Naval Facility Grand Turk
October 1954 - March 1980
Naval Facility Grand Turk was commissioned 23 October 1954. The island was named after a species of indigenous cactus resembling a Turkish fez. Early visitors of note were Ponce De Leon (official discoverer of the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1512), possibly Christopher Columbus, and Lord Nelson, the famous British Admiral who battled the French as a young lieutenant. Worldwide attention was focused on Grand Turk in 1962 when Astronauts LT COL John Glenn and CDR Scott Carpenter were welcomed back to terra firma here on the island after completing their space flights in their Friendship Seven and Aurora space crafts. Since then Grand Turk has been visited by former President Lyndon Johnson and Queen Elizabeth on their respective tours of the Caribbean. NAVFAC Grand Turk was decommissioned 31 March 1980.