San Diego Navy Base is Still a Swastika
Four years ago, a bunch of Google Map junkies made international headlines when they found a Navy building shaped like a swastika on Coronado Island in San Diego. In response to the ensuing outrage, the L.A. Times reported the navy would “mask the swastika” and “has budgeted up to $600,000 for changes in walkways, ‘camouflage’ landscaping and rooftop photovoltaic cells.”
But, as the San Diego CityBeat reports, four years and $600,000 later, the building is still a swastika.
The barracks, designed in that shape unintentionally by architect John Mock and constructed between 1967 and 1970, came to global attention after 2005, when Google Earth images of the complex were distributed virally, leading to complaints from the Anti-Defamation League, Rep. Susan Davis and others.
In 2007, Navy spokesperson Scott Sutherland told The Los Angeles Times that the Navy did “not want to be associated with something as… hateful as the swastika” and would allocate approximately $600,000 in the 2008 budget to remodel the buildings, hiding the symbol.
After my column appeared, CityBeat received photographs taken of the complex by a source—who regularly flies over Coronado and wishes to remain anonymous—revealing that no changes had been made to the structure.
Following numerous requests for an explanation, the Navy e-mailed CityBeat a brief explanation of why nothing has been done. Commander Glenn Shephard, assistant regional engineer at Navy Region Southwest, said in that “at the end of fiscal year 2009, the near-term plan to allocate $625,000 to affix a canopy, visually connecting the rooflines at the southwest corner of the complex, was deemed not effective by the Navy’s project development team.”
I know the military isn’t especially good at cover-ups, but maybe this is one they should get on already.