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NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present

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Historical Background

Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present Historical Background


The site that Naval Air Station Jacksonville occupies today was first used by the U.S. Army in May 1907, and then by the Florida National Guard. After many sites were investigated, a 13,000-acre tract of land at Black Point was recommended as the site for a state camp.

On Oct. 15, 1917, U.S. Army Camp Joseph E. Johnston was commissioned. Army Maj. McCauley set a transcontinental speed record of 25 hours, 45 minutes between San Diego and Camp Johnston on April 18, 1919. Shortly thereafter, on May 16, the camp was officially closed.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the U.S. War Department granted revocable license to the State of Florida for the site to be used for National Guard training. On June 28, 1928, the Florida National Guard training site was named Camp Clifford R. Foster.

On March 22, 1939, The “Hepburn Board,” named after its principle, the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet Adm. Arthur Japy Hepburn, was charged with the review of the U.S. defense capabilities. The Hepburn Board Report served as the basis for the massive U.S. defense expansion of the late 1930s and the recommendation of the establishment of NAS Jacksonville at the Camp Clifford R. Foster site.



Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1940-1949


Jan. 16, 1940: First aircraft assigned to station, a Grumman J2F-3, arrives in Jacksonville.

Oct. 15, 1940: NAS Jacksonville commissioned at noon. Capt. Charles Perry Mason first commanding officer. Training Squadron VN-13, D-7 established. Adm. John Towers in attendance.

Dec. 24, 1940: Station’s first training aircraft arrive as 10 N2S Stearmans fly in direct from the factory in St. Louis.

Jan. 2, 1941: First primary training squadron, VN-11, commissioned.

March 5, 1941: Seaplane squadrons VN-14 and VN-15 established, using nine P2Ys and P2Y-3s aircraft.

June 24, 1941: First class of aviation cadets receives their wings (Ensigns Hemphill, Kennedy and Shortlidge).

Aug. 15, 1941: First major aircraft overhaul completed at the Assembly and Repair (A&R) shops with completion of N2S Stearman No. 3423.

Sept. 20, 1941: Officers’ Club dedicated.

May 1, 1942: Rear Adm. A.B. Cook became the Chief of Naval Air Operational Training Command with headquarters at NAS Jacksonville.

May 24, 1942: Station flies 254 aircraft at one time as a demonstration of air power for visiting Pan-American officials.

Aug. 28, 1942: Aviation Free Gunnery School commissioned near Cecil Field.

Oct. 15, 1942: Operational Training begins with PBY sea planes as VPB2 (Patrol Bomber) OTU (Outgoing Training Unit) No. 1 is established and training squadron VN-15 disestablished. First aircraft turrets arrive (.30 and .50 caliber) at Gunners School.

Feb. 20, 1943: Training Squadron VN-14 becomes Observation Squadron VO-VCS and begins operational training with OS2U Kingfisher aircraft which includes catapult practice.

April 1943: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Henri de Levis Mirepoix succeeded Lt. Andre Gilbert as Commanding Officer of the Fighting French Naval Aviation Unit at NAS Jacksonville.

Oct. 26, 1943: VF (fighter aircraft) training begins in the F4U Corsair.

March 10, 1944: Two SNB twin-engine aircraft are assigned and the multi-engine phase of instruction is inaugurated.

July 18, 1944: First arrested landing on airfield.

Sept. 10, 1944: NAS Jacksonville pilots achieve more than 1 million hours of flying time.

Nov. 28, 1944: First helicopter lands at station (Sikorsky HNS).

Dec. 22, 1944: MF-OTU, first all-Marine Fighter Squadron at NAS Jacksonville is established.

Aug. 31, 1945: Navy Separation Center Commissioning Ceremony is held. Thousands of Sailors would be discharged from the Navy before the center was closed.

April 9, 1946: Last PBY seaplane leaves the station.

April 18, 1946: Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris on orders from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, organizes the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval aviation. The Blue Angels perform their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base, NAS Jacksonville, flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Only two months later on Aug. 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transition to the Grumman F8F Bearcat and introduced the famous diamond formation.

May 9, 1946: An F6F Hellcat (No. 80097) modified by the A&R Department becomes the Blue Angels’ first aircraft.

June 15, 1946: Craig Field is dedicated with the Blue Angels’ first public show.

Jan. 11, 1947: First jet, a Phantom, lands at NAS Jacksonville. Phantom leaves NAS Jacksonville to set speed record en route to Miami.

April 14, 1948: New search and rescue (SAR) unit is organized with two PBY-5A seaplanes.

