Monday, May 16, 2022

28-year-old time capsule reburied at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown

A 28-year-old time capsule was reburied at the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. (WYDaily/Photo by Molly Feser)

YORKTOWN — 28 years of history was lowered into the ground at Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Yorktown. 

On Monday, April 19, NWS Yorktown reburied a 28-year-old time capsule filled with photographs, souvenirs and memories of a pandemic year. 

A ceremony was held on the base to commemorate the moment, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was limited to only 10 people. 

However, the entire community’s presence was represented there through the items that were being buried. 

The time capsule was originally buried in 1993 as part of the base’s 75th anniversary, and was filled with photos and memorabilia that reflected the rich history of NWS Yorktown.

It was unearthed at the installation’s Centennial on August 10, 2018. 

Photos and memorabilia from the 1993 burial was included in this time capsule, along with other items that showed the history of NWS Yorktown. (WYDaily/Photo by Molly Feser)

Over 100 years ago, the grounds for the weapons station was acquired for the Navy by a presidential proclamation on August 7, 1918. At the time, it was the largest naval installation in the world. 

Today, the NWS Yorktown is the Navy’s primary east coast facility for explosive ordnance storage, handling, maintenance and development.

Dr. Frances Goodwin Holt, who was in attendance on Monday, has seen a lot of history in her time at the weapons station. 

Dr. Holt retired as the Executive Director of the Navy Munitions Command in 2014 after nearly 50 years of service. 

“I was here when we buried this the first time,” Holt said. “We thought, ‘Oh, man. That’s not going to be dug up for a long time!’ Well the time went very fast.”

NWS Yorktown spokesperson, Susanne Greene, said that the time capsule was in her office when she began working there in 2018. 

“We added items to the time capsule throughout 2019 from our tenants with the intent of a Spring 2020 ceremony, but then COVID-19 hit our nation and changed everyone’s plans,” she said.

This year, Greene and Captain Jason J. Schneider, Commanding Officer of NWS Yorktown, decided that it was time to rebury the capsule. 

In addition to original artifacts from the 1993 burial, other items were selected, including souvenirs from the Centennial celebration and an optical lens with an engraved command logo. 

The Navy’s lead combat eyeglass manufacturing facility is located right there at NWS Yorktown. 

Other items included were a NWS Yorktown mug and a COVID-19 vaccine card, as well as other items representing the departments.

“I think the vaccine card really captured what events are impacting us today that maybe 25 or 50 years from now people will have lost perspective on,” Captain Schneider said. 

The time capsule was lowered back into the ground, where it will remain for the next 25 years. (WYDaily/Photo by Molly Feser)

Today, the base is home to 35 tenant commands, including Navy Munitions Command, Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility and the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment.

It also holds over 5,000 military, civilians and family members.  

The ceremony concluded with Captain Schneider and deputy public works officer Drew Robins lowering the capsule back into the ground, where it will remain for the next 25 years. 

“This ceremony just shows the rich heritage that we have here at NWS Yorktown,” Captain Schneider said. “To see all of that history in context of what we do today really just brings it full-circle.”

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