During the summer holiday, many Sailors are thinking of heading on trips to distant locales in order to spend their free time, but why not consider a jaunt down south to Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP)?
NSASP is the parent activity of both Naval Support Facilities (NSF) Indian Head and Dahlgren, located in Indian Head, Maryland and Dahlgren, Virginia respectively. Both facilities have long histories in which they have been invaluable to the Navy's advancement as the premier fighting force in the world.
NSF Indian Head began its life in 1890 as the Naval Proving Ground, and also as the Navy's first presence in Southern Maryland. Although in its early years it served as merely proving new guns and ammunition, in the 1910s it moved to include standardization responsibilities for shells and powder.
Following World War I, during which Indian Head was a major producer of the United States' gunpowder, it officially took its role of production with the name change in 1921 to Naval Powder Factory. Over time, it shifted its role from proving of arms to more of a research role, a role that it would maintain up to present day.
It still had many changes in its use from the 1920s to its current day use, producing chemicals and propellants during and after the Korean War. Reflecting its new use, it changed its name to Naval Propellant Plant in 1958 and then to Naval Ordnance Factory in 1966. Later through its history, it became designated the "center of excellence" for many Navy technologies.
Control of Indian Head came under Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) in 2003, which by design put it under the auspices of Naval District Washington (NDW), and in November of 2005 was renamed Naval Support Facility Indian Head to coincide of with the commissioning of NSASP.
NSF Dahlgren has a unique history of its own, even if it is born out of NSFIH. It was established in 1918 as the Lower Station, Dahlgren Proving Ground (in honor of John A. Dahlgren, "the father of American naval ordnance") out of Indian Head, but while Indian Head changed its primary use to other purposes, Dahlgren stayed pretty much the same, being named Dahlgren Naval Proving Ground in 1932 and becoming the principle U.S. proving ground for the 1930s, 40s, and most of the 50s.
In 1959 the name was changed to Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, to reflect a change in role to one more research based. This research-based role continues to this day, although the name did change a couple more times in the 1970s and 1980s to the Naval Surface Warfare to reflect its change in orientation towards developing integrated warfare systems.
Just like NSF Indian Head, control of Dahlgren came under control of CNIC and joined NDW in 2003. Also in 2005, its name became current as NSF Dahlgren, as it stands today.
Besides soaking in the history of these two unique installations, what is there to do at NSF Indian Head and Dahlgren? At NSF Dahlgren, besides a wide variety of physical fitness and outdoor activities, one can visit the Cannonball Lanes Bowling Center, the Game Time Sports Grill, the Liberty Center, or Craftech, where one can take a variety of arts and crafts classes. Also, if one likes working on their car, there is a fully stocked auto repair shop.
Similar to Dahlgren, NSF Indian Head offers a variety of outdoor and physical fitness activities, and there is also the Stars and Strikes Bowling Center, the Auto Skills Center (where one can take classes about automobiles), and the Globe and Anchor pub or the Tiki Bar. Visit the Liberty Center for a variety of activities to participate in to just relax.
No matter if one's tastes are historical or recreational, the tenant facilities of NSASP, NSF Indian Head and Dahlgren will provide something for everyone to participate in.
For more information on NSASP, NSF Indian Head and NSF Dahlgren, locate their base guides on www.dcmilitary.com.