Naval Station Everett’s commanding officer, Capt. Mike Davis, gave his first State of the Station speech on Thursday. (Andy Bronson, Herald file)

Naval Station Everett’s commanding officer, Capt. Mike Davis, gave his first State of the Station speech on Thursday. (Andy Bronson, Herald file)

Navy growth might require a bigger Naval Station Everett

The military hopes to add 70 ships by 2050, but so far there are no plans to expand the base here.

EVERETT — The Navy is looking to increase its fleet by 20 percent in the next few decades.

That means more ships could be assigned to Naval Station Everett in the coming years, said Capt. Mike Davis, the base’s commanding officer.

However, there are no set plans to expand the installation.

Davis gave his first State of the Station address Thursday afternoon. The event was sponsored by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. He became the installation’s commanding officer last summer, following Capt. Mark Lakamp.

Hundreds of elected officials and local representatives listened to Davis speak as they had lunch on the naval base. Round tables filled the banquet room, where a giant American flag was displayed on the wall.

The gathering was sort of a celebration. This month marks 25 years that Naval Station Everett has been open. Davis cut a birthday cake with white-and-blue frosting that was passed around for dessert.

He’s been in the Navy for 31 years and has been stationed all over the country.

“I will tell you, of all the other installations I’ve been to, the relationship between the community and the naval station here is so much better than any other place I’ve seen before,” he said.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers talked about how the shore’s landscape has changed in the past quarter-century.

“A number of us can remember the working waterfront of Everett — the mills that were here and the belching smokestacks,” he said. “It was hard to envision when they were talking about a naval port, but what a beautiful facility this is and an important part of our city, county and country. We are so proud to be home to Naval Station Everett.”

The base has two piers. There currently are five warships homeported there.

Naval Station Everett celebrates 25 years this month. Capt. Mike Davis talked about its future on Thursday. (Andy Bronson, Herald file)

Naval Station Everett celebrates 25 years this month. Capt. Mike Davis talked about its future on Thursday. (Andy Bronson, Herald file)

The Navy announced its plan in 2016 to boost its force. It currently has 289 vessels, and hopes to increase that number to 355 by about 2050. Davis estimates that about a dozen ships could eventually dock in Everett.

“We don’t have enough power to support the ships we would expect over the long term,” Davis said.

More resources would likely have to be built, such as cafeterias, barracks and dock space.

Vessels anchored here now include the USS Momsen, the USS Kidd, the USS Gridley, the USS Sampson and the USS Ralph Johnson. All are destroyers.

There also are two smaller Coast Guard ships: the USCGC Henry Blake, a buoy tender, and the USCGC Blue Shark, a patrol boat.

The USS Ralph Johnson is the most recent addition. It arrived nearly a year ago, just after it was commissioned.

One of the longest-homeported ships left in February. The USS Shoup anchored here in 2002. After a lifetime in Everett, its new home is San Diego.

Each destroyer has a crew of about 300. Aircraft carriers are much larger, with nearly 3,000 sailors. It was announced earlier this year that the carrier USS Nimitz would not return to Everett as expected.

The Naval station brings a big economic boost to the region. Each year it generates about $340 million and provides 4,000 jobs, between both the waterfront and Smokey Point campuses, spokeswoman Kristin Ching said.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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