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Cheatham Annex is steeped in Supply Corps tradition and history.

Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC), Detachment Cheatham Annex (CAX), is steeped in Supply Corps tradition and history. Located 50 miles northwest of Norfolk in Williamsburg, Va., it is one of the few remaining Supply Depots in the Navy. Cheatham's physical distribution mission remains as important today as it was when the complex opened 59 years ago.

Positioned in the center of the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown historic triangle, CAX was once the location of a native Indian village. During World War I, it was the site of a large Dupont Corporation powder and shell-loading plant. Purchased by the Navy incident to World War II, CAX was commissioned in June 1943 as an annex to the Naval Supply Depot in Norfolk. The facility was renamed FISC Cheatham Annex in honor of RADM Joseph Johnston Cheatham, the 1929 Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, the forerunner of today's Naval Supply Systems Command. He was also the fifth and eighth commanding officer of Naval Supply Depot Norfolk. By association with the Norfolk operation, CAX has been part of the "World's Largest Store," providing logistics support to the fleet.

In 1998, base operating support (BOS) functions in the Mid-Atlantic Region were regionalized. As a result, base support responsibilities for CAX transferred from FISC to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. Under regionalization, support functions are administered by designated program managers. The commanding officer of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown is now the installation commander for Cheatham Annex. Though there has been BOS realignment at CAX, there remains a critical logistics mission and detachment at Cheatham that is part of FISC Norfolk. This detachment also maintains a storefront presence on the peninsula with responsibility for regional supply support.

CAX originally occupied about 3,400 acres but turned over 1,800 acres to the state of Virginia in the mid-1970s. Today, the footprint consists of 1,600 acres, including nearly 200 acres of lakes and marshlands. Eighteen warehouses provide approximately 2.3 million gross square feet of general-purpose unheated space and 300,000 gross square feet of controlled humidity space. Ten of Cheatham Annex's warehouses were built in 1943, with the remaining structures constructed in 1945.

CAX plays a vital role in executing the Naval Supply Systems Command's (NAVSUP) Strategic Plan as a depot with the facilities and capability to handle a spectrum of commodities from small binnables to the "big, the bad, and the ugly" parts. CAX currently stores over 15,000 large-sized items with a value in excess of $1 billion. It affords custody asset storage for large, bulky and unique Navy material and programs. Examples of special Navy components stowed at CAX include submarine periscopes, ship propellers, bull gears, antennae, and sonar domes. CAX functions as the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and Naval Sea Systems Command's East Coast consolidated stock points for major shipboard mechanical, electronic, and navigational material. CAX also operates the Navy's only personal effects distribution center.

CAX offers quality warehouse space in older, but well-maintained warehouses at significantly lower rates than comparable civilian facilities, providing customers low-cost storage and supply management. FISC Norfolk Cheatham Annex Detachment not only has a direct funded mission to hold stock material but also a reimbursable capability for sponsor-owned/government-owned material. CAX provides special warehouse and material distribution services for 51 storage authorization programs and tenant commands. The Coast Guard has recently signed on for storage support services. The Navy Curator and Naval Air SystemsCommand have expanded their presence and NAVSEA remains a long-term customer.

CAX's contribution to combat capability is most evident during times of war. It served as an assembly and shipping point for material destined for advanced overseas bases throughout World War II. Ten years ago during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, CAX performed a similar function by receiving, packing and staging equipment. Over 20-million pounds of aircraft matting was shipped from CAX in direct support of Operation Desert Storm alone. Today, CAX employees continue their long tradition of wartime service. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, FISC Norfolk Cheatham Annex Detachment has been charged with receiving, storing and dispatching patrol boats of various sizes to support homeland defense requirements. More than 130 of these boats have been shipped to Navy units involved with Operation Enduring Freedom. Some of these boats are being used in the waters off Cuba today. CAX employees have also handled as many as 24 CASREPS [casualty reports] in one day for deployed ships. CAPT James C. Davis, the Regional Supply Officer Peninsula, notes that, "Our CASREPS tend to be much bigger and more challenging to issue. Priority shipments range from multiton shafts and reduction gears, to screws (ships propellers) and sonar domes. Not just something you pop in the mail to a requiring unit."

FISC Norfolk Cheatham Annex Detachment is meeting the goal of being ready, resourceful and responsive. In doing so, the detachment continually seeks ways to provide the best possible logistics service that satisfies all customer needs. A few of the initiatives implemented consist of upgrading warehouses, improving inventory processes, developing spending plans/ tracking reimbursable monies, and decreasing the overall cost of doing business. Developing a skilled and flexible work force and marketing capabilities to become a more self-sufficient operation are just two of the key actions pursued daily. Improving our business practices is viewed as an essential step to developing the highest quality of service in improving fleet customer support.
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Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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