Coco Solo

Naval Base Coco Solo
Cativá, Panama
Aerial view of the U.S. Naval Station Coco Solo in 1941
Type Naval base
Site information
Controlled by  United States Navy
Site history
In use 1918–1999

Coco Solo was a United States Navy submarine base and naval air station, active from 1918 to the 1960s. It was established May 6, 1918.[1] The site corresponds with modern-day Cativá in Panama. It was on the Atlantic Ocean (northwest) side of the Panama Canal Zone, near Colón, Panama. Five C-class submarines were based there during 1914–1919.

United States Senator John McCain was born in 1936 at a small Navy hospital[2][3] at Coco Solo Naval Air Station.[4][5]

The larger Coco Solo Hospital was constructed in the summer of 1941.[3] The area containing it was transferred from the civil part of the Panama Canal Zone to the naval part when Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8981 on December 17, 1941.[6] During World War II, Coco Solo also served as a Naval Aviation Facility, housing a squadron of P-38 Lightning aircraft.

By the 1960s, no U.S. Navy vessels remained, only some support staff and housing. At the far end of Randolph Road was Fort Randolph, unused except for military training exercises, and where the Fort Randolph Riding Club was located as used by the Canal Zone Horsemen's Association.

Until the mid-1990s, the town site of Coco Solo was used by the civilian employees of the Panama Canal as a residential area. The nearby Galeta Island U.S. Navy communications facility continued in operation as well.

After the turnover of the Panama Canal to Panamanians in 1999, US military activity ceased at both Coco Solo and Galeta Island.

Coco Solo is now the site of two container terminals: Colon Container Terminal[7] and Manzanillo International Terminal, which is the busiest container port in Latin America.[8]

See also


  1. Van Wyen, Adrian O. (1969). Naval Aviation in World War I. Washington, D.C.: Chief of Naval Operations. p. 64.
  2. Alexander, Paul (2002). Man of the People: The Life of John McCain. John Wiley & Sons. p. 12. ISBN 0-471-22829-X.
  3. 1 2 Dobbs, Michael (2008-05-20). "The Fact Checker: John McCain's Birthplace". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  4. Timberg, Robert (1999). John McCain: An American Odyssey. Touchstone Books. ISBN 0-684-86794-X. pp. 17–34.
  5. Dobbs, Michael (2008-05-02). "The Fact Checker: Citizen McCain". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  6. "Executive Order 8981 – Navy Hospital Area, Coco Solo, Canal Zone". United States Government. 1941-12-17. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  7. "Colon Container Terminal, S.A." Colon Container Terminal, S.A. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  8. "Manzanillo International Terminal Case Study" (PDF). Tideworks Technology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-08-14.

Coordinates: 9°22′21″N 79°52′52″W / 9.37262°N 79.8812°W / 9.37262; -79.8812

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