NAS Key West
|PO Box 9001 |
|Key West, Florida ||33030|
This site is located in the Southeast region of the state.
Located at Mile Marker 8 on US 1, traffic from the east will turn right at the Naval Air Station directional sign just beyond the Visitor's Information Center.
From Key West, travel east to the "Naval Air Station next right" sign. Follow the directions to the main gate.
Described by Admiral David Porter as “The Gibraltar of the Gulf,” Key West Naval Station originated in 1823 as a base from which American Naval forces could suppress pirate activity in the Caribbean and Gulf. While the scene of much naval activity during several wars, this facility served only as a radio station in the late thirties.
The Navy reactivated Naval Base Key West at Trumbo Point in November 1939 and located a submarine base and a PBY Catalina Squadron there. By December 1940 Trumbo Point received designation as NAS Key West. Using four destroyers and three submarines, the Navy operated one of three sound schools at this station, training both American and Allied seamen. In addition, OS2U Kingfishers and PBM Mariners operated from this base. With the German U-boat threat to Atlantic shipping, Key West became an assembly point for convoy formation.
Meacham Field, the Key West Municipal Airport, became an Army Air Field immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor with antisubmarine aircraft and P-40 Warhawk fighters stationed there. With the departure of the Army, Meacham became an outlying field for NAS Key West and a base for a blimp utility squadron.
Originated to replace Meacham Field as Key West’s Municipal Airport, the Civilian Aircraft Authority developed a new field on Boca Chica Key. Because of wartime demand for airfields, Boca Chica became an Army antisubmarine field early in the war. Carrier pilot, torpedo bombing, and night fighter training began at this field in 1943 with the release of this base to the Navy. Marine squadrons trained here on the SBD Dauntless and PBJ aircraft in 1944. During the course of the war as many as 15,000 service personnel and their dependents made Key West their home.
In March 1945 the naval facilities on Key West became consolidated as NAS Key West. Following the Allied victory in August 1945, Meacham Field returned to civilian control and eventually became Key West Municipal Airport. The Navy retained use of NAS Key West as a vital facility and its Key West Command Center.
As a closed facility, public access is permitted only through prior arrangements with the Public Affairs Office.