(This is part of a series, Blogging from A to Z April 2014 Challenge. My theme for the challenge is Quintessential San Diego from A to Z, focusing on those things that are  typical, or perfect, or classic examples of San Diego life. Today is N.)

The Navy and San Diego are so intimately intertwined that I didn’t even think about the Navy when I was originally making my Quintessential San Diego A to Z list. You can see what I said, back in my introductory post:

I haven’t decided what to feature for every letter of the alphabet yet. Honestly, I’m kinda stuck on ‘X’. And not too happy about my choice for ‘N’. (Any ideas, anyone?)

I thought I’d use N is for the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. Now, The Nat is an impressive museum. Worth a visit. But lots of cities have natural history museums. Probably few people visit San Diego solely to see The Nat.


Happily, some of my girlfriends helped me out. N is for Navy! Facepalm. It is so obvious. Kind of like looking all over the house for your glasses when they are on the top of your head.

  • The Navy is why I was born in San Diego. After World War II, my dad went to college on the GI Bill. He graduated from the University of Texas, El Paso around 1950, as an electronic engineer. He married my mom – both are native Texans – and took a job at a place called the Naval Electronics Laboratory. So they moved out to San Diego. He never left. And that’s why I was born in San Diego.
  • The Navy is why my husband was born in San Diego. Both his parents are from the deep South. His dad was in the Navy during World War II. At one point the Navy sent him to San Diego, and loved it. After he married Bill’s mom, he managed to get them stationed here together, to see if she liked it. She did. So they said, ‘Let’s never leave.’ Bill was born at Balboa Naval Hospital.
  • Our next door neighbor growing up was a Navy Chief Petty Officer.
  • My best friend’s dad was a Captain in the Navy and later a Commander. (Embarrassed childhood memory – being corrected – ‘Not Mr. Gair, CAPTAIN Gair.’ ‘Oh, sorry.’ Then, a few years later, ‘Not Captain Gair, COMMANDER Gair.’ ‘Oh.’)
  • Near the house where I grew up is a large Navy Housing Complex. The kids who lived there went to junior high and high school with me.
  • And we’ve been fortunate over the years to make some wonderful friends while they were stationed in San Diego by the Navy. *Hello Reeder Family!!*
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, Now a Floating Museum

It all makes sense when you realize San Diego is home to the largest naval base in the Pacific.

Naval Base San Diego, sometimes called 32nd Street Naval Station, is the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 54 ships and over 120 tenant commands.

The base is a workplace for approximately 26,000 to 35,000 military, civilian, and contract personnel. 

Navy Working Uniform – NWU


Navy Service Dress Uniforms

So, of course, when it comes to San Diego, N is for Navy!

And I got unstuck about what “X” stands for in San Diego. Wait until you find out!