Naval Air Station Alameda

Last updated

Naval Air Station Alameda
Nimitz Field
Alameda, California in the United States
Alameda NAS Vought A7 Corsair II guardian (3374934106) (2).jpg
An A-7 Corsair II gate guardian at former the NAS Alameda during 2006
Naval air station alameda emblem.jpg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Alameda
Location in the United States
Coordinates 37°47′10″N122°19′07″W / 37.78611°N 122.31861°W / 37.78611; -122.31861 Coordinates: 37°47′10″N122°19′07″W / 37.78611°N 122.31861°W / 37.78611; -122.31861
Type Naval air station
Site information
Owner Department of Defense
Operator US Navy
ConditionClosed
Site history
Built1927 (as Alameda Airport)
In use1940 (1940) – 1997 (1997)
FateTransferred to City of Alameda for redevelopment (Alameda Point)
Airfield information
Identifiers IATA: NGZ, ICAO: KNGZ, WMO: 745060
Runways
Direction Length and surface
13/312,438 metres (7,999 ft)  Asphalt
07/252,195 metres (7,201 ft) Asphalt
Designated23 January 2013
Reference no. 12001191
Period1900–
Area of significance
  • Architecture
  • Community Planning and Development
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Military
Official name Site of the China Clipper flight departure
Designated5 November 1985
Reference no. 968

Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS Alameda) was a United States Navy Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, on San Francisco Bay. [1]

Contents

NAS Alameda had two runways: 13–31 measuring 8,000 ft × 200 ft (2,438 m × 61 m) and 07-25 measuring 7,200 ft × 200 ft (2,195 m × 61 m). Two helicopter pads and a control tower were also part of the facilities.

History

In 1927, wetlands at the west end of Alameda Island on the east shore of San Francisco Bay were filled to form an airport (Alameda Airport) with an east–west runway, three hangars, an administration building, and a yacht harbor. The airport site included the Alameda Terminal of the First Transcontinental Railroad (California Historical Landmark #440). By 1930, United States Army Air Corps operations referred to the site as Benton Field. Pan American World Airways used the yacht harbor as the California terminal for China Clipper trans-Pacific flights beginning in 1935. The China Clipper terminal is designated California Historical Landmark #968.

On 1 June 1936, the city of Alameda, California ceded the airport to the United States government a few months before the Army discontinued operations from the field. Pan American World Airways shifted its terminal to Treasure Island in 1939 for the Golden Gate International Exposition. Congressional appropriations passed in 1938 for construction of naval air station facilities for two carrier air wings, five seaplane squadrons and two utility squadrons. Appropriations were increased in 1940 for construction of two seaplane hangars and an aircraft carrier berthing pier. Naval operations began on 1 November 1940. [2] – 1997 Fleet Air Wing 8 began patrol and scouting missions following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In April 1942, USS Hornet loaded at Alameda the 16 B-25 aircraft that would take part in the Doolittle Raid on Japan. [2] From August through December 1944, US President Richard Nixon was assigned to Fleet Air Wing 8 at Naval Air Station Alameda, California. [3]

Air support training unit No. 2 at Alameda included the fleet radar operator's school, Link celestial navigation trainer school, and aviation storekeeper school. [4] As World War II continued, Alameda became headquarters for a system of auxiliary airfields: [2]

Alameda remained an important naval base through the Cold War. From 1949 to 1953, the Navy based the Lockheed R6V Constitution—the largest airplane ever listed on the Navy inventory—at NAS Alameda. The two prototypes regularly flew between nearby NAS Moffett Field and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Carriers Coral Sea, Hancock, Oriskany and Enterprise at Alameda, in 1974 US carriers at Alameda 1974 (colour).jpg
Carriers Coral Sea, Hancock, Oriskany and Enterprise at Alameda, in 1974

During the Vietnam War portion of the Cold War and its later post-Vietnam era, the base was homeport to the aircraft carriers Coral Sea, Hancock, Oriskany, Enterprise, Ranger, and Carl Vinson. NAS Alameda also housed a major aircraft overhaul facility employing thousand of civilian employees that was known as Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) Alameda and later renamed Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP) Alameda. [2]

The base was also the focus for northern California Naval Air Reserve operations after 1961, hosting various Reserve Force Squadrons attached to Carrier Air Wing Reserve 30 (CVWR-30), also known as CAG-30, equipped with aircraft such as the KA-3 Skywarrior...later replaced by the A-6 Intruder, and the A-4 Skyhawk...later replaced by A-7 Corsair II. Other Naval Air Reserve Force Squadrons external to CVWR-30 flew the Sikorsky H-34 Sea Horse...later replaced by the SH-3 Sea King, the CH-53 Sea Stallion, and MH-53E Sea Dragon. Another land-based squadron under Fleet Logistics Support Wing flew the C-9 Skytrain II. In the 1960s, a Naval Air Reserve unit also flew the P-2 Neptune before relocating to nearby NAS Moffett Field, transitioning to the P-3 Orion, and being established as Reserve patrol squadron in 1970. Runways were lengthened for jet aircraft, and the airfield was renamed Nimitz Field in 1967 following the death of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

The base was closed in 1997 pursuant to Base Realignment and Closure action. Its runways were also closed and the airfield was not reutilized as a civilian airport. [5]

Post-closure uses

The runways and remainder of the Alameda Naval Air Station can be seen at the end of Alameda Island in this aerial view of the port of Oakland, California. Oakland California aerial view.jpg
The runways and remainder of the Alameda Naval Air Station can be seen at the end of Alameda Island in this aerial view of the port of Oakland, California.
Aerial view with Port of Oakland and the bay Port of Oakland and Alameda Island aerial.jpg
Aerial view with Port of Oakland and the bay

After the base closed on 25 April 1997, USS Hornet was given to the former air station to be used as a museum ship, the USS Hornet Museum.

