Joint Reserve Base
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans is one of only two joint air Reserve military bases in the United States. It comprises about 5,200 acres in Plaquemines Parish and is composed of more than 7,000 personnel in 33 tenant commands. The installation’s airfield supports local squadrons from the Navy Reserve, Coast Guard, Marine Corps Reserve and the Louisiana Air National Guard. Two operational runways are maintained, with the larger offering 10,000 feet of usable space as well as a full complement of approaches for both instrument and visual landings. Multiple training detachments from the Navy, Air Force, Air National Guard, state, federal and joint service organizations are frequently supported through base operations.
The base also serves as an interim support base for disaster relief operations and actively participated in operations from Hurricane Katrina through Hurricane Isaac as well as national-interest events.
Medical care, child care, a charter school, the Navy Exchange and commissary services complement the quality of life offered aboard NAS JRB New Orleans.
The primary mission of NAS JRB New Orleans is to provide superior operational and training environments for active-duty and Reserve components from all branches of the armed services while sustaining the full spectrum of combat, peacetime and humanitarian operations. The base also serves as a platform for assistance with Homeland Security air defense through the Louisiana Air National Guard as well as search-and-rescue efforts for much of the Gulf Coast by Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans.
NAS JRB also provides aviation intermediate maintenance, supply, comptrollership and personnel support facilities for Navy and Naval Reserve personnel and has for more than 50 years.
The year 2002 was a banner one for the base as NAS JRB was recognized as the Navy’s most outstanding military shore installation and received the Conway Trophy for Base Installation Excellence. Also in 2002, Belle Chasse Academy opened, making it the first charter school on a military installation, and the number of on-base houses tripled with the completion of a public-private housing project, one of the first in the country.
In 2003 and again in 2005, NAS JRB was nominated by Navy Region Southeast to be its representative for the Secretary of Defense Shore Installation Excellence Awards given to the best military base of all the branches of service.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the central Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, NAS JRB became the center of DOD rescue-and-recovery efforts. During the first 10 days after the storm, more than 10,000 military personnel and relief workers were airlifted into NAS JRB, along with 18 million pounds of relief supplies. NAS JRB, with the only operating runways in New Orleans, became the primary search-and-rescue airfield for flights whose crews saved more than 10,000 lives in the New Orleans area.
While still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and preparing for the 2006 storm season, the first phases of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission were set into motion, and NAS JRB bid farewell to Patrol Squadron (VP) 94 as the squadron decommissioned on March 31, 2006. This was followed by the decommissioning of the 926th Fighter Wing of the Air Force Reserve on Sept. 30, 2006.
In 2008, the base welcomed the Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW-77), the Night Wolves, flying the E-2C Hawkeye and celebrated its 50th anniversary at its current location.
During the next two years and in line with more BRAC moves, the base welcomed more new tenants: Navy Band New Orleans, Navy Air Logistics Office, Navy Reserve Professional Development Center and the Military Entrance Processing Station.
In 2011, a new Navy Exchange and Commissary occupying more than 100,000 square feet opened on base to serve the military and their families. A new Marine Barracks was also completed and opened, and construction began on a 400-seat auditorium at Belle Chasse Academy. The building is a joint usage facility, available for base functions during non-school hours.
In October 2011, construction began on a new base air traffic control tower. The tower now gives air traffic controllers a better view of the airfield, provides more room for the training of new air traffic controllers and is designed to facilitate installation of new electronics as they come into future use. Growth aboard NAS JRB New Orleans continued in 2012 as Aviation Arbor Recreational Vehicle Park and a base sports complex opened in the spring. The RV park has 45 spots, including two that are handicap-accessible, and the sports complex features a quarter-mile running track, softball field, football and soccer field, playground, tennis courts, pavilion and concession stand, with restrooms. In August 2012, Hurricane Isaac deluged the area with rain and wind, knocking power out on base for days, uprooting trees and damaging buildings. Recovery from this storm continued throughout 2013.
In early 2013, the base saw the decommissioning of VAW-77, the opening of the Belle Chasse Academy auditorium and the reopening of the Liberty Center, which was heavily damaged in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac.
The air station’s new air traffic control tower became fully operational in 2014, and extensive construction began on upgrading the base’s airfield, runway and taxiways. The Navy Band New Orleans was decommissioned in September 2014, moving its people and equipment to Jacksonville, Florida.
In 2015, despite the unavailability of the primary runway due to an extensive $22 million airfield resurfacing project, the operations department executed 19,670 mishap-free flight operations and hosted 10 diverse detachments. These included the Canadian Navy, Canadian Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), POTUS, Arizona Air National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve paratroopers and a State of Louisiana/FEMA Medical Institute Evacuation exercise. The installation’s MWR Program continues its five-star accredited program — the highest possible rating — while the Fleet and Family Support Center was recognized by Commander Navy Installations Command for numerous program strengths.
Activities aboard the air station continued during 2016 with several public works projects including a base-wide drainage improvement project and an extensive redesign and upgrade to the main gate from Highway 23. Also, running paths throughout the base were renovated and improved as were athletic fields and community recreational facilities. Mishap-free flight hours numbered more than 18,000 as the transient line recovered, fueled and launched 565 transient aircraft with zero mishaps, and handled 968,400 pounds of cargo.
