While construction of a naval supply depot in Bayonne began in March of 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into World War II dramatically increased the construction schedule. The United States Naval Supply Depot, Bayonne, was commissioned in 1942. A dry dock was built to accommodate Essex class aircraft carriers and the newly designed Iowa class battle ships. The Bayonne Navy Base, as it became known, became a major repair yard for wartime vessels and, during the war, usually berthed ten or more ships simultaneously. In addition, the Bayonne Navy Base was also one of the major logistical centers for Allied operations in the European Theater, with total throughput of goods in the hundreds of millions of tons.
In 1946, the U.S. Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center was relocated to Bayonne from New York, and events here would become the basis for the 2000 motion picture, Men of Honor.
Also in 1946, the Naval Supply Corps School was relocated to Bayonne, where it is estimated that one third of all Naval Supply Officers passed their training.
During the 1950s, the Bayonne Navy Base was the Department's busiest port of its kind. The base played a key role in supporting much of the rebuilding effort in Europe, as well as being instrumental in carrying out the Marshall Plan and other significant military and civilian operations during the early days of the Cold War.
In 1965, the Department of Defense decided to consolidate the Bayonne Navy Base and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Renamed the Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne (MOTBY), the facility became a Department of Defense East Coast Logistical Support Center. When it was re-commissioned in 1967 as a U.S. Army installation, the combined facility employed over 2, 500 civilians.
During the 1970s and 1980s, MOTBY's primary mission was overseas support for all personnel stationed in the Western Hemisphere. Additionally, in 1976, the Military Sealift Command-Atlantic (MSCLANT) was relocated here.