Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is located in the eastern part of Puerto Rico in the town of Ceiba. It is approximately 35 miles east of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive from the airport to Roosevelt Roads. Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is located about 50 miles (an hour and a half drive) from San Juan. The towns of Fajardo, Luquillo, and Naguabo are within a 10 to 25 minute drive from Roosevelt Roads.
Naval Station Roosevelt Roads was named for then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, who conceived the idea in 1919 on a surveying trip. It would eventually become one of the largest naval facilities in the world, encompassing more than 100 miles of paved roads and more than 30 tenant commands. Its 1,300 buildings are home to 7,000 personnel.
The station was first commissioned as a U. S. Naval Operations Base in 1943. The newly constructed naval operating base was to become the keystone of the Caribbean Defense System with a well-protected anchorage, a major air station and an industrial establishment capable of supporting 60 percent of the Atlantic Fleet under wartime conditions. There were even rumors that if the British Empire ever fell to Axis powers, Roosevelt Roads would become the new operating base for the British Fleet.
But by 1943, it was clear that with Allied Operations focusing on Europe and the Pacific, a major defense hub on the island would be unnecessary. Construction on the base was halted, and in March of 1944, Naval Operating Base Roosevelt Roads was put in a maintenance status with a Public Works Officer, a small detachment of Seabees and a large civilian workforce. Over the next 14 years, the base closed seven times and was reopened eight.
In 1957 it was redesignated as a Naval Station. It has grown over the years to include acquisition of the Army's Fort Bundy which now comprises the southern portion of the Naval Station and an additional 29,000 acres of land on Vieques Island. Presently, various naval facilities are spread over the entire eight thousand acres which comprises the Naval Station complex. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads continues to be a major training site for fleet exercises.
The Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Puerto Rico Base Communication Department's [N3] mission and function is to provide strategic and tactical communications and information systems support to units operating in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas. N3 department provides communication support for foreign national units and forces assigned to NATO. N3 accomplishes their mission by operating and maintaining a Fleet Center, a Technical Control Facility and a Tactical Support Communications (TSCOMM) Detachment. The Communications Office is responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of base communications services and facilities. This function includes administration of the base inside and outside cable plan, station records, station equipment, off-line devices, and plant-in-place records. Other responsibilities include liaison with Navy shore activities;
coordinate/consolidate requirements, to include MILCON and special projects; and establish budgetary guidelines for shore activities.
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is located on the extreme eastern portion of the island of Puerto Rico about 35 statute miles east-southeast of San Juan. Puerto Rico is the easternmost island of the Greater Antilles Group of the West Indies and is located about 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. The Naval Station is constructed around the perimeter of Ensenada Honda (Bay of Honda). Ensenada Honda, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 miles wide and 2 miles long, and the surrounding area are used exclusively by the US Navy with no civil facilities located within the harbor complex. Ofstie Field, a naval air station, is located about 1 mile north of the bay.
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, FL. Since the Navy must close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads by March 31, 2004, relocation of USNAVSO is a high priority.
Roosevelt Roads is due to close on 31 March 2004. On Sept. 30, 2003, the President of the United States signed into law the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. The legislation included language that calls for the Navy to close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads no later than six months after enactment of the act. This legislation requires the relocation of tenant commands.