History

Whiting Field Circa 1943An early photograph of Naval Air Station Whiting Field shorty after construction in 1943. The field ground in front of the command building was used to assemble military personnel. The flagpole continues to be in the same location today. U.S. Navy file photo.

In July 2018, NAS Whiting Field will celebrate its 75th 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.

Today

Naval Air Station Whiting Field is completed its transition from the T-34 to the new T-6B in April 2012. The installation currently hosts 6 Training Squadrons and 2 Instructor Squadrons, which is comprised of 148 T-6Bs and about 113 TH-57s. The installation is composed of two separate primary airfields and uses 13 Outlying Landing Fields to support both primary and intermediate flight training.  Naval Air Station Whiting Field is the busiest air station in the world, accounting for nearly 1.5 million annual flight operations including primary flight training of over 1,200 students.

 

20141209-N-WW980-00420141209-N-WW980-004 Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla. - A TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopter prepares for take off from the South Field at NAS Whiting Field. Today, about 600 new helicopter pilots are Winged every year by Training Air Wing FIVE at the installation. One-hundred percent of all Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard pilots are trained at NAS Whiting Field. U.S. Navy file photo.

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