NAS Ft. Lauderdale
FMSF#: BD02561 & BD02562
Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport
|320 Terminal Drive |
|Ft. Lauderdale, Florida ||33315|
This site is located in the Southeast region of the state.
From Florida's Turnpike, take the SR84/I595/US441 exit (Exit 54) to the I595E/SR84E/US441 exit. Stay right at the fork in the ramp and keep left at the next two ramp forks to I595E. Merge onto I595E to exit 12B towards International Airport. Continue straight to Terminal Drive.
This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Constructed in 1929 on an abandoned golf course, Merle Fogg Field served as the local municipal airport prior to WWII. NAS Ft. Lauderdale was commissioned in October 1942 and provided training for pilots and crewmen of the TBF/TBM Avenger torpedo plane. Lacking an aircraft carrier, on which takeoffs and landings could be practiced, simulated decks on land served this purpose. As aircraft carriers became more plentiful later in the war, the U.S.S. Solomons saw duty at this station to aid in carrier-based airplane pilot training. Radar school and air-sea rescue training were provided as well. Over 700 pilots were intentionally or accidentally dunked in the Atlantic to provide experience to pilots and crews. Auxiliary fields to this site were located at North Pompano and West Prospect. Those fields today are Pompano Beach Airport and Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport, respectively.
George H. W. Bush, later to be our forty-first President, received training on the Avenger TBF/TBM torpedo bomber at NAS Ft. Lauderdale from June 16, to August 16, 1943. Commissioned at the age of eighteen in 1943, Ensign Bush was the youngest pilot in the United States Navy at that time.
Through the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce a Service Men’s Center was established in 1942 in the Pioneer Department Store Building. Patriotic young women of the community hosted the servicemen at the dance hall, library, and dining room facilities.
NAS Ft. Lauderdale may be best remembered as the home base of the “Lost Patrol.” Five TBM Avengers left this station on a routine training mission on December 5, 1945, and were lost completely in the Atlantic. A PBM launched later that day from NAS Banana River to locate the missing patrol never returned.
Declared surplus by the Navy in 1948, Broward County leased this site for operation of what became the present day Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The Broward County Women’s Council of the Navy League erected a memorial at the airport in 1971 to honor the naval aviators who served at NAS Ft. Lauderdale during the war. On May 20 1998, Link Trainer Building #8, a WWII facility, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Annual memorial service conducted by the NAS Fort Lauderdale Historical Association on December 5.
Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum