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Jacksonville_2019 NAS Jacksonville 1940-Present 1940-1949


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

Oct. 15, 1940: NAS Jacksonville commissioned at noon. Capt. Charles Perry Mason first commanding officer. Training Squadron VN-13, D-7 established. Adm. 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 begins 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 becomes Observation Squadron VO-VCS and begins operational training with OS2U Kingfisher aircraft which includes catapult practice.

April 1943: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Henri de Levis Mirepoix succeeded Lt. 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 are assigned and the multi-engine phase of instruction is inaugurated.

July 18, 1944: First arrested landing on airfield.

Sept. 10, 1944: NAS Jacksonville pilots achieve 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 at NAS Jacksonville is established.

Aug. 31, 1945: Navy Separation Center Commissioning Ceremony is 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, organizes the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval aviation. The Blue Angels perform 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 Aug. 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transition 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 the Blue Angels’ first aircraft.

June 15, 1946: Craig Field is dedicated with the 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 is 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 are 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 is 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 NAS 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, relocates 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” lands at station. First two planes, P2V-2 Neptunes, of VP-5 arrive.


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