75th Anniversary Chronology

Last Updated :

Historical background

The site that NAS Jacksonville occupies today was first used by the U.S. Army in May 1907, and then by the Florida National Guard. After many sites were investigates, a 13,000-acre tract of land at Black Point was recommended as the site for a state camp.

On Oct. 15, 1917, U.S. Army Camp Joseph E. Johnston was commissioned. Army Maj. McCauley sets transcontinental speed record of 25 hours, 45 minutes between San Diego and Camp Johnston on April 18, 1919. Shortly thereafter, on May 16, the camp was officially closed.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the U.S. War Department grants revocable license to the State of Florida for the site to be used for National Guard training. On June 28, 1928 the Florida National Guard training site is named Camp Clifford R. Foster.

On March 22, 1939, The “Hepburn Board,” named after its principle, the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet Adm. Arthur Japy Hepburn, was charged with the review of the U.S. defense capabilities. The Hepburn Board Report served as the basis for the massive U.S. defense expansion of the late 1930s, and the recommendation of the establishment of NAS Jacksonville at the Camp Clifford R. Foster site.


Jan. 16, 1940: First aircraft assigned to station, a Grumman J2F-3, arrives in Jacksonville.

Oct. 15, 1940: NAS Jacksonville commissioned at high noon. Capt. Charles Perry Mason first commanding officer. Training Squadron VN-13, D-7 established. Admiral John Towers in attendance.

Dec. 24, 1940: Station’s first training aircraft arrive as 10 N2S Stearmans fly in direct from the factory in St. Louis.

Jan. 2, 1941: First primary training squadron, VN-11, commissioned.

March 5, 1941: Seaplane squadrons VN-14 and VN-15 established, using nine P2Ys and P2Y-3s aircraft.

June 24, 1941: First class of aviation cadets receives their wings (Ensigns Hemphill, Kennedy and Shortlidge).

Aug. 15, 1941: First major aircraft overhaul completed at the Assembly and Repair (A&R) shops with completion of N2S Stearman No. 3423.

Sept. 20, 1941: Officers’ Club dedicated.

May 1, 1942: Rear Adm. A.B. Cook became the Chief of Naval Air Operational Training Command with headquarters at NAS Jacksonville.

May 24, 1942: Station flies 254 aircraft at one time as a demonstration of air power for visiting Pan-American officials.

Aug. 28, 1942: Aviation Free Gunnery School commissioned near Cecil Field.

Oct. 15, 1942: Operational Training began with PBY sea planes as VPB2 (Patrol Bomber) OTU (Outgoing Training Unit) No. 1 is established and training squadron VN-15 disestablished. First aircraft turrets arrive (.30 and .50 caliber) at Gunners School.

Feb. 20, 1943: Training Squadron VN-14 became Observation Squadron VO-VCS and began operational training with OS2U Kingfisher aircraft which included catapult practice.

April 1943: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Henri de Levis Mirepoix succeeded Lieutenant Andre Gilbert as Commanding Officer of the Fighting French Naval Aviation Unit at NAS Jacksonville.

Oct. 26, 1943: VF (fighter aircraft) training begins in the F4U Corsair.

March 10, 1944: Two SNB twin-engine aircraft assigned and the multi-engine phase of instruction inaugurated.

July 18, 1944: First arrested landing on airfield.

Sept. 10, 1944: NAS Jacksonville pilots achieved more than 1-million hours of flying time.

Nov. 28, 1944: First helicopter lands at station (Sikorsky HNS).

Dec. 22, 1944: MF-OTU, first all-Marine Fighter Squadron aboard NAS Jacksonville established.

Aug. 31, 1945: Navy Separation Center Commissioning Ceremony held. Thousands of Sailors would be discharged from the Navy before the center was closed.

April 9, 1946: Last PBY seaplane leaves the station.

April 18, 1946: Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris on orders from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, organized the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation. The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base, NAS Jacksonville, flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Only two months later on August 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transitioned to the Grumman F8F Bearcat and introduced the famous “diamond” formation.

May 9, 1946: An F6F Hellcat (No. 80097) modified by the A&R Department becomes Blue Angels’ first aircraft.

June 15, 1946: Craig Field dedicated with Blue Angels’ first public show.

Jan. 11, 1947: First jet, a Phantom, lands at NAS Jacksonville. Phantom leaves NAS Jacksonville to set speed record en route to Miami.

April 14, 1948: New search and rescue (SAR) unit organized with two PBY-5A seaplanes.

May 27, 1948: Sixteen pilots receive wings at NAS Jacksonville for first time since 1943.

Oct. 21, 1948: Ensign Jessie Brown becomes first African-American in Navy to receive his “Wings of Gold” in ceremony at NAS Jacksonville.