May 27, 1948: Sixteen pilots receive wings at NAS Jacksonville for first time since 1943.

Oct. 21, 1948: Ensign Jessie Brown becomes first African-American in Navy to receive his “Wings of Gold” in ceremony at NAS Jacksonville.

Nov. 1, 1948: Three Jacksonville area commands are activated. Capt. A.L. Malstrom, USN, commanding officer of NAS Jacksonville, assumes additional duties as COMNAB-6; Cmdr. J.D. Shea, USN, becomes the commanding officer of NAAS Cecil Field; Capt. Charles Lee, USN, assumes duties as Commander Fleet Air Jacksonville pending arrival of Rear Adm. Calvin Durgin, USN. Naval Air Advanced Training Command is relocated to NAS Corpus Christi.

Nov. 8, 1948: Blue Angels fly last air show at NAS Jacksonville prior to relocating to NAS Corpus Christi.

Nov. 10, 1948: Carrier Air Group 8, composed of fighter squadrons (VF) 81, VF-82, VF-83, VA-84, VA-85) and Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron (FASRon) 6, first group under Fleet Air Jacksonville, arrive. Rear Adm. Durgin becomes Commander Fleet Air Jacksonville.

Feb. 15, 1949: Carrier Air Group 4 (VF-41, VF-42, VF-43, VA-44, Attack Squadron (VA) 45 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Norfolk.

April 13, 1949: “Philippine” Mars seaplane lands with staff of Carrier Air Group 13. CAG 13, composed VF-131, VF-132, VF-133, VA-134, VA-135, relocates to NAS Jacksonville from San Diego.

Sept. 19, 1949: AD-4 Skyraiders replace last TBM-3Es assigned to VA-135 at NAS Jacksonville.

Dec. 6, 1949: U.S. Navy Blimp “ZW2” lands at station. First two planes, P2V-2 Neptunes, of VP-5 arrive.



 Jacksonville_2019 1950-1959


Jan. 4, 1950: Three P2V-2 aircraft from VP-3 arrive at station.

Jan. 19, 1950: Fleet Air Wing II begins operations from NAS Jacksonville. Final units arrive.

Jan. 8, 1951: Naval Air Technical Center (NATTCen) is reactivated at NAS Jacksonville.

March 1, 1951: Reserve Patrol Squadron VP-741 activates as VP-16.

March 19, 1951: Patrol Squadron VP-10 is established at NAS Jacksonville.

April 9, 1951: Carrier Air Group 8, composed of Reserve Squadron VF-742 and others, is re-established at NAS Jacksonville. FASRon 795 reports to NAS Jacksonville for training with FASRon-109.

Jan. 24, 1952: VC-5, the Navy’s first heavy attack squadron flying the AJ-1 Savage, is assigned duty to station. First P2V-5 assigned to NAS Jacksonville with VP-3.

March 10, 1952: VJ-2 Hurricane Hunter squadron, flying P4Y Privateers, is placed in commission at NAS Jacksonville. Squadron VP-23, based at Miami under FAW-11, is disestablished.

October 1952: A jet ejection trainer, one of the first built, is installed at NAS Jacksonville. Reserve patrol squadron VP-742 is established.

Nov. 1, 1953: Guided Missile School opens at NATTCen NAS Jacksonville.

Feb. 16, 1954: The Navy’s only Landing Signal Officer School is established at NAS Jacksonville.

Dec. 15, 1954: VW-4 receives first WV-1 Super Constellation aircraft.

Nov. 1, 1955: Patrol squadron VP-3 is disestablished. Heavy Attack Squadron One “Tigers” (VAH-1), the first of its kind, is established at NAS Jacksonville.

November 1956: The first airplane to land at the South Pole is one of four modified by NAS O&R Department. Reserve squadron VP-742 is re-established.

Aug. 16, 1957: Heavy Photographic Squadron VAP-62 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Norfolk.

June 30, 1959: Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30) is established at Fleet Air Wing II, NAS Jacksonville. Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron SIX and FASRon 109 disestablished.

July 1, 1959: Aircraft Maintenance Department is commissioned.



Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1960-1969


Aug. 10, 1961: Station insignia, still used today, is established.

April 16, 1962: Navy’s first Aircraft Maintenance Radiography School opens at Naval Air Technical Training Unit (NATTU).

Oct. 1, 1963: A detachment of VP-45 arrives. Homeport of VP-5 changes from NAS Bermuda to NAS Jacksonville.

Jan. 1, 1964: VP-45 changes homeport from NAS Norfolk to NAS Jacksonville, assigned to PATWING-11.

