NAS Whiting Field, FL Image 1
    NAS Whiting Field, FL Image 2

    NAS Whiting Field, FL History

    NAS Whiting Field was opened in 1943, with a mission of training Naval aviators. The station opened only six days after the invasion of Sicily, a time of great national effort against the Axis powers.

    Named for Naval Aviator #16, Captain Kenneth Whiting, pioneer in both submarines and naval aviation. Capt. Whiting commanded four submarines over his career, and developed new escape methods (torpedo tube exiting), and talked Naval Aviator #1 (Cmdr. Theodore Ellyson) into applying for flight training - Whiting had to wait four years before being accepted. Once trained, Whitefield became officer-in-charge at NAS Pensacola, and developed seaplane designs. When the US entered World War One, he was stationed in France, where he selected Dunkirk as a station for bombing missions, and extracted some of the earliest practical lessons in Naval aviation theater operations. Between the wars, Cmdr. Whiting advocated the creation of aircraft carriers, and suggested the inclusion of launchers and a flight deck, today long established carrier features. The commander was instrumental in establishing air-based artillery spotting, commanded the first US aircraft carriers, and invented the landing signal officer concept. Captain Whiting continued to be a driving mind of US Naval aviation until his death. He has the unusual distinction of a Naval Air Station named for him, rather than the station's location.

    In 1945, after the surrender of Germany, a German POW camp was established at NAS Whiting Field, pending return to their homeland. The prisoners built their own camp, from recycled building materials, and were under relatively light guard. By the end of summer, training was suspended, with the end of the war in the Pacific, as trainees elected to remain or separate from military service.

    After the war Whiting Field became the first Navy jet training center, and the brief home of the Blue Angels demonstration squadron. This training continued, suitably upgraded through to the present. In the early 1970s helicopter training was assigned to NAS Whiting Field South; today all helicopter aviators are trained here. The 1980s saw the addition of a new simulation training building, housing several simulation trainers for additional practice and coaching.