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73 Years of Continuous Operation

73 Years of Continuous Operation

In July 2016, NAS Whiting Field celebrated its 73rd year of continuous operation. What was once a field of weeds has become the backbone of the Navy’s flight program. During its history, Whiting Field has served as a prisoner-of-war camp for German soldiers, home of the famed Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team and home of the Navy’s first jet training unit. Before the field was officially commissioned, personnel were already beginning to train “the world’s best aviators.” Squadron 3-B of Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida, began operations on July 1, 1943. Squadron 3-B was later joined by Squadron 3-A of Chevalier Field to form Training Squadron THREE. In only 14 weeks, Whiting Field came into being to fulfill the need for pilot training commands in WWII. Commissioning ceremonies for Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Whiting Field were held on July 16, 1943, in the South Field Hanger. At 11 a.m. that day, Rear Admiral George D. Murray, Commandant of the Naval Air Training Center, welcomed some 1,500 persons and introduced Mrs. Kenneth Whiting, the widow of Naval hero, Captain Kenneth Whiting, for whom the station was named. The commissioning of NAS Whiting Field took place at a crucial time in American history. Only six days before the commissioning, the invasion of Sicily had occurred. Throughout World War II, NAS Whiting Field’s mission was to train aviators for the fleet.

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