In 1983, Everett was selected from among 13 ports as an ideal location for the Navy’s Strategic Homeport Initiative. Early plans to build a homeport in Everett were successfully advocated by U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington State and further supported by the local community. The concept took shape as construction of the new naval facility began in November 1987. Initial Operating Capability was achieved in April 1994, followed by arrival of the first homeported ships later that year.
The Navy acquired a second 52-acre site to locate community support facilities in Marysville. The Smokey Point Family Support Complex was dedicated on August 25, 1995. Its completion marked the final transition of tenant commands from Naval Station Puget Sound to Everett.
Among the first ships to be assigned to Everett were the frigates USS Ingraham and USS Ford in 1994. The destroyers USS Paul F. Foster, USS David R. Ray, USS Callaghan, and USS Chandler arrived during the next few years, from 1994-1996. To complete the first battle group, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln made a change of homeport from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton to Everett on January 8, 1997.