March 13, 1964: First P3A “Orion” aircraft at NAS Jacksonville arrive for operational duty and take first flight with VP-45.

July 30, 1964: Patrol squadron VP-30 receives first P-3 Orion.

May 16, 1965: CPO Club building (corner of Yorktown/McFarland) is destroyed by fire.

July 14, 1966: Ground is broken for $12 million Hangar 1000, used by the patrol squadrons.

Aug. 5, 1966: Patrol squadron VP-5 retires last active duty SP-2E Neptune aircraft
(BUNO 131526).

Nov. 29, 1967: Final helicopter, SH-3H, is completed at Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF), ending its Helicopter Rework Program; 2,123 helicopters were reworked since 1959.

April 25, 1968: The Douglas A-1H Skyraider of VA-176 is phased out in ceremonies at NAS Jacksonville. This was the Navy’s last piston-engine carrier-based attack squadron and the last to operate the A-1 “SPAD.” NAS Jacksonville-based VA-176 is moved to NAS Oceana.

Oct. 7, 1969: Patrol squadron VP-7 is disestablished.



Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1980-1989


July 14, 1970: Station’s last two seaplanes, HU-16 Albatrosses, retire from SAR service.

Nov. 14, 1970: Patrol squadron VP-62 is established. Members will fly SP-2H Neptune aircraft pending delivery of P-3 Orions.

July 2, 1971: Patrol squadron VP-56 is officially welcomed aboard from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, for duty with Fleet Air Wing Eleven.

Jan. 26, 1972: Patrol squadron VP-49 is officially home-based at NAS Jacksonville.

July 10, 1972: Weather Reconnaissance squadron VW-4 retires last NC-121 Super Constellation aircraft.

Dec. 1, 1972: Patrol Squadron Twenty-Four (VP-24) is welcomed officially to its new home at NAS Jacksonville.

June 30, 1973: Commander Fleet Air Wing 11 changes to Commander Patrol Wing 11.

August 1973: NARF completes last A4 Skyhawk rework. Over 1,200 aircraft were completed.

Sept. 27, 1973: Helicopter squadron HS-7 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Oct. 13, 1973: Helicopter squadron HS-1 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Oct. 17, 1973: Helicopter squadrons HS-3 and HS-11 arrive at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

October 1973: Helicopter squadron HC-2, Fleet Angels, arrive at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Nov. 1, 1973: NATTCen is scheduled for closure and consolidation at NAS Memphis. Helicopter squadron HC-2 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Dec. 15, 1973: Helicopter Antisubmarine Wing One is moved from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, to NAS Jacksonville.

Feb. 1, 1974: Helicopter squadron HS-5 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Feb. 21, 1974: With the graduation of Aviation Electrician’s Mate Class No. 411, the U.S. Naval Air Technical Training Center at NAS Jacksonville is transferred to NAS Memphis, Tennessee.

March 8, 1974: Attack squadron VA-203 retires the Navy’s last A-4 Skyhawk at NAS Jacksonville.

April 23, 1975: VW-4, Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Four, disestablishment ceremony held.

Sept. 30, 1977: Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Two (HC-2), the oldest helo squadron in the U.S. Navy, is disestablished.

Dec. 1, 1977: Attack Squadron VA-203, a reserve attack squadron assigned to Reserve Carrier Air Wing Twenty (CVWR-20), flying the A7B “Corsair,” is relocated to NAS Cecil Field. With this move, the last jet attack aircraft based at NAS Jacksonville departs.


Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1980-1989


Oct. 15, 1982: Paul Nelson Helicopter Training Center is dedicated. Naval Supply Center established.

November 1985: First F/A-18 Hornet is inducted at the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF).

March 31, 1987: NARF changes name to Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP).

April 13, 1987: New $2 million NARF Materials Engineering Laboratory is dedicated at the NADEP.


Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1990-1999


Sept. 24, 1990: Last Standard Depot Level Maintenance on A7 Corsair at NADEP completed.

May 24, 1991: NAS Jacksonville is presented Commander Installation Excellence Award for Best Base in the Navy in ceremonies at the Pentagon.

September 1991: First SH-60 helicopter is assigned to HS-3 arrived on-station. It will eventually replace all SH-3 Sea King helicopters.

May 21, 1993: Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn P. Hire is the first woman assigned to a Navy combat aircraft. She is assigned to Patrol Squadron VP-62 at NAS Jacksonville.

Jan. 6, 1994: First F-14 Tomcats (two) arrive at NADEP Jacksonville for rework.