The television series MythBusters often conducted vehicle-based experiments on the grounds of the station (referred to on-air as the "Alameda Runway"), due to the extensive safety zone that could be set up around the test site. For the same reason, this location has been used as a checkpoint for the Bullrun rally race; the lengthy airstrip allowed for the staging of a challenge involving chasing a semi-trailer.

A two-mile freeway loop was constructed on the base for the filming of a lengthy car chase sequence for the movie The Matrix Reloaded . The loop cost over $1.5 million to construct and was used solely for shooting the film's chase scenes (a seven-week-long process) before it was demolished. [6] The route is still visible on some aerial photography on the former Runway 07/25 and Runway 13/31.

Since 2000, the city of Alameda has been planning the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station, now known as Alameda Point. Complicating the redevelopment are several constraints: land-use constraints consisting of Tidelands Trust; soil and groundwater contamination; wildlife refuge buffer requirements; geotechnical issues; 100-year flood plans; institutional and contractual constraints with Alameda Measure A, the Alameda Naval Air Station Historic District and existing residents and leases.

In August 2001, Alameda selected Alameda Point Community Partners (APCP) as the master developer for the property. APCP was a partnership of financier Morgan Stanley, Shea Homes of Livermore, Centex Homes of Dallas and the Industrial Realty Group. The development was estimated to cost $2 billion and take 15 years to complete. Alameda Point Community Partners was selected over Catellus and Harbor Bay/Lennar, and signed a two-year exclusive negotiating contract as the property's master developer.

By 2005, only Shea Homes and Centex Homes were working on redevelopment plans, and a Preliminary Development Concept called for building 1,700 homes on the site. In July 2006, the City of Alameda and the Navy agreed to a $108 million purchase deal. In September 2006, APCP decided that it would not move forward with the development plan identified in the Preliminary Development Concept and withdrew from the project.

In May 2007, the city selected SunCal Companies as the master developer from a field of five applicant firms that sought to develop 770 acres (310 ha). In July 2007, the city and SunCal entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement as SunCal began to gather community input and develop preliminary plans.

In August 2010, the Alameda City Council voted to terminate the exclusive negotiating agreement with SunCal and halt its proposal for the former Naval Air Station. Various reasons were cited in the staff report leading up to the vote, including the developer- and city-initiated ballot measure related to the project that was defeated in February 2010 by a margin of 85%.

Superfund cleanup site

NAS Alameda was listed as a Superfund cleanup site on 22 July 1999. 25 locations on the base were identified as needing remediation. The largest of the individual locations is the West Beach Landfill which occupies approximately 110 acres (44.5 ha) in the southwestern corner of the base. Tests of the landfill indicate polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination. [7]

See also

Notes

  1. "Alameda Naval Air Station (historical)". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "California State Military Museum". M.L.Shettle. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  3. "The Naval Careers of America's Six Sailor Presidents". US Navy. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. "U.S. Naval Activities World War II by State". Patrick Clancey. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  5. Alameda Air Station Alameda History
  6. Gordon, Devin (30 December 2002). "The Matrix Makers". Newsweek. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
  7. "NPL Site Narrative for Alameda Naval Air Station". National Priorities List. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2007.

Related Research Articles

Moffett Federal Airfield Joint civil-military airport in California

Moffett Federal Airfield, also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located in an unincorporated part of Santa Clara County, California, United States, between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale. On November 10, 2014, NASA announced that it would be leasing 1,000 acres (400 ha) of the airfield property to Google for 60 years.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) is a naval air station of the United States Navy located on two pieces of land near Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island, in Island County, Washington.

Naval Station Mayport

Naval Station Mayport is a major United States Navy base in Jacksonville, Florida. It contains a protected harbor that can accommodate aircraft carrier-size vessels, ship's intermediate maintenance activity (SIMA) and a military airfield with one asphalt paved runway (5/23) measuring 8,001 ft × 200 ft.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar USMC installation that is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, formerly Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Miramar and Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar, is a United States Marine Corps installation that is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is the aviation element of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. It is located in Miramar, San Diego, California, about 14 miles (23 km) north of Downtown San Diego.

Naval Air Station Lemoore

Naval Air Station Lemoore or NAS Lemoore is a United States Navy base, located in Kings County and Fresno County, California, United States. Lemoore Station, a census-designated place, is located inside the base's borders.