Nov. 1, 1948: Three Jacksonville area commands activated. Capt. A. L. Malstrom, USN, commanding officer of NAS Jacksonville, assumes additional duties as COMNAB-6; Cmdr. J.D. Shea, USN, becomes the commanding officer of NAAS Cecil Field; Capt. Charles Lee, USN, assumes duties as Commander Fleet Air Jacksonville pending arrival of Rear Adm. Calvin Durgin, USN. Naval Air Advanced Training Command relocated to NAS Corpus Christi.

Nov. 8, 1948: Blue Angels fly last air show at NAS Jacksonville prior to relocating to NAS Corpus Christi.

Nov. 10, 1948: Carrier Air Group 8, composed of fighter squadrons (VF) 81, VF-82, VF-83, VA-84, VA-85) and Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron (FASRon) 6, first group under Fleet Air Jacksonville, arrive. Rear Adm. Durgin becomes Commander Fleet Air Jacksonville.

Feb. 15, 1949: Carrier Air Group 4 (VF-41, VF-42, VF-43, VA-44, Attack Squadron (VA) 45 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Norfolk.

April 13, 1949: “Philippine” Mars seaplane lands with staff of Carrier Air Group 13. CAG 13, composed VF-131, VF-132, VF-133, VA-134, VA-135, relocated to NAS Jacksonville from San Diego.

Sept. 19, 1949: AD-4 Skyraiders replace last TBM-3Es assigned to VA-135 at NAS Jacksonville.

Dec. 6, 1949: U.S. Navy Blimp “ZW2” makes landing at station. First two planes, P2V-2 Neptunes, of VP-5 arrive.


Jan. 4, 1950: Three P2V-2 aircraft from VP-3 arrive at station.

Jan. 19, 1950: Fleet Air Wing II begins operations from NAS Jacksonville. Final units arrive.

Jan. 8, 1951: Naval Air Technical Center (NATTCen) reactivated at NAS Jacksonville.

March 1, 1951: Reserve Patrol Squadron VP-741 activates as VP-16.

March 19, 1951: Patrol Squadron VP-10 established at NAS Jacksonville.

April 9, 1951: Carrier Air Group 8, composed of Reserve Squadron VF-742 and others, re-established at NAS Jacksonville. FASRon 795 reported to NAS Jacksonville for training with FASRon-109.

Jan. 24, 1952: VC-5, the Navy’s first heavy attack squadron flying the AJ-1 Savage, assigned duty to station. First P2V-5 assigned to NAS Jacksonville with VP-3.

March 10, 1952: VJ-2 Hurricane Hunter squadron, flying P4Y Privateers, placed in commission at NAS Jacksonville. Squadron VP-23, based at Miami under FAW-11, disestablished.

October 1952: A jet ejection trainer, one of the first ever built, installed at NAS Jacksonville. Reserve patrol squadron VP-742 established.

Nov. 1, 1953: Guided Missile School opens at NATTCen NAS Jacksonville.

Feb. 16, 1954: The Navy’s only Landing Signal Officer School established at NAS Jacksonville.

Dec. 15, 1954: VW-4 receives first WV-1 Super Constellation aircraft.

Nov. 1, 1955: Patrol squadron VP-3 disestablished. Heavy Attack Squadron One “Tigers” (VAH-1), the first of its kind, established at NAS Jacksonville.

November 1956: The first airplane to land at the South Pole was one of four modified by NAS O&R Department. Reserve squadron VP-742 re-established.

Aug. 16, 1957: Heavy Photographic Squadron VAP-62 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Norfolk.

June 30, 1959: Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30) established at Fleet Air Wing II, NAS Jacksonville. Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron SIX and FASRon 109 disestablished.

July 1, 1959: Aircraft Maintenance Department commissioned.


Aug. 10, 1961: Station insignia, still used today, established.

April 16, 1962: Navy’s first Aircraft Maintenance Radiography School opens at Naval Air Technical Training Unit (NATTU).

Oct. 1, 1963: A detachment of VP-45 arrives. Homeport of VP-5 changed from NAS Bermuda to NAS Jacksonville.

Jan. 1, 1964: VP-45 changes homeport from NAS Norfolk to NAS Jacksonville, assigned to PATWING-11.

March 13, 1964: First P3A “Orion” aircraft at NAS Jacksonville arrive for operational duty and take first flight with VP-45.

July 30, 1964: Patrol squadron VP-30 receives first P-3 Orion.

May 16, 1965: CPO Club building (corner of Yorktown/McFarland) destroyed by fire.

July 14, 1966: Ground broken for $12 million Hangar 1000, used by the patrol squadrons.

Aug. 5, 1966: Patrol squadron VP-5 retires last active duty SP-2E Neptune aircraft (BUNO 131526).