Jan. 14, 1994: Patrol squadron VP-49 holds a disestablishment and 50th Anniversary Ceremony.

April 19, 1996: Patriots’ Grove dedicated. Seventy-nine historic trees will memorialize Navy Medal of Honor recipients since World War II. Former U.S. Congressman Charles E. Bennett is the keynote speaker.

Oct. 18, 1996: Hangar 30 is officially dedicated. The $24 million project was built by local construction firm Perry-McCall.

June 19, 1997: HS-1 disestablishment ceremony is held.

Nov. 20, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-30 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Nov. 24, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-31 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Dec. 12, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-22 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Dec. 16, 1997: Sea Control Wing Atlantic completes its move from NAS Cecil Field to NAS Jacksonville. Barnett Bank closes after 53 years aboard the station.

March 31, 1998: VS-32 returns from deployment to its new home at NAS Jacksonville.

Aug. 26, 1999: Squadron VQ-6 disestablishment ceremony.


Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 2000-2009


Nov. 2, 2000: The NAS Jacksonville Air Terminal Building 278 is dedicated in the name of retired Navy Capt. Roy M. “Butch” Voris, founder and first flight leader of the Blue Angels aboard NAS Jacksonville in 1946. This was the first Navy building named after a Blue Angel.

Dec. 15, 2001: Last C-9 aircraft from VR-58 departs NAS Jacksonville.

Aug. 24, 2002: Dedication ceremony for the new C-40A “Clipper” jet is held. The C-40A replaces the C-9 “Skytrain” flown by VR-58.

June 2, 2006: NAVFAC Southeast is established. (NAVFAC Southern Division, Charleston; Navy Public Works Center Jacksonville and Engineering Field Activity Jacksonville disestablished.)

March 25, 2007: HS-75 and Sea Control Squadron VS-24 is officially disestablished.

Jan. 13, 2009: First MH-60R Seahawk helicopter arrives for duty with new squadron Helicopter Maritime Squadron HSM-70.

Jan. 29, 2009: Last Sea Control squadron, VS-22, is disestablished.

Jan. 30, 2009: Commander Sea Control Wing Atlantic (S-3 Wing) is decommissioned at a ceremony aboard NAS Jax.

Feb. 12, 2009: First HSM helicopter squadron (HSM-70) formal establishment ceremony is held at Hangar 1122.

March 6, 2009: Consolidated Maintenance Organization Eleven (Black Tips), providing maintenance to all VP squadrons, is disestablished.

May 5, 2009: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new VP Hangar 511 is held. The $123.5 million hangar will be occupied by patrol squadrons relocating from NAS Brunswick, Maine.

May 15, 2009: VPU-1 arrives from NAS Brunswick and becomes the first squadron to occupy Hangar 511.

May 27, 2009: First P-3 for NAS Brunswick squadron VP-8 arrives.

June 1, 2009: Helicopter squadron HS-3 is redesignated Helicopter Sea Control HSC-9; starts move to NS Norfolk.

June 9, 2009: VP-5 returns from deployment, moves to hangar 511. NAS Jacksonville runway 09/27 redesignated 10/28 due to magnetic variation.

June 10, 2009: VP-8 relocates from NAS Brunswick to NAS Jacksonville and officially transfers to Wing-11.

June 30, 2009: New HS Hangar 1122 ribbon-cutting ceremony held. HSM-70 is the first squadron to move into the $73 million hangar.

July 25, 2009: VR-62 “Nomads” arrive from NAS Brunswick flying C-130T. They are the third NAS Brunswick squadron to transfer to NAS Jacksonville.

Oct. 26, 2009: President Barack Obama visits NAS Jacksonville and addresses military and civilian personnel during a speech in Hangar 1122. National press corps covers the visit.

Nov. 9, 2009: HSL-44 “Swamp Foxes” relocates from Naval Station Mayport to NAS Jacksonville and becomes HSM-74.

March 19, 2010: HSL-42 “Proud Warriors” change homeport from NS Mayport to NAS Jacksonville and becomes HSM-72.



Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 2010-Present

June 7, 2010: Last P-3C Orion aircraft of VP-26 arrives. This is the last squadron to relocate from NAS Brunswick, Maine, to NAS Jacksonville.

Wing-11 is now composed of six operational squadrons: VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26 and VP-45.

Jan. 26, 2011: NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Maclay kicks off the base Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration year-long celebration.

Nov. 4, 2011: Sixteen Distinguished Flying Cross recipients receive certificates of recognition at a Centennial of Naval Aviation ceremony held at the Officers’ Club.

