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NAS Pensacola

Pensacola, Florida
Escambia County

This site is located in the Northwest region of the state.

DIRECTIONS
To NAS Pensacola Main Gate from I-10: Exit I-10 (Exit 4) on I-110 to Garden Street exit. Follow Garden Street through Pensacola (becomes Navy Boulevard leaving Pensacola) to Main Gate.

This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

NAS Pensacola has been described as both the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and the “Annapolis of the Air” in recognition of its role in the history of naval aviation. First constructed in 1826 as a U.S. Navy Yard five miles south of Pensacola, this site was virtually destroyed when abandoned by the Confederacy during the Civil War. Despite reactivation after the war and activity during the Spanish-American War, the Pensacola Navy Yard closed in 1911.

With the need for aviation training becoming more apparent, the Navy’s first Aeronautic Center opened in 1914 on the site of the abandoned navy yard. As the naval aviation training facility during World War I, NAS Pensacola on Armistice Day in 1918 carried a complement of 438 officers and 5,538 enlisted men. By war’s end, 1,000 seaplane and hydroplane aviators had been trained at this site.

Aviation Cadet Training Program began in 1935 on Chevalier Field, recently named for early Naval Aviator #7, LCdr. Godfrey DeC. Chevalier. Flight instructors began to receive their training at this site in 1940. With the entry of the United States into World War II, flight instruction increased to 2,500 students per month from a pre-war level of 800.

NAS Pensacola played a key role in the Navy’s war efforts. Aviation cadets received flight training on a variety of aircraft including OS2U Kingfishers and PBY Catalinas. In addition, NAS Pensacola served as home to the School of Aviation Medicine, the Naval Photography School, and the Aviation Metalsmith and Aviation Machinist Mates Class A School. The Naval Air Transport Service and the Naval Air Ferry Command also operated from this facility during WWII. NAS Pensacola and auxiliary fields trained over 28,000 Naval Aviators by the end of the war. Among this number, 2,775 British and 59 French pilots received their wings. The military and civilian complement in 1944 included 2,628 officers, 591 student pilots and 7559 enlisted personnel. Naval aviators enjoy an enviable record for their performance during WWII, with a 14 to 1 aerial combat ratio and over 15,400 enemy aircraft destroyed.

To memorialize the 4,000 British and Commonwealth aviators trained at NAS Pensacola, the Royal Air Force dedicated a monument outside Building 624 in 1991.

Access to specific sites within the compound is allowed to those persons presenting proper identification.

A Battle of Midway Night Commemoration ceremony is scheduled each year, on or about June 4.

IMAGES:


Commemorative marker in front of Base Headquarters (Building 624) placed by British aviators of WWII.

©
Source: Courtesy of Harry C. White, NAS Pensacola Public Affairs Officer

LINKS:
VPNAVY

  • http://vpnavy.com/naspensacola.html
  • National Historic Landmarks Database
  • http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1605&ResourceType=District
  • Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida
  • http://www.cnet.navy.mil/naspcola/
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