In 2017, NAS JRB New Orleans hosted its first air show in six years, highlighted by the Navy’s flight demonstration team, The Blue Angels. The three-day event drew more than 220,000 visitors to the base.
NAS JRB New Orleans regularly interacts with government and community organizations to improve public relations and ensure the Navy is recognized as a good steward of public funds and an involved member of the local community. With the oldest and largest state charter school on board a DOD installation and an “A” school recipient, Belle Chasse Academy, NAS JRB New Orleans provides superior educational services to more than 900 K-8 students. Along with the more than 900 family units on board the installation, NAS JRB New Orleans is easily recognizable as a superb family environment.
As home to commands representing multiple government agencies, NAS JRB New Orleans supports a unique population who live, work or serve on board the installation. On a daily basis, NAS JRB New Orleans is a constant center of activity for air operations, ground operations and a variety of family support services. From major military construction projects to the replacement of the smallest segment of sidewalk, NAS JRB New Orleans consistently and aggressively implements improvements to operations support, quality of life and the safety of personnel.
AVIATION SUPPORT DIVISION
A division of Fleet Readiness Center
Mid Atlantic Det. New Orleans
The Aviation Support Division (ASD) is the single point of contact for aviation maintenance activities requiring direct supply support. The specific mission of ASD New Orleans is to provide world-class supply support to Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Det. New Orleans and the local Navy and Marine Corps squadrons stationed at NAS JRB New Orleans along with filling fleet requisition referrals from around the world.
ASD New Orleans processes more than 28,000 requisitions and issues more than 24,000 repair parts from stock each year. In addition, it maintains an inventory of more than 12,000 parts valued in excess of $189 million. ASD New Orleans understands that “you can’t fly without supply” and strives to provide the best supply support possible to allow Navy and Marine Corps air forces to meet their mission.
FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER JACKSONVILLE
The mission of Navy Supply Fleet Logistics Center Jacksonville (FLCJ) in New Orleans is to deliver sustained global logistics capabilities to the Navy and Joint Warfighter. FLCJ manages supply chains that provide material for Navy aircraft, surface ships, submarines and their associated weapons systems. The center also provides a wide range of base operating and waterfront logistics support services, coordinating material deliveries, micro-purchasing for supplies and services and furnishing material management, HAZMAT management, official mail services, fuel services and household goods/personal property shipping and warehousing services.
FLEET READINESS CENTER MID-ATLANTIC DET.
The mission of the Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic (FRCMA) Det. New Orleans is to produce relevant quality airframes, engines, components and services to meet the Navy’s aircraft-ready-for-training entitlements at improved efficiency and reduced costs.
Formerly known as the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), the Navy transformed naval aviation maintenance in February 2006 by forming Fleet Readiness Centers, which integrated Naval Air Depots and the continental United States AIMDs into a consolidated organization for shore-based, off-flight-line maintenance.
On Aug. 1, 2006, the Office of the Secretary of Defense approved the FRC business plan, and AIMD New Orleans became Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Site New Orleans. The implementation of FRCs is one of the Navy’s strategies to support the warfighter and achieve cost-wise readiness in the 21st century.
Navy aircraft are designed to fly hard, fast and in the worst conditions. Squadron technicians work hard to ensure that they perform at 100 percent. When the components of those aircraft need repair or maintenance, FRC brings intermediate-level maintenance expertise to the flight line and directly supports one F/A-18 Hornet squadron, one C-130T Hercules squadron and one Marine Corps squadron composed of UH-1Y Hueys and AH-1W Cobras. The FRCMA Det. New Orleans is a large maintenance operation with more than 160 Sailors, Marines and civil service employees working to keep the aircraft it supports up and flying.
FRCMA Det. New Orleans has 58 work centers in eight divisions: personnel, supply, avionics, power plants, airframes, life support equipment, armament and support equipment. On average, more than 876 aircraft parts per month run through FRCMA Det. New Orleans.
Responding to the unique challenges of supporting four types or models of aircraft that routinely operate in support of the global war on terrorism, no other ashore FRC Det. this size has responded as effectively to meet or exceed all Navy and Marine Corps mission and fleet support expectations. FRCMA Det. New Orleans has met 100 percent of its commitments with unmatched success, leading other FRCs in key metrics of maintenance and logistics support, planeside performance, production and production resources.
The unit processed 34,779 maintenance actions in fiscal year 2015, maintaining an average ready-for-issue rate of 98.3 percent, an impressive metric for any intermediate repair facility. Whether it is through outstanding maintenance support, stellar customer service, emergency response or Lean Six Sigma initiatives, FRCMA Det. New Orleans sets the standard for others to follow.
FLEET READINESS CENTER SUPPORT EQUIPMENT SITE
The Fleet Readiness Center Support Equipment Site is the only nonorganic, or contracted, depot-level rework facility assigned the repair and rework responsibility for avionics support equipment end items and aircraft electronic test equipment. This designated repair point provides incidental and emergent repair and rework, corrosion control (including blasting and painting of SE containers, or “Cans”), precision measurement equipment repair and field team support to DOD activities.
The FRC Support Equipment Site shares a facility with Navy Calibration Lab New Orleans.