Nov. 29, 1967: Final helicopter, SH-3H, completed at Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF), ending their Helicopter Rework Program. 2,123 helicopters were reworked since 1959.

April 25, 1968: The Douglas A-1H Skyraider of VA-176 was phased out in ceremonies at NAS Jacksonville. This was the Navy’s last piston-engine carrier-based attack squadron and the last to operate the A-1 “SPAD.” NAS Jacksonville-based VA-176 moved to NAS Oceana.

Oct. 7, 1969: Patrol squadron VP-7 disestablished.


July 14, 1970: Station’s last two seaplanes, HU-16 Albatrosses, retired from SAR service.

Nov. 14, 1970: Patrol squadron VP-62 established. Members will fly SP-2H Neptune aircraft pending delivery of P-3 Orions.

July 2, 1971: Patrol squadron VP-56, officially welcomed aboard from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, for duty with Fleet Air Wing Eleven.

Jan. 26, 1972: Patrol squadron VP-49 officially home-based at NAS Jacksonville.

July 10, 1972: Weather Reconnaissance squadron VW-4 retires last NC-121 Super Constellation aircraft.

Dec. 1, 1972: Patrol Squadron Twenty-Four (VP-24) welcomed officially to its new home at NAS Jacksonville.

June 30, 1973: Commander Fleet Air Wing 11 changed to Commander Patrol Wing 11.

August 1973: NARF completes last A4 Skyhawk rework. Over 1,200 aircraft were completed.

Sept. 27, 1973: Helicopter squadron HS-7 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Oct. 13, 1973: Helicopter squadron HS-1 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Oct. 17, 1973: Helicopter squadrons HS-3 and HS-11 arrive at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

October 1973: Helicopter squadron HC-2, Fleet Angels, arrive at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Nov. 1, 1973: NATTCen scheduled for closure and consolidation at NAS Memphis. Helicopter squadron HC-2 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Dec. 15, 1973: Helicopter Antisubmarine Wing One moved from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, to NAS Jacksonville.

Feb. 1, 1974: Helicopter squadron HS-5 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Feb. 21, 1974: With the graduation of Aviation Electrician’s Mate Class No. 411, the U.S. Naval Air Technical Training Center at NAS Jacksonville is transferred to NAS Memphis, Tennessee.

March 8, 1974: Attack squadron VA-203 retires the Navy’s last A-4 Skyhawk at NAS Jacksonville.

April 23, 1975: VW-4, Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Four, disestablishment ceremony held.

Sept. 30, 1977: Helicopter Combat Support Squadron Two (HC-2), the oldest helo squadron in the U.S. Navy, disestablished.

Dec. 1, 1977: Attack Squadron VA-203, a reserve attack squadron assigned to Reserve Carrier Air Wing Twenty (CVWR-20), flying the A7B “Corsair,” relocated to NAS Cecil Field. With this move, the last jet attack aircraft based at NAS Jacksonville departs.


Oct. 15, 1982: Nelson Helicopter Facility dedicated. Naval Supply Center established.

November 1985: First F/A-18 Hornet inducted at the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF).

March 31, 1987: NARF changes name to Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP).

April 13, 1987: New $2,000,000 NARF Materials Engineering Laboratory dedicated at the NADEP.


Sept. 24, 1990: Last Standard Depot Level Maintenance on A7 Corsair at NADEP completed.

May 24, 1991: NAS Jacksonville presented Commander Installation Excellence Award for Best Base in the Navy in ceremonies at the Pentagon.

September 1991: First SH-60 helicopter assigned to HS-3 arrived on-station. It will eventually replace all SH-3 Sea King helicopters.

May 21, 1993: Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn P. Hire is the first woman assigned to a Navy combat aircraft. She is assigned to Patrol Squadron VP-62 at NAS Jacksonville.

Jan. 6, 1994: First F-14 Tomcats (two) arrives at NADEP Jacksonville for rework.

Jan. 14, 1994: Patrol squadron VP-49 Dis?establish?ment?/50th Anniversary Ceremony.

April 19, 1996: Patriots’ Grove dedicated. Seventy-?nine historic trees will memorialize Navy Medal of Honor recipients since World War II. Former U.S. Congressman Charles E. Bennett is the keynote speaker.

Oct. 18, 1996: Hangar 30 officially dedicated. The $24-million project was built by local construction firm Perry-McCall.

June 19, 1997: HS-1 dis­establishment ceremony held.

Nov. 20, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-30 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Nov. 24, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-31 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Dec. 12, 1997: Sea Control squadron VS-22 arrives at NAS Jacksonville from NAS Cecil Field.

Dec. 16, 1997: Sea Control Wing Atlantic completes its move from NAS Cecil Field to NAS Jacksonville. Barnett Bank closed after 53 years aboard the station.

March 31, 1998: VS-32 returns from deployment to its new home at NAS Jacksonville.

