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On July 7, 1941, the second year of  the Second World War, the right bank of the river Potengi prepared the ground for the erection of a building Command of Natal Naval Base. The foundation provided support for Brazilian and allied ships operating in the South Atlantic during the conflict. In December 1941, arrived at Natal the first contingent of the Navy Patrol Squadron of the United States, with nine PBY-5 Catalinas and the seaplane tender "Clemson." Shortly afterward, the Marines arrived. In 1942 they were two hundred men.

A floating dock "City of Natal" was designed by the BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS and built in 1944 by TIDE WATER CONSTRUCTION CORP. Norfolk, Virginia-USA.

The same was moved to Brazil with the purpose of providing maintenance and repairs to vessels of the Fourth Fleet under command of the U.S.Navy operating in the region. At the end of the war, the U.S. Navy gave the drydock to Brazil. It was a large vessel, built in concrete with 120 meters length, stem to stern and 20 feet wide. Composed of 10 floating tanks responsible for the sinking of the vessel system, and two side wings, port and starboard, 12 meters high, with location for the cockpit, engine room, dorms and cafeterias.

The US Navy brought to Brazil two Floating Drydocks, being one with 1000 tons which was based at Natal Naval base. Both were very important in assistance for keeping ships in seaworthy conditions. During a period in 1944, YFD 38 had no less than 26 ships awaiting for repairs. After the end of the hostilities, this unit was transferred to the Brazilian Navy. The picture shows a sister ship YFD-60

Admiral Ary Parreiras the first Commander was sent to build Natal Naval Base. During those times of hardships and insurmountable odds he showed "force director, obstinacy, dictatorship of honesty, sacrifice mythical silent, and everyday discreet." There he was Head of the Installation Committee, and later its director.

This base was vital for the provision of logistic support to ships of Brazilian fleet and the U.S. squadron during the War. The fact that the ships would be used in patrolling, with few days off in port, its maintenance became very important. They had to be repaired with the utmost promptness and speed in order to be able to return to their mission as soon as requested.

Admiral Ary Parreiras (center in front) and his Staff during a visit to the base.

Herein, the Naval Base fulfilled his duty. Not only the professionalism of its staff, but being a new foothold on the Brazilian coast. Avoiding the shift to naval bases farther from the theater. The importance of maintenance of the ships in operation eventually led him to the presidency of the Supply of Spares for Destroyers and Sub Chasers. In the base the Brazilian Navy took delivery of 8 Escort Destroyers as well as 16 Patrol and Sub Chasers under the terms of Lend Lease Agreements.

Natal Naval Base buildings.

Several views of the Naval base still under construction circa 1942.

U.S. Escort Destroyers were delivered to Brazilian Navy one year after their completion.

Escort Destroyers delivery ceremony to the Brazilian Navy at Natal.

Brazilian Navy transport ship completed 1957 bore the name of Admiral Ary Parreiras.



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