Naval Air Station Key West, Fla. (NASKW) is the U.S. Navy’s premier training station for tactical aviation squadrons. Local aerial ranges enable aviators to engage in training maneuvers within minutes of takeoff. This saves fuel, time and tax dollars. The station is equipped with a sophisticated tactical combat training system, similar to the one depicted in the popular movie “Top Gun,” which tracks and records combat aerial maneuvers. Training officers can use this system to watch their students’ flight performances in real time and, after training sessions, students can watch and critique their own flight performances on screen. As a host station, NASKW provides and maintains facilities and services for tenants, and ensures quality of life for personnel. The station is located within a national marine sanctuary. Mission is carefully integrated with the environment and in concert with the community.
The military presence in Key West dates back to 1823 when a U.S. naval base was established, commanded by Commodore David Porter, to suppress piracy in the surrounding waters. To combat pirates in the shallow waters around the region, Porter used an old New York steam ferryboat, the Sea Gull, to tow Sailor-manned barges to cut off pirate escape routes. This was the first instance of a steam-propelled vessel being used in the U.S. Navy.
Air Lanes Bowling Center
Located in Building A-337, the is the only bowling facility in the Lower Keys. Air Lanes features 10 bowling lanes, a pro shop and computers with Internet access. The Runway Grill is also located in the center and has food and beverages, a full-service bar and party facilities. For more information, call 305-293-2976.
Located on Boca Chica Key, Key West Naval Air Station is located four miles northeast of Key West proper. Known as “the Caribbean of the United States,” the Keys are as close as you can get to paradise without leaving the country. Due to the Keys’ proximity to both Cuba and the Caribbean, their history is as colorful as their inhabitants. The area has sheltered Spanish conquistadors, French pirates, Caribbean salvagers, Cuban shipbuilders and East Coast sailors. In fact, many of the structures built on the Keys date back to the 1850s, and many of the land titles and deeds were issued from the King of Spain. The surrounding communities offer so many unique sights and activities — each Key is a veritable “Treasure Island” for you to explore.
As you reach the last major island of the Florida Keys, you are entering the very southernmost city of the continental United States. Key West measures 1.5 by 4 miles. It is located 93 miles north of Cuba and 153 miles southwest of Miami at 24.5 degrees above the equator. It’s tropical throughout the year with a history of frost-free weather.
About a five-hour drive up Overseas Highway 1 from Key West, the Everglades National Park encompasses more than 1.5 million acres of diverse ecological preserves and is the only subtropical wilderness area in the United States. A co-mingling of both fresh and saltwater, the Everglades Ecosystem is resplendent with rare and endangered species and offers numerous opportunities for exploring. Camping, hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, biking, boating, swimming, diving and snorkeling are just some of the ways one can experience the multivariate natural wonders of this designated World Heritage site.