For many years the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi has been a naval pilot training base. Many naval aviators that have went on to become major leaders in Naval Aviation and beyond, received their basic aviation skills and wings at NAS Corpus Christi.
There is a very popular RV park at the base and is now open to civilian visitors.
I took this picture at the main entrance to the officers club.
Camp Blanding Joint Training Center: Even though it’s basically a Florida National Guard training center its land mass is quite large and many other military units use it for training. It’s quite isolated with the nearest town (Stark) being about 12 miles west of the main gate. There is no air field there, yet there is a display of Navy/Air Force aircraft at the main gate.
There is a medium size RV Park on the base, mostly located on the banks of a large clear water lake. “Snow Birds” will nearly fill it up in the winter months.
In 1965 I was serving with Navy Fighter Squadron 41 (F4-B aircraft) aboard the USS Independence (CVA-62) at Norfolk, VA and made a deployment to the waters off the coast of Vietnam.
From 1970 - 1973 I was serving with Navy Fighter Squadron 151 (F4-B/N aircraft) aboard the USS Midway (CVA-41) at Alameda, CA and made two extended deployments to those same waters.
In late 1973 the Midway was reassigned to forward deployment duty at Yokosuka, Japan.
In this picture the Midway is being relieved from forward deployment by the Indy. The reason for the Pearl Harbor location is munitions. Some munitions carried aboard US aircraft carriers cannot be stored ashore in foreign ports. Pearl harbor is a location for those munitions.
I served in Naval Aviation for a little over 31 years. Then I did 10 more years as a DOD employee. During those active duty years I served with VF-41 twice. First with F4-B aircraft off the USS Independence (CVA-62) 1964 – 1966. Second with F14-A aircraft of the USS Nimitz (CVN-6 1977 - 1980.
During my second tour I befriended a flight crew member, LCDR Lindner. I don’t think he ever left the deck without a camera. I have some very good airborne photos taken by him and this is one of them
On a recent trip to Jacksonville, FL to visit grand children, we drove out to Cecil Airport - it used to be Naval Air Station Cecil Field.
They have a POW Vietnam Memorial and are adding to it as money becomes available. The newest addition is a restored A7 corsair II aircraft. VA-174 was the first squadron to receive an A7. That was Aug, 1966.
Great decals and paint job on this display aircraft.
During my three years with Fighter Squadron 151 aboard the USS Midway, this was the only full dress blues personnel inspection held at sea and underway. The year was 1971 and we were heading to Pearl Harbor before going to the South China Sea for more than seven months of combat operations. It was the first cruise for the Midway after extensive yard time for modernization.
Early in 1980 the Nimitz was assigned duty in the Indian Ocean. At that time it was chosen as the carrier to provide services to the helicopters to be used in the attempted Iranian hostage situation. The helicopters were flown from the states in USAF C-5A aircraft to Diego Garcia; a small atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Once put back into a flight status the Nimitz was directed to leave their station in the Arabian Sea and proceed to waters close enough to Diego Garcia where they could recover the Helicopters – at night.
Having the helicopters aboard the Nimitz was a hush-hush operation. Because of satellites tracking, every move the Nimitz made the Helicopters were hidden in the ship’s hangar bays during the daylight hours. The only time they were allowed on the flight deck was at night and during daytime heavy overcast weather.
I always wondered why the powers to be didn’t take a more serious look at desert dust conditions. More than a hundred miles from land the Nimitz had to periodically wash he dusty sand off the flight deck. They did that by finding a rain storm to do the work or use a fresh water wash down.
During that operation I was working for the Air Wing Commander as a flight deck maintenance control coordinator. I worked closely with the flight deck handler in scheduling the wing’s aircraft spotting. Having those huge Helicopters aboard and periodically moving them from the hanger decks to the flight deck was a number one PITA.
Sometime in 1979 Pratt & Whitney – a military aircraft engine builder – purchased enough land in North Berwick, Maine – my home town – to build a factory. My grandmother on my father’s side had a home on that land and there was also an ancestral family farm including house and barn on the property. Everything was demolished except the ancestral home. It was moved to a historical location in the town and opened to visitors.
I recently returned from a visited at my home town where I took these pictures.
For many years, Naval Air Station Cecil Field, FL was the home for USNs light attack aircraft. I served there from 1966 – 1970 with Attack Squadron 174. I served there again from 1983 – 1988 with Attack Squadron 46, Light Attack Wing 1 then on to Fighter/Attack Squadron 132 where I retired in 1988.
Living only 7 miles from Cecil in my early retirement years, we used base facilities such as the commissary, Navy Exchange and played many rounds of golf at the par 72 golf course.
Because earlier in my career I had a position at the Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet headquarters At Norfolk, VA (3 years), as an aviation manpower management analyst, I was sought after to work on the BRAC that was going to close NAS, Cecil Field. The year was 2000 and I was a journeyman aircraft mechanic (WG-10) at the Naval Aviation Depot, Jacksonville, FL. For me, it was not going to be an enjoyable task. I went from “blue collar” to “white collar” for that assignment. They did give me a nice clothing allowance.
One day on my way to Cecil to play a round of golf - I took my new digital camera Linda had got me for my birthday - I took pictures of all aircraft on display on the main base road to the golf course. Of course, the camera was analog with a very small storage area. But I got all of them and here 5 of them.