JOINT RESERVE INTELLIGENCE CENTER
The Joint Reserve Intelligence Center New Orleans (JRIC NOLA) is an integral part of Commander, Naval Information Forces Reserve Command (CNIFRC) and Naval Information Forces Region Southeast’s (NIFR REG SE) mission, vision and intent. JRIC NOLA provides reliable facilities for strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence training and production for all Intelligence Community (IC) and Active and Reserve Information Warfare (IW) personnel. JRIC NOLA also provides critical information systems for Navy Reserve Information Warfare and joint reserve intelligence personnel to prepare and train for mobilizations; while concurrently fulfilling operational requirements in support of Navy, Joint, and Unified commands. JRIC NOLA provides administrative support to 11 Navy Reserve Information Warfare Community (IWC) units; comprising of more than 500 IWC personnel across Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND
The personnel assigned to Military Sealift Command (MSC) Ship Inspection Branch New Orleans perform ship material condition and operational readiness inspections for MSC vessels worldwide.
Formerly a MSC Office/Ship Surge Detachment, the MSC was previously located at the old Naval Support Activity (NSA) on the eastbank of New Orleans. In October 2007 the MSC Ship Surge Detachment was disestablished and personnel were absorbed by Military Sealift Command Ship Inspection Branch N752, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia.
After the closure of NSA New Orleans, the MSC N752 ship inspection personnel were relocated to NAS JRB New Orleans.
NAVY AIR LOGISTICS OFFICE
The Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO) was established in 1980, and the chief of Naval Reserve was appointed Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) executive agent for airlift. NALO is an Echelon IV aviation major command with a staff of more than 50 personnel. NALO schedules airlifts and tasking for 14 squadrons and 42 aircraft and has carried more than 4.5 million passengers and 925 million pounds of cargo since being established. NALO validates, prioritizes and schedules worldwide unique Navy fleet-essential airlift missions supporting combatant commander, fleet response and DOD requirements.
The command formulates worldwide airlift policy change recommendations and operates a data collection and analysis system for airlift asset management and aircraft acquisition justification for the CNO.
NAVY CALIBRATION LABORATORY NEW ORLEANS
The primary mission of Navy Calibration Laboratory New Orleans is to provide in-lab and on-site depot calibration services to Naval Air Systems Command customers in the Gulf South Region. The lab is a government-owned contractor-operated facility with higher headquarters at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
A major part of the mission is to provide calibration services for depot-reworked aviation support equipment and oxygen servicing equipment cleaning and calibration. The lab has been in New Orleans for more than 10 years, providing regionalized calibration support to the naval aviation warfighter.
NAVY MUNITIONS COMMAND (NMCLANT) DET. NEW ORLEANS
Navy Munitions Command Atlantic, Det. New Orleans provides top notch ordnance support to Navy and joint customers onboard NAS JRB New Orleans. It is responsible for the safe and secure storage of ordnance in 12 weapons magazines. Services include ordnance issue, receipt and assembly for all Navy, Marine, Army and Coast Guard commands. The detachment also performs maintenance on and provides commands with needed armament weapons support equipment.
NAVY OPERATIONAL SUPPORT CENTER
The Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) New Orleans was formed in October 2004 with the merger of Navy Air Reserve New Orleans and Naval Reserve Center New Orleans. Originally located in several buildings across the base, the main elements of the command have operated out of the Frank J. Uddo Armed Forces Reserve Center (Building 492) since January 2005.
The command’s primary mission is to generate mobilization readiness by providing administrative services, training support and world-class customer service to Reserve personnel in support of surge and operational requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps and Joint Force team. NOSC New Orleans also serves as a Tier 1 EKMS program manager, generating and distributing electronic key material for communications security equipment at area tenant commands. The command staff includes four officers, four chief petty officers, 12 enlisted and four civilians. They support more than 250 Selective Reservists in 22 Reserve units.
NAVY RESERVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CENTER
The Navy Reserve Professional Development Center (NRPDC) is the sole training command that impacts the entire Navy Reserve. NRPDC is composed of a staff of 36 instructors, facilitators and support personnel and is committed to developing a smarter, better-educated Reserve Force through training available to anyone, anytime, anywhere. There are two civilians assigned to the staff serving as the director of training and learning management and quota control coordinator. The command has nine departments: administrative, personnel, training/operations, supply, automated information systems, quota control, learning standards office, computer-based training and medical.
Courses offered at the center are designed to provide comprehensive instruction to active-duty, full-time support and Reserve Sailors and civilian personnel in areas critical to Navy Reserve activities, whether on-site or as mobile training teams. Some of the courses offered are Reserve Senior Enlisted Management, Reserve Career Information, Reserve Medical Administration, Reserve Supply and Fiscal Support, Reserve Pay and Personnel Management, Navy Reserve Order Writing System/Reserve Defense Travel System and World Class Customer Service. NRPDC also manages a detachment in Little Creek, Virginia, that facilitates Navy Operational Support Center Commanding Officer, Navy Reserve Unit Management and Operational Support Officer courses. For more information, call 504-678-9251 or 877-568-9518.
