcycles to enter
The formal ceremony began at 2 PM with every United States Military branch represented. Also attending were members of Rolling Thunder, a U.S. advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POW's) and those missing in action (MIA'S). There were many local, county and state officials in attendance, to honor and show gratitude to NWSE. The National Anthem was performed by the United Service Organization singers. Earle's Commanding Officer; Captain Pierre Fuller gave a welcome address and thanked all for coming to the 75th Anniversary celebration. The Colts Neck High School Junior ROTC Cadets were participants in a military drill and ceremony display.
See video here for opening of the formal ceremony and the National Anthem:
Fourth Legislative District Congressman Chris Smith, on his behalf to the installation provided a certification letter and a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capital in honor of the 75th Anniversary of NWST. A congratulatory letter by the Honorable Chris Smith was read by a member of his staff on his behalf.
Freeholder Assistant Director Lillian Burry had a special proclamation prepared on behalf of the Monmouth County Freeholders that read:
Naval Weapons Station Earle
This certificate is presented on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Naval Weapons Station Earle (NWS Earle). The Naval Ammunition Depot Earle was named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance during World War I. The depot was commissioned on December 13, 1943, and construction began on August 2, 1943. Naval Weapons Station Earle is a waterfront complex and pier which stretches 2.9 miles into the Sandy Hook Bay. Sandy Hook Bay was chosen because it featured a safe, sheltered, and nearby port where ships could take on ammunition brought in by rail from the west, and the rural area meant few local residents would be affected. Earle continued to develop after World War II, keeping pace with the changing needs of the navy. In 1974, the depot's name was changed to Naval Weapons Station Earle. On this auspicious occasion, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders joins with the personnel and staff of NWS Earle in celebrating the 75th anniversary by proclaiming this day, June 8, 2018 to be known as:
“Naval Weapons Station Earle Day”
The celebration included informational booths and displays from a variety of military branches and public service organizations. One display was the contents of a time capsule that was buried 25 years prior when NWSE celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1993. The contents of the capsule contained momentos from the NWSE 50th Anniversary celebration. A new time capsule relative to the 75th celebration was created to be buried, only planned to resurface for the 100th Anniversary.
Later in the day there was a carnival held for all to enjoy with boardwalk style games, face painting, a petting zoo, inflatables, and so much more. The carnival was free to military personnel and the Department of Defense card holders. All were welcome to join in the fun and there was only a flat minimal fee for non-military families.