Aerial view of Naval Station Norfolk shows the U.S. has not learned much from Pearl Harbor

Norfolk naval base (Image credit: U.S. Navy)

The photographs in this post, just released by the U.S. Naval Air Forces Facebook page, are impressive for a lot of reasons.

First, they provide what we could call an indirect “show of force”: there’s so much naval power (including USS Eisenhower, just returned from its last deployment) docked at Naval Station Norfolk that it’s hard to believe Washington will ever be scared of the only Chinese aircraft carrier currently at sea.

Second, it seems to suggest that the U.S. has not learned much from Pearl Harbor attack. Even though an aerial raid on Norfolk would probably be not easy (nor does it appear to be likely), the impressive line-up of flattops in the most important American naval station raises the question: is it better to concentrate or disperse?

I thought that Dec. 7, 1941, had shown that military targets have to be dispersed to be protected against (aerial, missile or terrorist) attacks. But the stunning photographs taken at Norfolk most probably prove that dispersion is not a requirement of modern scenarios.

Another photo of the U.S. Navy warships docked at Norfolk (Image credit: U.S. Navy)
About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I would bet that the concentration of the flattops in one place has pure logistical and therefore budgetary reasons. ;-)

  2. NS Norfolk for some time has been home port to all Atlantic Fleet carriers. NS Mayport was home port to USS Saratoga and USS Forrestal for many years and recently USS John F. Kennedy. Mayport does not have the facilities to berth nuclear powered CVs, that is just one of the reasons. As Thorsten said the other is logistical-the Newport Yard is literally a tugboat tow down the water when they go in for yard visits.
    Most of the airwing is homeported down the highway at NAS Oceana, the E-2/C-2s at Norfolk, only the Growlers have to fly x-country when embarking on the ship. I will loose no sleep that that the Taliban Navy is going to attack our fleet in port.

      • They would have to build the maintenance facilities for nuke operations and also dredge the harbor more in order to accept the berth of the nuke carriers.

  3. What’s sad is that in addition to the logistical, economic, and threat assessment reasons for this concentration, there is also a great big political reason: home port assignments involve billions of dollars a year in spending and are therefore highly sought after as “pork’.

  4. 1. How many of these carriers is actually commissioned? and 2. Submarine net or pollution control boom?

Comments are closed.