NAVY TALENT ACQUISITION GROUP NEW ORLEANS
The mission of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) New Orleans (formerly Navy Recruiting District) is to recruit the best-qualified men and women for active-duty and Reserve enlisted and officer service for America’s Navy to accomplish today’s missions and meet tomorrow’s challenges. Affectionately known as “Powerhouse” among its assigned Sailors and DOD civilian employees, NTAG’s scope of responsibility encompasses recruiting efforts throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. While recruiting men and women to replenish the fleet is a primary responsibility of NTAG New Orleans, its team of professional Sailors is also charged with being ambassadors of good will who shape a positive image of the Navy in their local communities.
To find a recruiter nearest you, visit www.navy.com/local or call 800-588-2033.
SQUADRON (VFA) 204
Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 204, the River Rattlers, was originally commissioned July 1, 1970, as Attack Squadron (VA) 204, flying A-4C Skyhawks at Naval Air Station Memphis, Tennessee. A transition to the A-4E Skyhawk took place in 1971, and shortly thereafter the squadron deployed for two weeks with Carrier Air Wing Reserve (CVWR) 29, embarked on USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). That deployment marked a Naval Reserve first. VA-204 went on to win back-to-back CVWR-20 Bombing Derbies in 1971 and 1972, foreshadowing a long list of tactical accomplishments.
VA-204 received its first CNO Safety Award in 1973. The award represented more than 5,000 hours of accident-free flying that year. In 1975, the River Rattlers won the coveted F. Trubee Davison Award as the “Best Tailhook Squadron in the Naval Reserves.”
In March 1978, the squadron moved from NAS Memphis to NAS New Orleans and simultaneously began transitioning to the A-7B aircraft. The operational tempo increased in 1980 with numerous detachments ranging from NAS Bermuda to NAS Fallon and nearly everywhere in between. VA-204’s selection as the winner of the CNO Safety Award for 1980 was a proud end to a busy year.
The squadron also earned CNO Safety Awards in 1982 and 1983 and in 1984 won the CVWR-20 Golden Wrench Award and the Battle “E.”
In 1986, VA-204 transitioned to the A-7E Corsair II, and in 1990 earned its fifth CNO Safety Award.
On Jan. 28, 1991, the squadron celebrated 10 years of operations with no foreign-object damage and was ordered to transition to the Navy’s newest strike fighter, the F/A-18A Hornet. VA-204 officially redesignated to Strike Fighter Squadron 204 (VFA-204) on April 1, 1991, with the acceptance of its first Hornet. Just one year after the transition, VFA-204 received its sixth CNO Safety Award, marking a monumental 13 years and 50,000 Class “A” Mishap Free flight hours.
In 1994 and 1995, the River Rattlers received their second F. Trubee Davison Award and a meritorious unit commendation. The squadron again earned the F. Trubee Davison Award in 1998 and the next year earned the Battle “E” and Golden Wrench awards.
By 2000, the squadron had racked up 20 years and nearly 70,000 flight hours of Class “A” mishap-free operation. In 2001, the squadron maintained adversary support with five detachments and a historic “Around the Horn” embarkation on board USS Nimitz (CVN 68). As the events of 9/11 rocked the world, the River Rattlers set sail to offer fleet protection and training as Nimitz transited around South America, changing its homeport from Norfolk, Virginia, to San Diego. In 2003, the squadron again earned the CNO Safety Award.
The A-plus upgrade to the Rattlers’ Hornet aircraft arrived, providing “smart weapon” and “launch and leave” capabilities and putting VFA-204 back on the cutting edge of war-fighting capabilities. In 2004, the River Rattlers took 10 jets to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, for Exercise Cope Thunder, demonstrating versatility that greatly impressed local Air Force units; the Rattlers employed precision weapons, established air superiority and also provided professional adversary services in a complete warfare training environment.
Flying more than 193 sorties, the squadron delivered more than 174,000 pounds of live ordnance and provided counter-air protection and interdiction during a complete war scenario.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina presented unprecedented challenges for the River Rattlers. With less than 48 hours’ notice, the squadron evacuated New Orleans to NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas. The squadron was able to quickly reconstitute and return to NAS JRB New Orleans without any loss of life or damage to valuable Navy assets. The squadron was, once again, recognized with the CNO Safety Award for 2005.
The following year, the River Rattlers passed the 26-year mark and 87,000 hours of Class “A” mishap-free operations and received another CNO Safety Award. In 2007, they once more provided professional adversary support on a worldwide stage and were again awarded the Battle “E.” The River Rattlers excelled as both an adversary and strike fighter squadron in 2008. During a strike detachment supporting Exercise Northern Edge, the squadron completed 964.4 flight hours and 672 sorties with a 98 percent overall sortie completion rate in support of fleet requirements.
In 2009, VFA-204 surpassed 29 years and 95,363 Class “A” mishap-free flight hours while flying 2,016 sorties and 2,915 flight hours.
The Rattlers flew 264 sorties and 464 hours in support of the global war on terrorism, providing critical air-to-ground training sorties for students going through the Joint Terminal Air Controller course. The Rattlers conducted nine detachments in 2009, including four supporting fleet replacement squadrons, three composite training unit exercises, one Joint Task Force Exercise and a detachment supporting VFA-136’s air-to-air training, earning them the Battle “E,” Golden Wrench and Retention Excellence awards.
