Naval Air Station Melbourne

Naval Air Station (NAS) Melbourne was a United States Naval Base in Melbourne, Florida. The Navy used NAS Melbourne for gunnery training for pilots of carrier-based fighter aircraft and as a base for WAVES during World War II.[1] While operational, over 2,200 U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Naval Aviators trained in Grumman F4F Wildcats and F6F Hellcats at NAS Melbourne.[2]

Naval Air Station Melbourne
CountryUnited States
AllegianceUnited States of America
BranchUnited States Navy
TypeNaval Air Station
RolePilot Training
SizeAirfield & 129 Buildings
NAS Melbourne Flight 143
NAS Melbourne Historical marker

History edit

The Navy constructed NAS Melbourne at the Melbourne Municipal Airport at the beginning of World War II and commissioned it on October 20, 1942 as Operational Training Unit No. 2.[2] The Navy closed the site on February 12, 1946[2] and returned it to the City of Melbourne as surplus property in 1947.[3] Currently, the City of Melbourne Airport Authority operates the site as the Melbourne Orlando International Airport.[3]

As an active military base, Naval Air Station Melbourne contained 129 buildings and served more than 310 officers and 1,355 enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.[2] During the station's operation, 63 personnel died in aerial accidents and two enlisted men died in ground-related accidents.[2]

The station published two newspapers, starting with the Melbourne Wildcat from 1943–44, which was replaced by the Melbourne Hellcat from 1944–46

As of 2019, the worst aircraft accident occurred in South Brevard County, on March 26, 1944. A B-24E bomber from Chatham Field, Savannah, Georgia, suffering from multiple engine failures, crashed near Eau Gallie while attempting an emergency nighttime landing at the Naval Air Station. Ten airmen were killed. The co-pilot, Lt. Basil R. Huntress, was the only survivor.[4][5][6]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, Florida State University. "Florida Military Bases" Archived 2007-12-18 at the Wayback Machine. Department of History, Florida State University website. Retrieved on October 21, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Melbourne Airport Authority Property Manager and the Florida Department of State. Naval Air Station Melbourne Florida Historical Marker located at the former site of NAS Melbourne.
  3. ^ a b Melbourne International Airport. “Melbourne International Airport History”. Melbourne International Airport website. Retrieved on October 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Neale, Rick (March 26, 2019). "Lost Liberator recalled". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1A, 6A. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  5. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Accident Consolidated B-24E Liberator 41-28525, 26 Mar 1944". Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  6. ^ "Pacific Wrecks - B-24E-25-DT Liberator Serial Number 41-28525". Retrieved 2022-07-29.

External links edit

28°06′04″N 80°37′56″W / 28.10111°N 80.63222°W / 28.10111; -80.63222