The site that Naval Air Station 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 investigated, 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 set a 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 granted 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 was 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.