Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown occupies the easternmost tip of Virginia's historical triangle, formed by Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. In 1629, the Virginia Council issued an order calling for the settlement of the south bank of the Charles (now York) River. The following year, Governor Sir John Harvey was given a land patent of 752 acres at Wormley Creek establishing Yorke Village. The designation of Yorke Village as a marine port in 1633 demonstrated the importance of maritime commerce to these first settlers.
Although the exact size and population of Yorke village is not known, history clearly indicates that during a major portion of the 1600's it served as the social, municipal, and religious center of the portion of the York River area. The only remaining feature from either of the two churches from Yorke Village is the gravestone of Major William Gooch, who died in October 1655. The Gooch grave is one of the oldest legible tombstones n the New World. The decline and eventual abandonment of Yorke village coincided with the upriver development of Yorktown as a superior deepwater port in the late 1690's.
Yorktown's moment in history began September 28, 1781, when a group of Colonial and French soldiers set out from Williamsburg to lay siege to the British Army that had fortified the seaport hamlet. Twenty-one days later, Washington had defeated Cornwallis and his British regiments. The surrender was signed at the Moore House, located just outside the entrance to the Training Center.
During the Civil War, this area became the site of fortifications established by the Army of the Potomac. These fortifications served as part of the siege line established around Yorktown. Once the Union Army was in control of the Peninsula, these trenches became defensive protection in the event of a Confederate attack up the York River.
In 1917, the United States Navy purchased 400 acres of the Yorktown, Virginia, peninsula to serve as a fuel depot. In 1942, the Navy established its Mine Warfare School on a portion of this land. The Coast Guard took possession of the Mine Warfare School site in 1959, and the "Reserve Training Center" (RTC), as it was originally called, was officially commissioned on the 3rd of July the same year. The original purpose of RTC was to serve as the home for the Coast Guard's Officer Candidate School and a large summer training program for Reservists.
Since that beginning, RTC Yorktown has become TRACEN Yorktown and has grown into the Coast Guard's largest training command, providing instruction in all of the Coast Guard's operational programs. The pride, professionalism, and excellence of staff and students alike, clearly pay tribute to the colonial vision and courage that gave birth to our great nation.