March 28, 2012: P-8A Poseidon Roll Out Ceremony is held at VP-30 Hangar. Also, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the P-8A Integrated Training Center, Building 512 is held. More than 2,400 guests attend the ceremonies.

July 10, 2012: MQ-8B Fire Scout (Unmanned Aerial System) Training Facility is unveiled at NAS Jacksonville, providing a leading-edge simulator center.

Aug. 31, 2012: Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit (VPU) 1 is officially disestablished.

Sept. 10, 2012: Ground is broken for the new $15.06 million Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Training Facility. Training will be conducted on the new MQ-4C “Triton” aircraft. Additionally, construction for a new P-8A Maintenance Training Facility also commences.

Jan. 15, 2013: HSL-42 changes name to Helicopter Squadron Maritime 72 (HSM-72.)

Jan. 30, 2013: VP-16 becomes the first operational squadron to fly the P-8A Poseidon.

Oct. 1, 2013: First Navy MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System squadron, VUP-19 “Big Red,” established.

Jan. 7, 2015: NAS Jacksonville announces the station’s 75th anniversary logo contest winner; Jim Taylor from NAS Jax Environmental Department designed the winning logo.

Jan. 22, 2015: VP-26 departs on its final P-3C Orion deployment, becoming the last active duty squadron on the East Coast to fly the venerable aircraft.

Feb. 4, 2015: Fleet Readiness Center Southeast ends the J52 Engine Repair Program. Since the first engine was overhauled in 1965, more than 7,500 engines had been repaired.

Feb. 12, 2015: NAS Jax holds a groundbreaking ceremony for a new commissary, complete remodeling of the Navy Exchange store and upgrade to the Naval Hospital Jacksonville Satellite Pharmacy. The new commissary is set to open in 2017.

March 2015: NAS Jax-based fixed-wing aircraft begin their temporary relocation to Cecil Airport as part of the upcoming $51.9 million NAS Jax runway repair and temporary closure project. Aircraft include P-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, C-130 Hercules and C-40 Clipper.

June 8, 2015: Temporary runway closure for year-long $51.9 million major repair project, including LED lights, hangar demolition and apron upgrades. Fixed-wing aircraft are now operating out of Cecil Airport.

Aug. 26, 2015: VP-5 “Mad Foxes” host newly elected Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry on a P-8A Poseidon familiarization flight over Jacksonville.

Sept. 4, 2015: VP-24 retires the last P-3C Orion from operational duty at a ceremony at Cecil Field.

Sept. 29, 2015: Newly appointed Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visits and holds an All Hands Call. More than 900 Sailors and civilian participate.

Oct. 15, 2015: NAS Jacksonville holds a Zero Discharge ribbon-cutting ceremony for its wastewater reuse expansion project. NAS Jax becomes the first major utility in Northeast Florida to achieve zero discharge of its treated wastewater to the St. Johns River. Additionally, reuse of treated wastewater has eliminated the withdrawal of 73 million gallons of groundwater from the Florida Aquifer every year — saving $200,000 in annual fees for potable water, while reducing the use of fertilizer. The reuse water is being used for irrigation on the station and neighboring Timuquana Country Club golf course.

Oct. 15, 2015: NAS Jax celebrates its 75th anniversary as the first naval air base in Northeast Florida in front of a crowd of 500. A time capsule dedication is held, during which tenant commands deposit historical items to be opened on Oct. 15, 2075. Mayor Curry presents a proclamation citing Oct. 15 as NAS Jacksonville Day in the city of Jacksonville.

February 2016: HSL-40 “Jaguars” reserve squadron relocates from Naval Station Mayport to NAS Jacksonville and becomes HSM-60.

June 27, 2016: After being closed for a year, NAS Jacksonville runway reopens with a P-8A Poseidon touching down on the newly refinished runway. This was the most substantial renovation the runway had received since its opening.

October 2016: VUP-19 is commissioned and holds an assumption of command ceremony.

Feb. 2, 2017: Grand opening held for new Commissary store, providing 64,000 sq. ft. of a sales floor in the $30 million facility.

August 2017: NAS Jax Patrol Squadrons provided surveillance of Texas region devastated after Hurricane Harvey.

September 2017: HSM squadrons deploy in support of operations following Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and south Florida. NAS Jax provided safe haven for NAS Key West military and civilian evacuees.

June 2018: Station certified Voluntary Protection Program; one of three in CNRSE.

December 2018: NAS Jacksonville named “Best” air station in the Navy after winning second place in Commander, Naval Installation Command Installation Excellence Award for the large base category.



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