EVERETT - Naval Station Everett is the newest naval installation for the country. It’s also one of two deep water ports along the west coast. It is a base first thought of during the Reagan presidency. Since that time, a lot of changes have occurred, including a new commander who took the reigns not too long ago.
It's only been a few weeks, since Captain Michael Davis of the U.S. Navy became the commanding officer of Naval Base Everett, so he's new to town.
“It’s hard to believe that this is the first time that I've been in the Pacific Northwest and it’s been here the whole time,” Capt. Davis said.
For this Florida native, he doesn't want to be anywhere else.
“I’ve been to every other major Navy station in the entire country and I’ve never been up here and this is the first time, and I’m just blown away. It's fantastic,” he said.
Captain Davis said what makes Naval Base Everett so unique, is not only its beauty, but as a commanding officer, he knows that his crew is among the Navy’s finest.
“When I got here, the beauty was overwhelming. The newness of the base. We are the newest navy installation,” said Davis.
The idea of having Naval Station Everett was first conceived back in 1983. Back then, the world was a different place, the country was in the midst of the Cold War. And President Reagan at the time wanted to spread the country's naval resources, and build new ports.
“His ideas and thoughts about strategic lay down of all forces and spread those forces out to make it more difficult for an adversary to significantly destroy U.S. combat power,” he said.
The late Senator from Everett, Henry M. Jackson was also instrumental in the base becoming reality. A memorial statue is placed inside the navy base’s administration offices. It wasn't until 1994 when the base finally became commissioned by the Navy as a way to support a full aircraft carrier strike group.
Now, it’s home to six navy ships like the U.S.S. Momsen and the U.S.S. Kidd, and two U.S. Coast Guard ships.
“Effectively keeping the United States safe from foreign powers by using both the Pacific and the Atlantic,” said Davis.
Naval Base Everett is not a very big base. It's only about two square miles, according to Captain Davis. But what the base lacks in size, makes up for in readiness and efficiency when it matters most.
“And really trying to create a team atmosphere and collectively making Everett better,” he said.
There are about three-thousand Navy personnel at Naval Station Everett. About a thousand civilian employees also support base operations, according to Davis.
“I would like to see growth, additional ships coming into Everett, whether that be a carrier or additional destroyers,” he said.
And while the job market continues to rise elsewhere, Captain Davis said finding civilians to work on base is a bit of a challenge, including construction or jobs in the building trade.
“A high voltage electrician. We’ve been looking for one for a while, but because we’re competing against other entities, it’s been a challenge for that particular job,” he said.
Captain Davis is also hoping the Navy decides on bringing back an aircraft carrier to Everett. That could potentially give an even bigger economic boost to Everett and Snohomish County. As it is, Naval Station Everett brings in $475-million dollars a year in economic impact,
But as Captain Davis gets to know Everett better, he already knows one thing.
“I would absolutely say that Everett’s a navy town,” he said.
According to Commander Davis, the Navy is expected to make a decision on whether or not Naval Station Everett will get an aircraft carrier of the next few months. If the Navy decides to reassign a carrier to Everett, Davis said the earliest it could happen would be 2019.