|Naval Weapons Station Earle is a United States Navy base in New Jersey. Its distinguishing feature is a 2.2-mile pier in Sandy Hook Bay where ammunition can be loaded and unloaded from warships at a safe distance from land.|
Naval Weapons Station Earle's history began in 1943, when World War II operations demanded an ammunition depot in the greater New York metropolitan area. A board was established to locate a suitable site, and chose Sandy Hook Bay. The location provided a safe, sheltered, and nearby port where ships could take on ammunition. Nearby rail lines could bring in the ammunition from the west, where the majority of ammunition shipments originated. The rural area meant few local residents would be affected.
On 2 August 1943, construction began on Naval Ammunition Depot Earle, named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance during World War I. The depot was commissioned on 13 December 1943, though work continued on the military road and railway connecting the mainside complex, the waterfront complex and the pier, which stretches 2.2 miles (3.5 km) into the Sandy Hook Bay and comprises 2.9 miles (4.7 km) of pier / trestle surface area.
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. The Station is divided into two sections: Mainside, located in Colts Neck Township, and the Waterfront Area (which includes the pier complex), on Sandy Hook Bay, located in the Leonardo section of Middletown Township. The areas are connected by Normandy Road, a 15-mile (24 km) military road and rail line.