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The Washington Navy Yard: At a glance

- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2013

The Washington Navy Yard, located in Southeast Washington on the Anacostia River, is an administrative center for the Navy, housing the headquarters for several commands including Commander, Naval Installations Command, and Naval Sea Systems Command, which is located in Building 197 and is responsible for procurement and maintenance on the Navy's fleet of ships and submarines.

The National Museum of the U.S. Navy and the Naval History and Heritage Command are also located on base. It also serves as the location for court martials, or military trials, for the Washington area, including Annapolis.

It is the Navy's oldest shore command, according to Naval History and Heritage Command's website, and has been in operation since the beginning of the 19th century, first as a shipbuilding site before being designated as the manufacturing plant for all Navy ordnance after the Civil War. It is now used for ceremonial and administrative functions, like change of command ceremonies for Navy leaders like the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy or the Chief of Naval Personnel.

It's the location of the Protective Operations Field Office of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS, now the subject of a popular TV show.

The Navy Yard is steeped in history. The famous USS Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides," came for a refit at the yards during 1812. 50 years later, one of the first ironclad ships, the USS Monitor, was repaired at the facility following its clash with the CSS Virginia. And following the assassination of President Lincoln, the body of John Wilkes Booth and his surviving accomplices were brought to the facility following their capture.

During both World Wars, the facility served as an ammunitions plant for the Navy, becoming the largest of its kind in the world.

Now, just a single large ship remains: the USS Barry, a destroyer that served during the Vietnam War and is now part of the museum.

Phillip Swarts contributed to this report.

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