In 2010, the Rattlers completed eight detachments, executing 1,715 sorties and 2,532 flight hours without a single Class “A,” “B” or “C” mishap. In doing so, the River Rattlers celebrated a 30-year, 97,895 Class “A” mishap-free milestone.
The highlight of 2011 was the N’Awlins Air Show, held May 7 and 8 at NAS JRB New Orleans. On May 8, River Rattler aircraft took to the skies over Southern Louisiana exactly 100 years from the day naval aviation was born. In addition to participating in the Centennial of Naval Aviation, the River Rattlers conducted eight detachments in support of fleet training.
The year 2012 culminated in a highly successful detachment in which the squadron expended nearly 100,000 pounds of live air-to-ground ordnance and 10 air-to-air missiles. As a result of VFA-204’s spectacular performance over the course of the year, the command was awarded the 2012 Battle “E,” Golden Wrench and Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Squadron of the Year honors.
In 2013, the River Rattlers were able to refocus on the fundamentals of F/A-18 air-to-air and air-to-ground employment in a way that had not been possible for several years. This “re-blue” culminated in an entire squadron carrier qualification detachment to Oceana, Virginia, in the late summer.
VFA-204 transitioned to the F/A-18C in 2018, further enhancing its warfighting capabilities with an advanced combat systems and avionics suite. The River Rattlers continue to set the bar high, proving that the experience and expertise in this Naval Reserve squadron rival those of any unit, anywhere, anytime.
FLEET LOGISTICS SUPPORT SQUADRON (VR) 54
Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 54 was commissioned as a Naval Reserve Force Squadron on June 1, 1991. Located at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, VR-54 was the first Navy Reserve squadron to fly the Lockheed C-130T “Hercules.” The squadron operates four C-130T aircraft with a normal maximum takeoff weight of 165,500 pounds, able to carry any combination of up to 92 passengers and 40,000 pounds of palletized cargo, heavy trucks or light armored vehicles. Due to the diverse capabilities, VR-54’s mission includes everything from transporting a deploying carrier air wing to flying supplies to remote corners of the world. Nicknamed The Revelers, the squadron bears the colors purple, green and gold, symbolic of the official colors of Mardi Gras.
The squadron’s mission is to operate Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift aircraft and to provide responsive, flexible and rapidly deployable air logistics support required to maintain combat operations at sea and meet combatant commanders’ logistical requirements. Also the squadron provides peacetime air logistics support for all Navy commands and quality training for all fleet logistics support squadron personnel. Year-round, highly skilled and motivated aircrews, maintenance and support personnel provide worldwide logistics support to the fleet in a constantly changing arena of operations.
The Revelers are composed of both active-duty and Reserve personnel working together to meet the squadron’s mission. There are more than 200 highly trained and motivated aircrew, maintenance and support personnel who make up the squadron. The majority of the skilled professionals are on active duty, while approximately 40 percent are drilling Reservists who commute from numerous states to New Orleans to meet a commitment to train and operate at least one weekend each month and for one two-week detachment per year. For aircrews, this commitment is often much more. These “Citizen Sailors” come from all walks of life including educators, attorneys, doctors, businessmen and businesswomen, airline pilots, engineers, police officers, college students, farmers and carpenters. All of these elements combine smoothly into a team with tremendous ability, experience and motivation.
Commissioned June 1, 1991, the squadron received its first aircraft “762” in August of that year and now operates four Lockheed C-130T Hercules aircraft.
VR-54 is actually the rebirth of a previous squadron of the same designation that was also stationed aboard NAS JRB New Orleans. The original VR-54 flew the C-118 Liftmaster transport aircraft and was decommissioned in the early 1980s when the Navy introduced the C-9 Skytrain. The members of VR-54 log upward of 2,000 flight hours annually supporting worldwide (hence “World Famous”) logistics mission. Any given year VR-54 provides six to eight months of air logistics detachment support to the European Command, Pacific Command and Central Command; in fiscal 2017, the squadron supported 1,768,642 pounds of cargo and 808 passengers while conducting 120 missions and 163 lifts worldwide.
Louisiana Air National Guard
159TH FIGHTER WING
The present-day Louisiana Air National Guard (LA ANG) was originally formed in December 1940 as the 122nd Observation Squadron, a National Guard unit of the then-U.S. Army Air Corps. Since its inception, the LA ANG has participated in World War II; the Korean conflict; the Cold War; operations Enduring Freedom, Northern Watch and Southern Watch; the Kosovo War; Operation Noble Eagle; Air Expeditionary Force deployments; Operation Iraqi Freedom; the global war on terrorism; Task Force New Horizon; and Operation New Dawn.
The 159th Fighter Wing is an Air National Guard fighter unit of more than 1,400 men and women. It is operationally gained by Air Combat Command and nicknamed the “Bayou Militia.” Assigned pilots fly the F-15C and F-15D Eagle aircraft.
The 159th Fighter Wing is composed of an Operations Group, Maintenance Group, Medical Group and Mission Support Group. Four geographically separated units are also attached to the 159th Fighter Wing: the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron in Pineville, the 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron in Alexandria, the 236th Combat Communications Squadron in Hammond and the 214th Engineering Installation Squadron in Belle Chasse. Each of these geographically separated units has its own distinct mission.
