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Naval Air Station Jacksonville or NAS Jacksonville is a military airport located four miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Jacksonvillemarker, in Duval Countymarker, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker.

History

The first detail of Marines arrived from Parris Island, South Carolinamarker on June 4, 1940 to secure the area formerly known as Camp Johnston. They set up a barracks in a former residence on Allegheny Rd. On October 15, 1940, Naval Air Station Jacksonville was officially commissioned, and became the first part of the Jacksonville Navy complex that would also include NAS Cecil Fieldmarker and Naval Station Mayportmarker. Captain Charles P. Mason raised his pennant as the station's first commanding officer.

Prior to the commissioning, on September 7, Commander Jimmy Grant became the first pilot to land on the still unfinished runway in his N3N-3 biplane. More than 10,000 pilots and 11,000 aircrewmen followed their lead to earn the wings of gold at the station during World War II.

Increased training and construction characterized Jacksonville’s response to America’s entry into World War II. Three runways over 6,000 feet long were operating, as were seaplane ramps. Overhaul and Repair facilities (what is the Naval Aviation Depot today) were built to rework the station's planes.
FAA Airport Diagram
More than 700 buildings sprung to life on the base before V-J (Victory over Japan) Day, including an 80 acre hospital and a prisoner-of-war compound which housed more than 1,500 German prisoners of war. Archbishop (later Cardinal) Francis J. Spellman dedicated the Catholic Chapel (St. Edward’s) at its Birmingham Avenue location on January 17, 1943. The chapel and other buildings constructed during the war years, intended for a life of only 20 years, are still in use.

During the late 1940’s the jet age was dawning and in 1948 the Navy’s first jet carrier air groups and squadrons came to Jacksonville. By April 1949, Jacksonville was the East Coast's plane capitol with more aircraft stationed here than at any other base from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean –60 percent of the fleet air striking force in the Atlantic area from pole to pole.

NAS Jacksonville was growing. Fleet Air Wing Eleven had just made its move to the base, bringing with it VP-3 from Coco Solo, Panama and VP-5 from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The now famous Blue Angels, who had called NAS Jacksonville home but moved to NAS Corpus Christi in the late 1940’s, performed a last air show at the station on April 29, 1950, before forming a nucleus of an operational squadron (Satan’s Kittens) which was assigned to combat in Korea. The "Blues" would not return to the station for more than two years. The Naval Air Technical Training Center was reactivated and included nine different schools.

Aerial view of NAS Jacksonville in the mid-1940s
In the mid-fifties, an air traffic control center for joint use by the Navy, Air Force, and Civil Aeronautics Administration was approved and completed at a cost of $325,000. Major changes also occurred as parking ramps were added to the land plane hangars and a -long taxiway was built.

By the mid-1950s, with the station's continuing growth, the Navy was having a tremendous impact on the economic growth in the Jacksonville area. The station had over 11,000 military assigned, along with 5,000 civilians, and a payroll of more than $35 million.

In 1973, with the assignment of Helicopter Antisubmarine Wing One, the station’s primary mission became antisubmarine warfare. Accompanying the wing were five helicopter squadrons which are still based here today. With the new wings and squadrons, opportunities grew for sea and shore assignment to NAS Jacksonville. The station's popularity grew and it became the most requested duty station for Sailors throughout the Navy.

A piece of history and Navy tradition was lost in 1986 when the last unit of Marines left the base. Marine Barracks Jacksonville had been one of the first groups to arrive at the base in 1940, but left due to mission realignments and a reduction in Marines authorized for Marine Corps Security Force duties at U.S. Naval installations.

Current operations

Naval Air Reserve Training Unit hangar 113 in 1958


Today, 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel are employed on the base. The installation is considered to be one of the hubs for naval activity in the U.S. South. Other U.S. Navy Bases in the area include Naval Station Mayportmarker, Naval Submarine Base Kings Baymarker in Camden County, Georgiamarker, Naval Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse, and the now closed Naval Air Station Cecil Fieldmarker.

In addition to the many operational squadrons aboard, NAS Jacksonville is home to Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the Navy's largest aviation squadron and the only P-3C "Orion" Fleet Replacement Squadron that prepares and trains U.S. and NATO/Allied pilots, air crew and maintenance personnel for further operational assignments. NAS Jacksonville is also an Aviation Maintenance training facility for several aviation rates, facilitated by Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jacksonville.

Support facilities include an airfield for pilot training, a maintenance depot employing more than 150 different trade skills capable of performing maintenance as basic as changing a tire to intricate micro-electronics or total engine disassembly, a Naval Hospital, a Fleet Industrial Supply Center, a Navy Family Service Center, and recreational facilities for the single sailor or the entire family.

Tenant Commands

A P-3C Orion from VP-5.
Aviation Units Shore Commands
  • Commander, Naval Region Southeast
  • Commander, Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Eight
  • Fleet Area Control & Surveillance Facility
  • Fleet Readiness Center Southeast
  • Transient Personnel Unit
  • Fleet & Industrial Supply Center Jacksonville
  • Naval Air Reserve / Navy Operational Support Center
  • Naval Aviation Forecast Component Jacksonville
  • Naval Computer & Telecommunications Station
  • Naval Supply Center Jacksonville
  • Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Jacksonville
  • NAVFAC Southeast Headquarters


References



External links




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