Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
17320 Dahlgren Road
Dahlgren, VA 22448-5100
Naval presence at Dahlgren began in 1918 when the U.S. Naval Proving Ground was relocated due to the existence of an extended river range for large-caliber naval guns. The site originally was called the "Lower Station" of the "Indian Head Proving Ground" but was redesignated the "Naval Weapons Laboratory" shortly before World War II with the addition of highly technical ordnance work and design of aerial bombsights for naval aircraft. In 1974, the name was changed to the Naval Surface Weapons Center to better reflect the work being done at Dahlgren and, in 1979, the name became the Naval Surface Warfare Center with the merger of the former Naval Ordnance Laboratory at White Oak, Maryland, under the Dahlgren umbrella. By a special
Base Relocation and Closure Act (BRAC) decision in 1991 to consolidate naval weapons laboratories into a parent Naval Surface Warfare Center located at Crystal City, Virginia, Dahlgren's name was changed to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. In preparing a history of Dahlgren, the publication division developed a collection of documents which includes biographical files of key people, extracts from publications, photographs, press clippings, elections from Congressional hearings, correspondence and historical summaries. Of special significance is the manuscript, "History, U.S. Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia, April 1918-December 1945," by Captain David I. Hedrick and "Dahlgren," by Kenneth McCollum. There is also an oral history collection.