NAS Banana River
Patrick Air Force Base
|45th Space Wing |
|Patrick Air Force Base, Florida ||32925|
This site is located in the EastCentral region of the state.
Patrick Air Force Base is located between Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach on SR-A1A. Access to the barrier island from I-95 is gained either on SR-528 (from the north) or SR-500 (from the south).
Authorized by the Naval Expansion Act of 1938, NAS Banana River was commissioned October 1, 1940 as a sub-base of NAS Jacksonville. With the advent of war with Japan and Germany in December 1941, the Navy began anti-submarine patrols along the Florida coast using PBM Mariners based at this facility. PBMs returned to training duty in March 1942 when replaced on patrol by OS2U Kingfisher seaplanes. Landing strips were constructed in 1943 thereby allowing for operation of shore based aircraft. Free French naval officers trained in PBMs at Banana River at this time. Various military related activities took place at this site, including a blimp detachment, an Aviation Navigation Training School, an experimental training unit termed Project Baker, and a major aircraft repair and maintenance facility. Later in the war, a small detachment of German POWs from Camp Blanding worked at NAS Banana River on cleanup details. At its peak, the base complement included 278 aircraft, 587 civilian employees, and over 2800 officers and men.
The base closed in September 1947 after gradual deactivation. However, in September 1948 the facility transferred to the Air Force to become Patrick Air Force Base, headquarters for the USAF Eastern Space and Missile Center. Archival research is permitted with prior permission of the Patrick Air Force Base Historian.
Special recognition to Mark Cleary, Patrick AFB Historian, for assistance with this narrative.
Banana River NAS, WWII
Source: Image courtesy 45th Space Wing History Office, Mark Cleary, Historian.
Patrick AFB Home Page