The Louisiana Air Guard is unique compared with other Reserve Force components in that it is tasked with dual missions. The wing provides worldwide deployable aircraft and combat resources, operated, maintained and supported by professional Louisiana Airmen dedicated to supporting both federal and state missions.
The LA ANG provides its Airmen the opportunity to enjoy civilian life while contributing to the welfare of their country, state and community.
The 159th Fighter Wing was awarded the coveted “Outstanding Air National Guard Unit” honor in 2010. This prestigious award is given annually to the Air National Guard unit that meets or exceeds criteria from the National Guard Bureau. In addition, the wing received an “Excellent” rating during its Operational Readiness Inspection in both 2009 and 2010. These Airmen have shown extreme professionalism and dedication to their mission of protecting the U.S. and its allies.
The wing’s mission is to provide fully staffed units prepared to accomplish all federal, state and local missions; provide high-quality support to Airmen and their families; and to add value to our communities by involvement in state and local programs.
Four main functional groups comprise the Wing: operations, maintenance, mission support and medical, each with its own squadrons and the four geographically separated sites mentioned earlier.
The Operations Group
The Operations Group has two subordinate units: the 122nd Fighter Squadron and the 159th Operations Support Flight. The group trains and supports aviators to maintain regular flying schedules, to support the alert mission for immediate worldwide deployments and for employment in accordance with war plans.
122nd Fighter Squadron
The 122nd Fighter Squadron is a diverse and dynamic squadron that is combat-ready to deploy anywhere, anytime, employing the venerable air superiority of the F-15C/D Eagle Fighter. This worldwide commitment is the driving force behind a sharply honed team of professionals and has resulted in deployments around the world. Together with the 159th Fighter Wing, the 122nd Fighter Squadron is tasked to provide air superiority over Louisiana and the Gulf Coast while supporting the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Performing this vital role requires an active air defense alert 24/7 at NAS JRB.
To sustain the fast-paced tempo, the wing has a highly dedicated and well-trained cadre of maintenance and support personnel.
The maintainers are tasked with on- and off-equipment maintenance of the Eagles, including aircraft servicing, unscheduled maintenance, pre-flights, through flights, basic post-flights and combat turns with live or training ammunition. In addition, support personnel perform everything from operations, life support and mobility to personnel and administrative functions.
Mission Support Group
With more than 500 military and civilian personnel, the 159th Mission Support Group is responsible for all base support and customer service for the wing and the geographically separated units at their sites throughout the state. The group also maintains combat and contingency readiness forces that deploy worldwide. This group encompasses the communications flight, civil engineering squadron, logistics readiness squadron, security forces squadron, force support squadron and contracting.
The 159th Medical Group provides the following medical services: flight medicine, physical examinations, ophthalmology and optometry, public health and bioenvironmental engineering. This includes providing medical support services to the geographically separated units at their sites throughout the state.
159th Fighter Wing Staff
The wing staff consists of several offices that fall directly under the commander: command post, chaplain, equal opportunity, judge advocate general, safety, financial management, visual information and public affairs. The director of the Air National Guard Psychological Health Program is also part of the wing staff.
The 159th Fighter Wing supports national security objectives by being a part of the Air Expeditionary Force participating in real-world missions, supporting active-duty forces, honing combat skills and undertaking specific training to meet assigned tasks.
The National Guard’s purpose is to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order and public safety for its state. The mission also includes information-sharing with emerging countries on the importance of homeland defense.
The 159th Fighter Wing participates year-round in local, state and national programs that add value to local towns, the state and nation. The men and women who make up the 159th Fighter Wing will continue to defend the nation while transforming into the necessary force for the future. The wing will do this in both expeditionary and homeland defense missions while continuing to uphold its military culture and connections to the community. The men and women of the 159th Fighter Wing serve proudly in the far reaches of the globe — and at home — and do so with distinction.
Marine Forces Reserve
MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP
49 DET. C
Marine Aircraft Group 49 Detachment C (MAG-49 Det.C), originated in 1946 at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport under the name Marine Air Detachment (MAD) and actively supported Marine Fighter Squadron 143.
MAD was redesignated as Marine Air Reserve Training Detachment (MARTD) in September 1953; in November 1957, MARTD relocated from New Orleans Lakefront Airport to its present location at NAS JRB New Orleans. MARTD was awarded the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing (4th MAW) Commanding General’s Proficiency Award in 1969, 1971 and 1974.
MARTD New Orleans was redesignated as MAG-46 Det. B in October 1979 and was awarded the 4th MAW Commanding General’s Proficiency Award in 1989. MAG-46 Det. B provided detachment support for Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 767 (HML-767) from Jan. 1 to May 14, 1991. During this period, HML-767 deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
MAG-46 Det. B was redesignated as MAG-42 Det. C in June 1992 and was subsequently redesignated as MAG-49 Det. C on June 20, 2008, as a part of 4th MAW’s force structure realignment. During this timeframe, the MAG Det. provided direct support for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 Detachment A (HMLA-773 Det. A), Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Mid-Atlantic, and the 4th MAW Military Police Detachment (MP Det.). As a result, these component detachments were enabled to conduct operations at home and abroad, as is illustrated by the following:
- In 2003, the 4th MAW MP Det. was activated and deployed to Kuwait and Djibouti to support Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
- From October 2003 to October 2005, HMLA-773 Det. A was activated in support of OEF, resulting in three separate deployments to Afghanistan during this two-year activation period.
