DIEGO GARCIA. The Secret U.S. Naval Base
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On 1 October 1977, Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia, was established as the senior United States Navy command on the island. At the time the NAVCOMMSTA was the primary tenant, but as the new major facilities were completed, most notably the expanded anchorage and mooring area and the extended airfield, other tenants were commissioned.
In 1980, the United States Navy established the Near-Term Prepositioned Force of 16 ships. Then NTPF became the Afloat Prepositioning Force (AFP) and eventually Maritime Prepositioning ship Squadron Two (MPSRON 2) consisting of 20 deep-water pre-positioned logistics ships anchored in the lagoon.
In 1981, the Naval Air Facility was commissioned. It was decommissioned in 1987 and its responsibilities returned to the NSF.
In 1982, Construction activities were transferred from the Seabees to a consortium of civilian contractors, and the majority of the projects were completed by 1988. On 26 March 1982, Barbara Shuping and five other women were assigned to the NSF. Prior to this assignment, no women had lived on island since those on the plantation in 1971.
In 1985, the new port facilities were completed, and the USS Saratoga (CV-60) was the first aircraft carrier to tie up.
Strategic Air Command began deploying Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers and aerial refueling aircraft to the newly completed airfield facilities in 1987.
Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, three ships of COMPSRON 2 sortied, delivering a Marine Expeditionary Brigade to Saudi Arabia for participation in the Gulf War. Other COMPSRON 2 ships offloaded the munitions, bombs, and fuel on Diego Garcia that were required for the American bomber fleet that deployed to airfield.