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The importance of Naval Station Norfolk
The base — one of the largest in the U.S. military and the largest Naval Station in the world — is home to 78 ships, including cruisers, submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers. The base also houses more than 130 aircraft, as well as Naval Special Operations Forces and Marines. Some of the most renowned Naval ships are stationed at Norfolk, including the USS Enterprise — the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier — as well as the USS Iwo Jima and USS Harry Truman. Also stationed at the base is the USS Cole, the guided missile destroyer that was attacked by al-Qaida in October 2000.
The rich history of the base and the ships that are homeported there adds considerable meaning to the visiting WWE Superstars and Divas.
“I just appreciate the fact that I am lucky enough to say ‘thank you’ to the troops on a personal level,” Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston told WWE.com.
As with previous years, WWE’s Superstars and Divas interact with the troops in the days leading up to the event, participating in activities with the brave men and women of the military. Though the U.S. service members always appreciate the visits, WWE Superstars like Kingston equally value the opportunity to see them.
“Whenever we visit the troops, they are excited to meet us, but realistically we are there to thank them,” he explained. “To enlist yourself voluntarily in the military for the sake of others is so selfless, and I really appreciate that.”
Naval Station Norfolk became one of the largest military installations in the years before America entered World War II. During 1940, the base rapidly expanded, adding more personnel and naval aircraft. The move proved to be crucial in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the largest U.S. Naval base in the Pacific Ocean. Since the Second World War, Norfolk has continued to expand — currently occupying 3,400 acres of land.
In the days leading up to WWE Tribute to the Troops, WWE’s Superstars and Divas will have the chance to witness the awesome power stationed at Naval Station Norfolk first-hand. This year the ability to see submarines, aircraft carriers and fighter jets up-close adds a new meaning behind observing the operations of the most powerful Navy in the world.
One special activity the Superstars and Divas will participate in this year is watching the famed Army vs. Navy football game with the sailors stationed at Naval Station Norfolk. The game, which features the teams of the Army’s West Point Academy and the Navy’s Annapolis Naval Academy, is an American tradition that has taken place annually since 1930. The game has become a highlight of the storied friendly rivalry between the two branches of the U.S. military.
Check back with WWE.com for exclusive coverage of WWE’s visit to Naval Station Norfolk, and tune in to the two-hour WWE Tribute to the Troops Dec. 19 at 9/8 CT on USA Network and the one-hour special Dec. 22 at 8/7 CT on NBC.