COCO SOLO NAVAL BASE (NORTH AND SOUTH) -- HISTORY [p1 of __]
COCO SOLO NAVAL BASE
SUBMARINE BASE AND NAVAL AIR STATION
The Coco Solo Naval
Reservation, on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal Zone near Fort Randolph and
the city of Colon, was officially established by
Executive Order on April 9, 1920 under control of the U.S. Secretary of
the Navy. Construction of the original Coco Solo Submarine Base
began as early as 1919, during which time $630,627.39 was expended by the
Panama Canal organization for construction from an appropriation of the
Navy Department [source 1 below]. (Source 2 indicates that Coco Solo was
assigned as a Submarine Base in 1916 and established as a Naval Air
Station in 1918.). The submarine base was disestablished
in 1944. During World War II,
Also during World War II,
Also during World War II,the Coco Solo Naval hospital was constructed southeast of the Coco Solo Naval Air Station.
In 1954, the Coco Solo Naval hospital was transferred to the Canal Zone Government , and the former Naval Base was officially inactivated in December 1957 (source 2).
In 1957 (as part of a series of name changes), the U.S. Naval Station, Coco Solo became the Coco Solo Annex of the U.S. Naval Station, Rodman located on the Pacific side. At the same time, the Canal Zone Government acquired 229 acres of Coco Solo land together with 285 public quarters and a considerable number of other buildings and facilities which were excess to the requirements of the Navy. The complex was transferred in 1968 to the U.S. Naval Security Group Activity, Galeta Island (source 2).
The Coco Solo elementary school (on Coco Solo North) was formally dedicated in April 1959 as part of the Canal Zone Government's Division of Schools and the Cristobal High School was relocated to Coco Solo (as Cristobal Junior-Senior High School) in 1960 (source 2).
The Coco Solo health clinic complex (formerly the Naval hospital) was transferred October 1, 1979 from the Canal Zone Government to the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity.
Portions of Coco Solo housing were turned over to Government of Panama in 1982. The last families moved out in 1984, the remaining Panama Canal Commission housing was turned over to Panama, and the U.S. Army leased back a portion for transfer-of-function housing (formerly U.S. employees of the Canal Zone Government Medical Bureau who worked at the Coco Solo health clinic complex and who were transferred to the U.S. Army when it assumed operation of the health clinic and the other Canal Zone Government medical facilities upon implementation of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 on October 1, 1979, which dissolved the Canal Zone Government along with the Canal Zone) (source 2).
Part of Coco Solo transferred to Panama October 1, 1979 (the four piers, wharf, and some buildings in Coco Solo North -- site of the former Submarine Base -- and some buildings in Coco Solo South -- the former Naval Air Station) while the remaining housing units remained with the Panama Canal Commission and the Coco Solo elementary school remained with the U.S. military until transferred to Panama in 1990. The Coco Solo health clinic complex transferred to Panama May 31, 1992. The Cristobal Junior-Senior High School was the last facility at Coco Solo transferred to Panama (on September 1, 1995).
1 -- An American Legacy in Panama: Brief History of the Department of Defense Installations and Properties in the Former Panama Canal Zone, Republic of Panama (pages 56, 57), Suzanne P. Johnson and Richard M. Houle, prepared by Graves+Klein for U.S. Army South.
2 -- The Era of U.S. Army Installations in Panama (page 207), Compiled by Dolores De Mena, Historian, U.S. Army South, January 11, 1996.
Coco Solo-New Uses
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William H. Ormsbee, Jr. 2008