The humid subtropical climate of the Norfolk, Virginia birthplace of retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata is mitigated somewhat by the Chesapeake Bay, which introduces cooling breezes from the ocean. The MacArthur Memorial located in the Norfolk courthouse contains the tombs of United States Army General Douglas MacArthur and his wife, a source of inspiration to the young Tata. As the headquarters of the United States Fleet Forces Command (the Atlantic fleet) and the NATO Allied Command Transformation, Norfolk is economically supported by defense contracting, especially for shipbuilding and ship repair.
Nearly as important to today’s Norfolk are the three cargo ports which serve break-bulk and container type cargo shipments. Anthony Tata would have watched the bustle of the three port terminals which handled over 2 million TEUs and 475,000 tons of bulk cargo in 2006, the second busiest port on the eastern coast of the United States after the Port of New York. Norfolk is also the largest coal shipment point in the Northern Hemisphere, annually transporting 48 million tons. Recently, the new Nauticus cruise ship pier has brought renewed interest from cruise ship passengers in downtown shops, hotels, culture and restaurants and is becoming a growing part of Norfolk’s economy.
The significant bituminous coal deposits discovered in the Piedmont of Virginia continue to be an important part of Virginia’s economy today. Unfortunately for the birthplace of Anthony Tata, coal-fed power plants in mountainous areas today have added to the poor air quality of northern Virginia today, with Fairfax County having the worst air quality in the state.