Naval Support Activity Mid-South has a long and rich history, one which can be traced to the birth of military aviation itself and to our country's proudest moments.
This site was originally established in November 1917 as Park Field, an Army Signal Corps Aviation School used to train pilots for service with the Allied Forces during World War I. By February 1918, flight operations were in full swing, but only until November of that year when the Armistice was signed. Two days after the signing, training operations were ceased.
At that time the airfield began pioneering airmail routes throughout Tennessee and the surrounding states. In March 1920, the government officially purchased Park Field. However, the airfield continued to decline until it was little more than a storage area for aircraft and parts.
Ironically, the Stock Market "Crash" of 1929 breathed new life into Park Field. During the 1930s the field served as a transient camp for unemployed workers. In 1937 the Resettlement Administration took over the land and developed model farms used to demonstrate what could be achieved with correctly managed land. Park Field remained under this agency's jurisdiction until the outbreak of World War II.
Just as the onset of World War I had given Park Field its birth in 1917, the declaration of war on December 8, 1941, had similar results, heralding the arrival of naval aviation to the Memphis area. In February of 1942, the Navy Shore Station Development Board recommended approval of a reserve aviation base on the former site of Park Field. On September 15, 1942, the Naval Reserve Aviation Base was officially commissioned on the south side of the station.
On January 1, 1943, the Naval Reserve Aviation Base was renamed Naval Air Station Memphis. However, in April 1949, the base's functions completely changed, and a new Naval Air Station was established, different in both scope and function.
The new NAS assumed logistic support for all the commands at Navy Memphis, except the Naval Hospital. The boundaries included all Navy property on both sides of the Millington-Arlington Road (Navy Road). NAS Memphis continued its support and logistics role for some 50 years.
The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission directed the realignment of Naval Air Station Memphis. NAS Memphis was redesignated Naval Support Activity Memphis September 30, 1995. The name was changed to Naval Support Activity Mid-South October 1, 1998, to more closely identify the base's mission requirements and to reflect the Navy's approach to regionalization.
Today, the Naval Support Activity operates and functions with an allowance of approximately 6000 enlisted and officer personnel, civilians, and full-time contract personnel, who provide all essential logistic and operational support to the commands and activities on board.
As the base has evolved and changed, so has its impact on the area. It plays an important part in the community and is one of the largest single employers in the state of Tennessee.