The annex remained a secret to the general public until 1985 when two nuclear weapons researchers published a book, Nuclear Battlefields, identifying the base as a storage site for 140 nuclear depth bombs, as well as conventional weapons. Unsurprisingly, the Navy never confirmed or denied the storage of nuclear weapons in the Jacksonville area.

Those who knew about the weapons turned a blind eye to it, seeing it as nothing more than just business. Others weren’t too happy about convoys carrying nuclear weapons through downtown Jacksonville and over the bridges.

On September 27, 1991, George H.W. Bush announced that all nuclear weapons would be removed from Navy ships and Air Force planes in the first step toward dismantling them. The last of the weapons were loaded onto trucks on October 1, 1993, to be dismantled at the Department of Energy’s Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Cecil Field was decommissioned in 1999 and turned over to the city of Jacksonville for redevelopment and later converted into Cecil Commerce Center. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center, the Jacksonville Aquatic Center, a community center, softball complex, and other amenities are on the north side of the base where Yellow Water was located at.

A few structures and the earth-covered bunkers where the nuclear armaments were stored are really all that’s left of Yellow Water Compound. Barbed wire fencing still surrounds the area. The foundation for a helicopter landing pad can still be made out with sprigs of weeds poking out of the concrete. Despite that, visitors are still not allowed and those caught there will be considered trespassing.


Article and photographs courtesy of Bullet at Abandoned Florida.