Memorial Drive & the Administrative Area

After flying over the area and seeing all the “swamp and jungle” as they referred to the site in Colts Neck, 12 miles from the sea, the Navy thought that would be a more suitable location. A railroad could be built at the waterfront on a smaller piece of land in the Bayshore, disrupt fewer people, and thereby restrict the construction to a minimum of developed property. Thus was the start of a second naval base in Monmouth County; it was named for Ralph Earle, a graduate of the Naval Academy in 1896 and Chief of Ordnance during World War I. It was first known as Naval Ammunition Depot Earle, with a clear mission to support all the operations conducted by the Department of Defense through the Navy. As an ammo site, the base is responsible for storing, repairing, developing and maintaining some of the most advanced weapons used by the US Navy troops, making it an essential base. PHOTO: Train Operations on the pier. A brief summary of the early history of Earle has some fascinating descriptions and information. It was described as “largely oak forest and woodland swamp, glen paradise for deer and other game. Pheasant and fox, deer and rabbit dwelt here in a world of their own, with only the baying of an occasional hound or the tread of an occasional hunter to astound them into seeking cover.” The officer writing the summary in the 1940s went on to say that “even now, …we can smile to see a hen quail, like a plump little bandy-legged woman, waddling over the crusted snow to our charitable handout of bread crumbs, her little family aligned behind her.” Or, on summer nights “we may stop breathless, as a stag, head lifted at the sound of our voices, stands in majesty, silhouetted against the rigid moon atop a magazine.” That was a description of the Colts Neck portion. For Leonardo, the writer continued. “skirting its shores had stood a cluster of gay little houses of prostitution, to which harried New York business ladies were wont to retire during the summer months in order to play their trade in a cooler, quieter atmosphere.” Today, NAD Earle is now Naval Weapons Station Earle, and its mission is still the same. The vitality of the base is evident in the quality of leadership that is assigned to command the 11,027 acres spread over five municipalities…Middletown, Colts Neck, Howell, Wall Township and Tinton Falls, including the approximate 20 mile rail and road line between the waterside and administrative side of the base.


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