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O-class submarines at Coco Solo in 1923.

Aerial view of the U.S. Naval Station Coco Solo in 1941

Coco Solo was a United States Navy submarine base established in 1918 on the Atlantic Ocean (northwest) side of the Panama Canal Zone, near Colón, Panama.

US Senator John McCain was born in 1936 at a small Navy hospital[1][2] at Coco Solo Naval Air Station.[3][4]

The larger Coco Solo Hospital was constructed in the summer of 1941.[2] The area containing it was transferred from the civil part of the Panama Canal Zone to the naval part when Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8981 on December 17, 1941.[5] During World War II, Coco Solo also served as a Naval Aviation Facility, housing a squadron of P-38 Lightning aircraft.

By the 1960s, no US Navy vessels remained, only some support staff and housing. Coco Solo was also home to the Atlantic Side High School and Cristobal Junior and Senior High, which in the late 1970s was also the high school for Panamanians from Rainbow City. Also located in Coco Solo was the local commissary where Zonians would purchase food and clothing. At the far end of Randolph Road was Fort Randolph, unused except for military training exercises, and where the Fort Randolph Riding Club was located as used by the Canal Zone Horsemen's Association. Until the mid-1990s, the town site of Coco Solo was used by the civilian employees of the Panama Canal as a residential area. Navy communications operations at the nearby Galeta Island facility were conducted as well.

After the return of the Panama Canal to Panamanians in 1999, US military activity ceased at both Coco Solo and Galeta Island.

Coco Solo is presently the site of two container terminals: Colon Container Terminal[6] and Manzanillo International Terminal, which is the busiest container port in Latin America.[7]

See also


  1. Alexander, Paul (2002). Man of the People: The Life of John McCain. John Wiley & Sons. p. 12. ISBN 0-471-22829-X. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dobbs, Michael (2008-05-20). "The Fact Checker: John McCain's Birthplace". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  3. Timberg, Robert (1999). John McCain: An American Odyssey. Touchstone Books. ISBN 0-684-86794-X.  pp. 17–34.
  4. Dobbs, Michael (2008-05-02). "The Fact Checker: Citizen McCain". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  5. "Executive Order 8981 - NAVY HOSPITAL AREA, COCO SOLO, CANAL ZONE". United States Government. 1941-12-17. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  6. "Colon Container Terminal, S.A. - Location". Colon Container Terminal, S.A.. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  7. "Manzanillo International Terminal Case Study". Tideworks Technology. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 

External links

Coordinates: 9°22′21″N 79°52′52″W / 9.37262°N 79.8812°W / 9.37262; -79.8812

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