The official step leading to the construction of the Naval Air Station was initiated by the 75th Congress in 1938. A board found that a lack of training facilities capable of meeting an emergency demand for pilots constituted a grave situation. They recommended the establishment of a second air training station and that it be located on Corpus Christi Bay.
NAS Corpus Christi was commissioned by its first skipper, Captain Alva Bernhard, on March 12, 1941. The first flight training started on May 5, 1941. Former President George H.W. Bush was the youngest pilot to graduate -- graduating in June 1943 and commissioned just three days before his 19th birthday.
In 1941, 800 instructors provided training for more than 300 cadets a month. The training rate nearly doubled after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. By the end of World War II, more than 35,000 Naval aviators had earned their wings here. Corpus Christi was the only primary, basic and advanced training facility in existence in the United States. At one time it was the largest pilot training facility in the world.
Today, the training program is much longer, approximately 18 months, due to the increased complexity of today's aircraft. Currently, Training Air Wing FOUR produces approximately 600 newly qualified aviators each year.