NAS North Island
Official U.S. Navy Aerial Photograph of Naval Base Coronado, Naval Air Station North Island and the San Diego area. Photo credit: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith DeVinney/US Air Force

A vehicle with suspected bomb-making material was stopped from entering Naval Air Station North Island about 9 a.m. Tuesday, and a “person of interest” — later identified as a sailor — was briefly detained, according to Navy authorities.

The Third Street main entrance was closed, along with the Fourth Street outbound exit, said base spokesman Kevin Dixon.

Normal base operations resumed at 2 p.m.

“I would like to thank all the interagency partners for helping,” said Capt. Dwight “Woody” Clemons, commanding officer of the base. “We train to these types of scenarios on a regular basis.”

A press statement released at 10:43 a.m. said: “Navy security forces stopped an individual at … the main gate at the request of NCIS,” They discovered bomb-making material in a white pickup truck.

“Out of an abundance of caution,” said the statement, the gates were closed. On scene were Navy security forces, NCIS, the FBI and Navy explosives ordnance disposal and Coronado Police Department.

“NCIS has a person of interest in hand,” said Dixon. “They’re questioning. …. The person was stopped coming up to the gate, the point where the sentries are. It was discovered by our Navy security folks.”

Tuesday night, NBC San Diego reported that the driver of a white pickup was a male sailor.

The station added: “Navy Security Forces stopped the sailor at the request of Naval Criminal Investigative Service, according to base spokesperson Kevin Dixon. The bomb-making materials were not assembled into an explosive device, Dixon said.”

At least twice before in recent years, the base main entrance was closed for investigation of a possible vehicle bomb.

On April 20, 2017, the main gate was closed for nearly seven hours, creating heavy traffic backups on surrounding streets while a bomb squad investigated and determined that no such threat existed.

On Jan. 7, 2020, the discovery of a potentially suspicious device attached to a truck entering the base — also on a Tuesday — prompted a roughly hourlong closure of the main gate.

An inspector at the naval aviation facility on the north end of the Coronado peninsula noticed the unidentified object — a box with a wire protruding from it — on the undercarriage of the commercial vehicle during a routine check about 8:30 a.m., said Dixon at the time.

Updated at 12:08 a.m. Feb. 16, 2022