Updated On: 9/22/2012 3:42:48 PM
Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport are two of three major Navy installations in the Jacksonville area. NAS Jacksonville occupies more than 3,000 acres along the west bank of the St. Johns River, 13 miles south of downtown Jacksonville. Mayport sits near the Port of Jacksonville, on the south side of the St. Johns River and westward of St. Johns Point. read more...
Together, the bases are host to nearly 200 tenant commands and activities. Naval Station Mayport is the third largest fleet concentration area in the United States, and NAS Jacksonville is the largest Navy base in the Southeast Region.
The Jacksonville area is home to more than 1 million people, and both bases enjoy strong relationships with the civilian communities. NAS Jacksonville employs more than 23,000 active duty and civilian personnel, as well as servicing thousands of retirees and dependents. This infuses an estimated $2 billion into the local community. NS Mayport employs more than 14,000 active duty personnel, 45,000 family members and retirees, and 1,400 civilian employees.
Residents of Jacksonville enjoy a diversity of people, weather and activities. From the natural beauty of the beaches and wetlands to the excitement of city life, those assigned to NAS Jacksonville or Mayport will find a welcoming community with a sense of home.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
The weather in the Jacksonville area tends to be humid and subtropical. Weather is mild in winter and hot in summer, with average temperatures ranging from 64 to 91 degrees. In summer, temperatures can climb to more than 100 degrees, with thunderstorms often occurring in the afternoons. The wettest months are June through September, with an average of 52 inches of rain per year.
Winter can be chilly at times with occasional overnight freezes, although they usually melt off in the daylight. Snowfall is extremely rare, with the last two accumulated snowfalls occurring in 1989 and 2010.
Sunny or overcast, especially in summer, slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen—one that blocks UVA and UVB rays—with an SPF of 15 or more. Waterproof sunscreens protect up to 80 minutes in the water, water-resistant are good for only 40 minutes, and sweating and swimming rinses sunscreen off so reapplying is important. Seek shade. Also try sun-protective clothing or wear a hat, and protect your lips and ears. But remember: A typical cotton T-shirt only protects equal to about an SPF 15 sunscreen and when wet, it can drop to an SPF of 8.
While Jacksonville has suffered less from hurricane damage than other Florida cities, the threat of a hurricane is still a real one. During the Atlantic hurricane season, it is important to be prepared, pay attention to storm warnings and keep the proper supplies on hand. You should know your evacuation route, and if local officials order evacuation, follow their instructions.
Consider flood insurance for any property you purchase. Develop an emergency contact plan in case family members are separated during a storm. Teach family members how to turn off utility connections such as gas, electric, etc. Build an emergency supply kit (see below for list). Prepare your home in advance against damage by putting in storm shutters, verifying electrical panels, outlets, furnace and water heater are above potential flood lines, and making sure entry doors can be secured top and bottom. A contractor can also be consulted for home improvements and preparation.
EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT
Emergency supply kits should include water (at least one gallon per day per person), food (for people and pets), blankets, first aid kits, flashlights and extra batteries, toiletries and hygiene items. A full list can be found at http://www.nhc.noaa. gov/HAW2/english/prepare/supply_kit.shtml.
During a hurricane watch, hurricane conditions are considered a possibility for the area within 24 to 36 hours. This is the time to review your family disaster/contact plan and check your emergency supply kit, as well as securing your home while staying tuned to local media and weather alert channels.
A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 24 hours. Begin precautionary measures such as storing valuables in waterproof containers, parking cars in sheltered areas or on high ground, and elevating furniture if time permits.
If you are advised to evacuate your home, leave as early as possible to avoid traffic, flooding or fallen trees. Make sure your vehicle has a current Florida map and that you have your emergency supply kit with you. The American Red Cross will open designated shelters which will be announced on local radio and television stations.
WHEN IT'S OVER
When you return to your home following a hurricane, consider the following safety precautions:
Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them at once
Watch out for snakes, insects and animals that might have gone to higher ground
Open windows and doors to ventilate home
Take pictures of interior and exterior of home for insurance claims
Drive only if necessary
Use telephone only for emergency calls
Check house for gas leaks
Look for electrical system damage, as well as sewage and water line damage
NAS JACKSONVILLE HISTORY
Naval Air Station Jacksonville was officially commissioned in October 1940, the first part of the Jacksonville Navy complex that would include NAS Cecil Field and Naval Station Mayport. World War II brought rapid growth of the base, with three runways more than 6,000 feet long in operation along with seaplane ramps, and Overhaul and Repair facilities built for the reworking of the station's planes. The base also grew to accommodate 700 buildings that included a chapel, a hospital and a prisoner-of-war compound. Many of the buildings constructed during World War II are still in use today. In 1946 the Blue Angels squadron was formed in NAS Jacksonville. It is now operating as the oldest formal flying aerobatic team.
