NAVMAG comprises the entirety of the 2,716-acre Indian Island located on the northeast corner of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. Residents live on nearby Marrowstone Island to the east and in Port Townsend, which is north-northwest of the site. Port Townsend is the largest population center near the island. NAVMAG Indian Island is approximately seven square miles. The island contains a wealth of cultural and natural resources. There are several Native American sites on the island, as well as historically significant pioneer homestead sites and World War II-era buildings.
After the Persian Gulf War, NAVMAG was selected as one of two West Coast ports to be upgraded for the efficient transshipment of containerized ammunition for surge requirements. Several infrastructure improvements were made, including construction of a rail-to-truck transfer facility in Bangor on Naval Base Kitsap and installation of the Department of Defense’s largest crane at the Indian Island ammunition pier in 2000.
In 1999, the 40-ton container crane was delivered and certified for the ammunition pier. The crane, or “Big Blue” as it is commonly referred to, is a noticeable structure for miles around the Indian Island/Port Hadlock area. Reaching into the sky from the island’s ammunition pier, it serves as a proud reminder of the superior ordnance-handling capabilities of Naval Magazine Indian Island. It is capable of lifting 89,600 pounds.
By 2000, NAVMAG had become the Pacific’s ordnance strategic port of embarkation, supporting numerous joint exercises designed to test and validate ordnance surge capability to the Pacific Theater of operations. At the same time, a significant part of NAVMAG’s — and the Navy’s — mission and vision has been to incorporate and develop the best practices of environmental stewardship and sustainability.