The United States Naval Air Facility Sigonella, Sicily, was formally established June 15, 1959 by its first commanding officer, Capt. Walter J. Frazier. The idea of creating NAF Sigonella germinated in the 1950s when it became apparent that the planned loading of U.S. Navy P-2 Neptunes would overcrowd the existing facility at the British Royal Navy Air Station in nearby Hal Far, Malta. It was with this in mind that the Navy obtained NATO backing to establish a presence on Sicily.
The land for Sigonella was originally made available to the Navy on a temporary basis under an agreement with the Italian government June 25, 1957. Within one week of the agreement, equipment from Malta began to arrive on board Sigonella.
The initial construction of Sigonella began in September 1957, with the administrative area at NAF I beginning in 1958. The building, now occupied by the Housing Office, was Sigonella's first administration building.
The first U.S. aircraft, a R4QD type Marine 1665, arrived from Naples, Aug. 8, 1957. By the end of August 1959, the NAF II airfield was available for daylight flights, with 24 flights logged by Aug. 31.
By September 1959, Sigonella had 56 military and U.S. dependents aboard, with dependents from Malta still arriving. By the end of November, Sigonella had 320 enlisted and 39 officers, with 194 enlisted and 40 officers in deployed squadrons here. Since those days, the strategic importance of Sigonella has only grown.
In the 1980s, the designation assigned to Sigonella was changed from NAF to Naval Air Station. Its central and vitally-strategic geographic location earned the base its moniker, “Hub of the Med.”
2019 marks the 60th year that the U.S. has maintained an established presence on Sicily. Today, NAS Sigonella supports 36 tenant commands representing the U.S. Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force as well as NATO. NAS Sigonella facilities span over 1,300 acres across four main sites: NAS I, NAS II, the Niscemi Naval Radio Transmitter Facility, and a support capability at the NATO pier in Augusta, Sicily. NAS Sigonella serves fleet, fighter, and family seven days a week, 365 days a year.