In 1948 the Navy's first jet carrier air groups and squadrons arrived in Jacksonville, and by 1949 it was considered the East Coast's plane capital. By the mid-1950s the station had more than 11,000 military assigned, along with 5,000 civilian employees. Jacksonville's Navy squadron went to Guantanamo Bay during the Naval Blockade of Cuba with patrol squadrons monitoring Soviet ships and processing daily spy plane film. In 1965 the station celebrated its 25th anniversary, just as the Vietnam War began and more than 100,000 troops were sent in. The fixed wing antisubmarine community had the only personnel directly involved in the conflict, but all Sailors and civilian personnel continued to support forces in combat.
In 1973, the station's primary mission became antisubmarine warfare, and soon it was the most requested duty station in the Navy. The station continued to grow into the 1980s, with construction of a new childcare center and a Navy Lodge. In 1989, Capt. Kevin Delany assumed command of the station, and under his command there were additional improvements as well as the building of a new park, Manatee Point.
NAS Jacksonville celebrated 50 years in 1990, amidst concerns over possible downsizing of the military and trouble in the Middle East. The station would eventually take part in this conflict, with squadron aircraft flying off carriers in support of Desert Storm. Despite base closures and realignment into the late-1990s, Jacksonville was able to continue its growth and celebrate its 60th anniversary at the dawn of the new millennium.
NAS Jacksonville is a Navy Installation Excellence Award winner and an Occupations Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program "Star" status installation. It directly supports the Chief of Naval Operations Global Maritime Strategy and epitomizes the "One Team, One Fight" spirit.
Personnel work around the clock, overseeing more than 80,000 take-offs and landings of its 16 aircraft squadrons each year. The base also prides itself on its environmental stewardship and energy conservation, receiving the City of Jacksonville's Environmental Stewardship Award. The station remains an award-winning and community minded installation, dedicated to providing warfighter readiness and a superior quality of life for its Sailors and community.
NS MAYPORT HISTORY
The Mayport area has been home to sailors for more than 400 years. There is evidence of continuous occupation by Native Americans, Spanish, English and Americans. In 1562, French Huguenot Commodore Jean Ribault led an expedition to Florida and landed on the banks of what is now Mayport. The Spanish seized the area around 1564, setting up military outposts at the present site of NS Mayport, as well as across the river and at St. John's Bluff. During the Revolutionary War, Florida was occupied by the English, who patrolled the river to prevent American sympathizers from crossing. The American Civil War brought in a Confederate company, the Jacksonville Light Infantry, who set up a fort at the site of the present naval station. They named it Fort Steele, in honor of their commanding officer.
Things changed in the late 19th century, and the base area became a recreational resort, bringing summer visitors from Jacksonville as well as northern visitors who established residences there. By 1890, there was a small settlement with a lighthouse, homes and a store.
In April 1939, plans were initiated for a naval site in the Mayport area. The plans included the development of an aircraft carrier basin. Ribault Bay was chosen as the location and was used by patrol craft, rescue boats and jeep carriers during World War II. A proposal submitted by Lieutenant Commander M.R. Sanders recommended that a second installation be established at Mayport, and the station was commissioned as a U.S. Section Naval Base in 1942.
After being deactivated in 1947 due to budget cuts, the base was reactivated in June 1948 and by 1955 had grown considerably. In April 1955, Rear Admiral Robert Goldwaite, Commander, Carrier Division Two, moved headquarters to Mayport — the first shore-based headquarters in Jacksonville's history. The next year the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived along with Navy families. This was another first in that Navy families were able to move with the ship. By 1957 more land had been acquired and the base encompassed 2,428 acres.
Throughout the rest of the 20th century, NS Mayport continued to expand and grow, as more sailors and their families arrived and base facilities were improved. As helicopter aviation evolved Mayport became the East Coast base for the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS MK III) community. Mayport today is a thriving Naval Station serving as a vehicle for mission readiness. NS Mayport has continued to evolve and change with the times, bringing new developments in technology as well as addressing service and family needs. Mayport continues to dedicate itself to offering "The Finest Service to the Finest Fleet."