Watsonville Municipal Airport

Watsonville Municipal Airport is three miles (5 km) northwest of Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The airport covers 330 acres (134 ha) and has two runways. The largest aircraft to ever land at Watsonville were 05-5141 and 05-5143, C-17 Globemaster IIIs from March ARB, California.

Naval air station

A naval air station is a military air base, and consists of a permanent land-based operations locations for the military aviation division of the relevant branch of a navy. These bases are typically populated by squadrons, groups or wings, their various support commands, and other tenant commands.

Naval Air Station North Island

Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay and is the home port of several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. It is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the United States Navy—Naval Base Coronado (NBC) in San Diego County, California.

Naval Air Station Oceana

Naval Air Station Oceana or NAS Oceana is a United States Navy Naval Air Station located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The base is under the jurisdiction of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and is the headquarters of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic and Carrier Air Wings 1, 3, 7 and 8. As home to all east coast strike fighter jet squadrons, the Naval Air Station is classified as a master jet base. The airfield is known as Apollo Soucek Field, named after Lieutenant Apollo Soucek, a Navy Test Pilot who set the global altitude record in 1930 by flying a Curtiss "Hawk" biplane to an altitude of 43,166 feet.

Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field

Naval Station Norfolk Chambers Field (IATA: NGU, ICAO: KNGU, FAA LID: NGU), is commonly known simply as, Chambers Field, and is named after Captain Washington Irving Chambers. It is a military airport in Norfolk, Virginia that is a part of Naval Station Norfolk. It supports naval air forces in the United States Fleet Forces Command, those operating in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean. It's important to note that, "Chambers Field" only refers to the geographical area of the airport runway, taxiways, two heliports and six helipads.

VFA-115 Military unit

Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115) is known as the "Eagles", callsign "Talon", a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. Their tail code is NF. It was established as Torpedo Squadron VT-11 on 10 October 1942, redesignated VA-12A on 15 November 1946, VA-115 on 15 July 1948, then finally VFA-115.

The Tactical Support Wing (TSW) is a United States Navy reserve air wing whose primary mission is operational and training support for active forces. Based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, the wing is composed of five squadrons and five Squadron Augment Units (SAU) in seven states.

Naval Air Station Cecil Field

Naval Air Station Cecil Field or NAS Cecil Field was a United States Navy air base, located in Duval County, Florida. Prior to October 1999, NAS Cecil Field was the largest military base in terms of acreage in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach

Naval Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) Imperial Beach is a United States Navy facility for helicopters, situated on 1,204 acres (5 km2) approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of San Diego and within the city limits of Imperial Beach, California. It is known as "The Helicopter Capital of the World".

Naval Air Station Squantum

Naval Air Station Squantum was an active naval aviation facility during 1917 and from 1923 until 1953. The original civilian airfield that preceded it, the Harvard Aviation Field, dates back to 1910. The base was sited on Squantum Point in the city of Quincy, Massachusetts. It also abutted Dorchester Bay, Quincy Bay, and the Neponset River.

VFA-204 Military unit

Strike Fighter Squadron 204 (VFA-204), also known as the "River Rattlers", is a U.S. Navy Reserve strike fighter squadron flying the F/A-18C/D Hornet. The squadron is based out of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans and is part of the United States Navy Reserve's Tactical Support Wing. Their radio callsign is River and their tail code is AF.

VP-47 Military unit

Patrol Squadron 47 (VP-47), also known as "The Golden Swordsmen", is a maritime patrol squadron of the United States Navy based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington (USA), attached to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10. The squadron currently flies the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.

NASA Crows Landing Airport

NASA Crows Landing Airport is a private use airport owned by the NASA Ames Research Center, 1 nautical mile northwest of the central business district of Crows Landing, in Stanislaus County, California, United States. The airfield was formerly named Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Crows Landing or NALF Crows Landing when operated by the U.S. Navy. As of January 2011 Airport-data.com reports this airport status as closed permanently.

In the nation's quest to provide security along its lengthy coastlines, air reconnaissance was put forth by the futuristic Rear Admiral William A. Moffett. Through his efforts, two Naval Air Stations were commissioned in the early 1930s to port the Naval Airships (dirigibles) which he believed capable of meeting this challenge.

California during World War II Overview of the role of the U.S. state of California during World War II

California during World War II was a major contributor to the World War II effort. California's long Pacific Ocean coastline provided the support needed for the Pacific War. California also supported the war in Europe. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, most of California's manufacturing was shifted to the war effort. California became a major ship builder and aircraft manufacturer. Existing military installations were enlarged and many new ones were built. California trained many of the troops before their oversea deployment. Over 800,000 Californians served in the United States Armed Forces. California agriculture, ranches and farms were used to feed the troops around the world. California's long coastline also put the state in fear, as an attack on California seemed likely. California was used for the temporary and permanent internment camps for Japanese Americans. The population of California grew significantly, largely due to servicemen who were stationed at the new military bases/training facilities and mass influx of workers from around the U.S. in the growing defense industries. With all the new economy activity, California was lifted out of the great depression. Over 500,000 people moved to California from other states to work in the growing economy. California expanded its oil and mineral production to keep up with the war demand.

References