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Commissioning Day

Commissioning Day

On Sept. 21, 1942, from the steps of Building 12, Commanding Officer Capt. Cyril Thomas Simard read the orders and the watch was set. U.S. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was duly commissioned. There were 212 present for the ceremony.

To honor Simard’s legacy, the chief of naval operations approved NAS Whidbey Island’s request to rename Building 12 as “Simard Hall,” and two of Simard’s granddaughters attended the official dedication on June 12, 2010.

On Sept. 25, 1943, following the recommendation of the Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board, an area 2½ miles southeast of Coupeville was approved as an auxiliary field to serve Naval Station Seattle. Survey work began in February 1943, and work started in March. Outlying Field Coupeville was in use by September.

Crews surveyed the Rocky Point area in the summer of 1943. It became the transmitter and machine gun range. Air gunners going to the fleet were trained there.

Patriotic fervor ran high in the early 1940s. The need to train America’s fighting force in a hurry was evident here on Whidbey Island.

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