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World War II Ends

World War II Ends

From 1945 to 1950, three patrol bomber squadrons (VPHL-7, VPHL-10 and VPHL-12) were based here along with FASRON 12. Squadrons deployed on a three-up and six-month-back rotation from Kodiak, Alaska.

Regular patrols were flown in support of the Arctic supply operation and electronic reconnaissance from Nome down the dateline to Adak.

Squadrons were supplemented by the phase-in of P-2V squadrons in 1949. Squadrons were renumbered from HL-7 to VP-20, HL-10 to VP-27 and HL-12 to VP-29. They were decommissioned in early 1950 and replaced by P-2V squadrons. When the Korean conflict broke out, PB4Y-2s were again stationed at Whidbey as a replacement training group for patrol bombers.

Originally commissioned as a temporary station, NAS Whidbey Island’s operations slowed at war’s end. It was almost certain the base would be earmarked for decommissioning.

Many bases were closing because they couldn’t meet the requirements of the new Air Navy: 6,000-foot runways were now the minimum standard, and approach paths had to be suitable for radar-controlled approaches in any weather.

In December 1949, the Navy decided that while Naval Station Seattle, the major pre-war naval installation in the Northwest, was suitable to train Reserve forces and support a moderate number of aircraft, it could not be expanded as a major fleet support station.

Thus NAS Whidbey Island was chosen as the only station north of San Francisco and west of Chicago for this all-type, all-weather Navy field to support fleet and Alaska activities.

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