Aug. 26, 1999: Squadron VQ-6 disestablishment ceremony.


Nov. 2, 2000: The NAS Jacksonville Air Terminal Building 278 is dedicated in the name of retired Navy Capt. Roy M. “Butch” Voris, founder and first flight leader of the Blue Angels aboard NAS Jacksonville in 1946. This was the first Navy building named after a Blue Angel.

Dec. 15, 2001: Last C-9 aircraft from VR-58 departs NAS Jacksonville.

Aug. 24, 2002: Dedication ceremony for the new C-40A “Clipper” jet held. The C-40A replaced the C-9 “Skytrain” flown by VR-58.

June 2, 2006: NAVFAC Southeast established. (NAVFAC Southern Division, Charleston; Navy Public Works Center Jacksonville and Engineering Field Activity Jacksonville disestablished.)

March 25, 2007: HS-75 and Sea Control Squadron VS-24 officially disestablished.

Jan. 13, 2009: First MH-60R Seahawk helicopter arrives for duty with new squadron Helicopter Maritime Squadron HSM-70.

Jan. 29, 2009: Last Sea Control squadron, VS-22, disestablished.

Jan. 30, 2009: Commander Sea Control Wings Atlantic (S-3 Wing) decommissioned.

Feb. 12, 2009: First HSM helicopter squadron (HSM-70) formal establishment ceremony held at Hangar 1122.

March 6, 2009: Consolidated Maintenance Organization Eleven (Black Tips), providing maintenance to all VP squadrons, disestablished.

May 5, 2009: Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new VP Hangar 511 held. The $123.5-million hangar will be occupied by patrol squadrons relocating from NAS Brunswick, Maine.

May 15, 2009: VPU-1 arrives from NAS Brunswick and becomes the first squadron to occupy Hangar 511.

May 27, 2009: First P-3 for NAS Brunswick squadron VP-8 arrives.

June 1, 2009: Helicopter squadron HS-3 re-?designated Helicopter Sea Control HSC-9; starts move to NS Norfolk.

June 9, 2009: VP-5 arrives back from deployment, moves to hangar 511. NAS JAX runway 09/27 re-designated 10/28 due to magnetic variation.

June 10, 2009: VP-8 relocates from NAS Brunswick to NAS Jacksonville and officially transfers to Wing-11.

June 30, 2009: New HS Hangar 1122 ribbon-?cutting ceremony held. HSM-70 is the first squadron to move into the $73-million hangar.

July 25, 2009: VR-62 “Nomads” arrive from NAS Brunswick flying C-130T. They are the third NAS Brunswick squadron to transfer to NAS Jacksonvile.

Oct. 26, 2009: President Barack Obama visits NAS Jacksonville and addresses military and civilian personnel during a speech in Hangar 1122. National press corps covers the visit.

Nov. 9, 2009: HSL-44 relocates from Naval Station Mayport to NAS Jacksonville.

March 19, 2010: HSL-42 “Proud Warriors” change homeport from NAS Mayport to NAS Jacksonvile.


June 7, 2010: Last aircraft of VP-26 arrives. This is the last squadron to relocate from NAS Brunswick, Maine to NAS Jacksonville. Wing-11 is now composed of six operational squadrons – VP-5, VP-8, VP-10, VP-16, VP-26 and VP-45.

Jan. 26, 2011: NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Maclay kicks off the base Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration year-long celebration.

Nov. 4, 2011: Sixteen Distinguished Flying Cross recipients received certificates of recognition at a Centennial of Naval Aviation ceremony held at the Officers’ Club.

March 28, 2012: P-8A Poseidon Roll Out Ceremony held at VP-30 Hangar. Also, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the P-8A Integrated Training Center, Building 512 is held. More than 2,400 guests attend the ceremonies.

July 10, 2012: MQ-8B Fire Scout (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Training Facility unveiled at NAS Jacksonville, providing a leading-edge simulator center.

Aug. 31, 2012: Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit (VPU) 1 officially disestablished.

Sept. 10, 2012: Ground broke for the new $15,057,000 Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Training Facility. Training will be conducted on the new MQ-4C “Triton” aircraft. Additionally, construction for a new P-8A Maintenance Training Facility also commences.

Jan. 15, 2013: HSL-42 changes name to Helicopter Squadron Maritime 72 (HSM-72.)

Jan. 30, 2013: VP-16 becomes the first operational squadron to fly the P-8A Poseidon.

Oct. 1, 2013: First Navy MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial system squadron, VUP-19, established.

Jan. 7, 2015: NAS Jacksonville announces the station’s 75th anniversary logo contest winner – Jim Taylor from NAS Jax Environmental Department.

Quick Jump

Military Trusted Businesses
© 2018 - MARCOA Media