- Following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in September 2005, helicopters from HMLA-773 Det. A were employed throughout New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, where they participated in search, rescue and relief missions in support of Joint Task Force Katrina.
- In 2006, the 4th MAW MP Det. deployed to Pheodosia, Ukraine, to conduct annual training in support of Operation Sea Breeze.
- In 2007, HMLA-773 Det. A deployed to Al Asad, Iraq, for a seven-month deployment in support of OIF.
- In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, helicopters and personnel from HMLA-773 Det. A were deployed in 2017 to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to support disaster relief operations in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas.
MAG-49 Det. C and its component detachments will continue to meet all assigned missions, embrace a training plan that prepares the Marines and Sailors for future endeavors, and improve the readiness posture for future deployments at home or overseas.
MARINE TRANSPORT SQUADRON (VMR) BELLE CHASSE
Marine Transport Squadron Belle Chasse, a Marine Corps reserve squadron, is composed of active-duty, active Reserve and selected Marine Corps Reserve personnel. It was originally established in 1985 aboard NAS New Orleans, Louisiana, as Marine Aircraft Support Det. Belle Chasse, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. The unit was redesignated as VMR Belle Chasse on Oct. 1, 2004. The mission of VMR Belle Chasse is to transport high-priority passengers and cargo to, within and between theaters of war.
To accomplish its assigned mission, the unit initially operated the UC-12B Huron light utility transport aircraft. In 1995, the CT-39G Sabreliner was added to the detachment until it was replaced by the UC-35C “Citation Ultra” aircraft in 1999. Most recently, the UC-12B was replaced in 2010 with the UC-12W, which brings enhanced capabilities in terms of range, payload, short field capability and aircraft survivability. VMR Belle Chasse was the first USMC/USN squadron to operate the UC-12W and serves as the NATOPS Model Manager for Fleet Marine Forces.
VMR Belle Chasse has deployed in support of multiple contingency, training exercise and Joint Task Force operations since it began operations in 1985. Additionally, since 2003, it has mobilized and deployed four UC-35 detachments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation New Dawn and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. Since receiving the UC-12W, it has deployed three times in support of OEF to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
The squadron currently deploys a UC-12W detachment in support of SPMAGTF-CR-AF every year. When not deployed, VMR Belle Chasse receives operational tasking from the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing as well as the Joint Operational Support Airlift Center, the airlift branch of the U.S. Transportation Command. This ensures the squadron is trained and ready to complete its wartime mission in support of the Marine Air Ground Task Force or Marine Corps Service Component Commander.
The 377th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) is a multifunctional unit that performs a dual mission. The first is mission command of assigned forces to provide the U.S. Army Reserve with trained and ready individuals and units that support geographic combatant command requirements. The second mission is to deploy and operate as the senior Army logistics headquarters capable of planning, controlling and synchronizing operational-level Army deployment and sustainment. The 377th TSC has nearly 36,000 Soldiers and civilians in 35 states. The workforce is made up of approximately 80 percent citizen Soldiers, 10 percent represent the active component and about 10 percent are civilians. It is commanded by a major general (two-star) with six brigadier general (one-star) commanders in charge of subordinate commands across the country.
The unit was activated in July 1942 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 12 Port of Embarkation, at Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was then converted, reorganized and redesignated the 12th Port Headquarters and Headquarters Company and assigned to the Transportation Corps in November 1942. After an inactivation in 1946, the unit was redesignated Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 377th Transportation Major Port, and assigned to the Organized Reserve Corps in November 1948. Two weeks later, the 377th Transportation Major Port was activated in New Orleans. The unit has been a part of the New Orleans community since then.
In September 1950, the 377th was called to Fort Eustis, Virginia, and stayed on active federal service until Oct. 10, 1952. From 1953 to 1963, the 377th remained in a Reserve status and experienced extensive growth and several changes in unit designation.
In December 1965, the unit was redesignated as the 377th Support Brigade under the Army Logistical Concept. On Oct. 16, 1979, it was renamed the 377th Corps Support Command and retained this designation until July 16, 1981, when it was designated as a Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM). On Oct. 1, 1998, the TAACOM wartime mission expanded and the unit designation was changed to the 377th Theater Support Command.
The 377th Theater Support Command was redesignated the 377th Theater Sustainment Command and regionally aligned to
U.S. Southern Command in September 2007. Since then, the 377th TSC has generated and globally deployed sustainment forces for multiple missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Additionally, the 377th TSC provided earthquake relief in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response in 2010 and provided assistance to the East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. More recently, the 377th TSC has begun transitioning to work with U.S. Army North, strategic partners and subordinate units in support of homeland defense, Defense Support of Civil Authorities and Security Cooperation Operations. As the Army transforms, the 377th TSC will continue to lead the way by integrating emerging technology with the best-trained and ready Soldiers to provide sustainment solutions to support any mission.
The New Orleans Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is one station in a network of 65 MEPS throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The New Orleans MEPS relocated from its previous home of more than 30 years at Naval Support Activity on the Eastbank of the Mississippi River to NAS JRB in January 2010. The New Orleans MEPS operates in Building 556 on Rinard Road.
