Government Island, an artificial island, was formed in 1913 in the Oakland Estuary between Oakland and Alameda. The Coast Guard first came to the island in 1926 when it established Base 11.
An Executive Order signed in September 1931 gave title to a 15 acre tract for a permanent base. Improvements were started at that time and by 1933 included streets, utilities, spur tracks, a trestle bridge from Oakland, a transformer station, and rebuilding of the existing wharves. The cost was more than one and a half million dollars and provided facilities for Base 11 and the Coast Guard Store (warehouses).
The shore establishment expanded in 1939 with the amalgamation of the Lighthouse Service. A training center was established in 1940 to meet the service's increased personnel needs.
Thirty-five acres were acquired from the city of Alameda in 1939 with an additional 17 acres purchased by the Coast Guard in 1942. The entire island of 67 acres was devoted to training center facilities. The first contract awarded February 21, 1942, provided for five barracks, mess hall and galley, engineering and administration buildings, an infirmary, roadways, heating, plumbing, electrical and fire protection. The contract was completed June 30, 1942 at a cost of $1,680,082.94. Additional contracts for another half million dollars provided for additional barracks, clothing issue building, paving a drill field, band room, incinerator, anti-aircraft trainer building, and docks for small boats.
The training center was first opened in June 1, 1942 with accommodations for 900 men. It was solely to train recruits. Specialty training was added later to include fireman, signalman, laundryman, radioman, boatswain's mate, cooks and bakers, and volunteer port security.
After the war Government Island remained a Coast Guard Training Center with addition of the Weather Bureau, Internal Auditors, and the Bureau of Roads. During the late 1960's the Training & Supply Center was the Coast Guard's largest field unit on the West Coast. The Training Center graduated 60-100 seaman and fireman apprentices each week. The Supply Center provided support to the western area districts including Squadrons One and Three in Viet Nam. The cutters TANEY, GRESHAM, and BARATARIA were homeported at the island.
In 1982 the Training Center was closed and recruit training was accomplished exclusively at Cape May, NJ. Support Center Alameda was established June 1, 1982 and the island was renamed Coast Guard Island. The Pacific Area Command, Coast Guard District Eleven, and Marine Safety Office San Francisco Bay moved from downtown San Francisco to the island. On June 24, 1987 the Maintenance & Logistics Command Pacific was established and located on the island. The Support Center was redesignated as Integrated Support Command Alameda on March 15, 1996. The Integrated Support Command was disestablished on September 28, 2009 and Base Support Unit Alameda stood up along with Personnel Services and Support Unit and Health Services Work Life Field Office Alameda.
On 15 February 2012, Base Alameda stood up. BSU, PSSU, and HSWL Alameda were disestablished and became five departments under Base. NESU and ESU Alameda are subordinate commands in Base Alameda.
On 17 May 2013 NESU and ESU Alameda were disestablished and became departments. Base Alameda is now a command of over 500 military, civilian and contractor personnel in an AOR that provides support from San Diego to Humboldt Bay in California.