The MEPS is assigned military and civilian personnel who process up to 150 applicants each day for the armed forces.
A separate DOD agency, the U.S. MEP Command (MEPCOM) comprises two geographical sectors and is staffed with personnel from all military services.
The mission of the MEPCOM and the New Orleans MEPS is to process individuals for enlistment or induction into the armed services, based on DOD-approved peacetime and mobilization standards. Three primary areas are considered in determining an applicant’s qualifications for enlistment: aptitude for military service, physical qualifications and background evaluation screening.
COAST GUARD AIR STATION
Originally commissioned in July 1955 and located on Lake Pontchartrain, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans came to its present home at NAS JRB in December 1957.
Rededicated in September 1996, the Air Station’s facilities provide maintenance for five MH-65D helicopters; supply and support spaces for 28 officers, 86 enlisted and three civilians; and quarters for two flight-ready crews 24/7. Airframes flown by the Coast Guard in New Orleans have included the HO-3S, HO-4S, HUS-1G, HH-52A and the HH-3F Pelican helicopter.
In September 1985, Air Station New Orleans became the first unit in the Coast Guard to fly the HH-65A Dolphin in operational missions and again led the fleet in being first among Coast Guard Air Stations to upgrade to the HH-65B. In 2006, those helicopters were upgraded to the more powerful HH-65C.
In summer 2013, Air Station New Orleans helicopters were upgraded to the MH-65D. Having a top speed of 175 knots, the MH-65D incorporates an upgraded avionics package and replacement of obsolete components.
The twin turbine helicopter has an operational radius of 150 nautical miles, with 30 minutes on-scene time. Flown by a crew of four, including two pilots, one flight mechanic and a rescue swimmer/EMT, the MH-65D has a total gross weight limitation of 9,480 pounds.
Today, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans’ responsibilities include an area from Apalachicola, Florida, to the Texas-Louisiana border, north to Memphis, Tennessee, and south to thousands of offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Within this area, the air station’s missions include homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement, marine environmental protection and aids to navigation. To meet these demanding missions, the air station maintains two ready crews at all times and annually flies more than 3,200 hours.
Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans was the first air station to integrate into a Coast Guard Sector organization with the inception of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, led by Marine Safety Office New Orleans and including Group New Orleans. With an emphasis on mission effectiveness, the sector concept is an integral component of the Coast Guard’s future command and control organization.
Air Station New Orleans’ personnel have developed strong relationships with multiple government agencies including the FBI, Secret Service and state and local law enforcement. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans has served as the Coast Guard’s flagship unit, introducing new HLS operational capabilities such as joint USCG/FBI SWAT team interoperability and including the first FBI live fire sniper training from a USCG HH-65B helicopter.
In addition, Air Station New Orleans led the USCG in the development and implementation of vertical delivery (hoist delivery) of USCG boarding teams to vessels at sea, a capability now used frequently with other units throughout the Coast Guard.
Air Station New Orleans is one of only five Coast Guard Air Stations that maintains a proficiency in rotary wing air interception to support the National Capital Region (NCR) air defense. The Coast Guard, a member of the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, works directly under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and alongside other federal, state and local agencies to ensure the restricted airspace around the capital is secure.
Air Station New Orleans not only supports the NCR mission with pilots and aircrew but also supports other National Special Security Events throughout the country that require rapid response capabilities.
In 2005, following the passage of Hurricane Katrina, Air Station New Orleans briefly became Air Group New Orleans supporting fleetwide rotor and fixed-wing air operations. Coast Guard helicopters flew more than 500 flight hours and hoisted more than 7,100 people to safety during both hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
On April 21, 2010, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans aircrews were the first to respond to the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon 50 miles south of Venice, Louisiana. The massive fire left 126 people in need of rescue. Leading the response, New Orleans aircrews worked throughout the night and, together with Coast Guard teams from Mobile, Alabama, and civilian response teams, rescued 115 people, including 17 who were critically injured.
In 2015, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans flew 271 SAR operations, saving 51 people and assisting 78 others while saving $863,175 in property. In 2016, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans flew 286 SAR operations, saving or assisting 419 lives.
A majority of the lives saved or assisted during 2016 were a result of historic flooding in Baton Rouge, in which Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans supported search and rescue for an area covering more than 100 square miles over a seven-day period. Crews worked in partnership with numerous agencies through unusual conditions to overcome the disaster and evacuate those in need of assistance.
In 2017, Air Station New Orleans responded to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria; in support of Harvey alone, the unit deployed three aircraft and 51 personnel to Houston and orchestrated rescue operations in Beaumont, Texas, as well as served as the logistics and maintenance hub for aircraft, personnel and supplies inbound for the operation area. These efforts directly saved 863 lives and assisted 366 others, contributing to the more than 11,000 lives saved by the United States Coast Guard in this natural disaster.
Since its establishment in 1955, Air Station New Orleans has saved more than 13,000 lives and is considered to be the busiest all-helicopter SAR unit in the Coast Guard.
Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans has been awarded 12 Meritorious Unit Commendations for its superior performance during rescue operations as well as five Coast Guard Unit Commendations for exceptional operational performance.