NAS Jacksonville, FL HistoryWhat is today NAS Jacksonville was briefly the site of a piloting school at Black Point, in 1916. This was too optimistic for the day, and was converted to a Florida National Guard camp in later 1916, for a while the site of the second largest rifle range in the world. With the arrival of World War One the camp converted to a US Army Quartermaster training center. At the end of that war, the camp was returned to National Guard control, which held the site until 1940, when the War Department formally transferred the property to the Navy Department, for use as a naval air training station.
The property had been acquired by the Navy as part of a general expansion of the military before the US entry into World War Two. In June 1940 a Marine detail arrived on site to build barracks. By the end of the war, three 6,000 foot runways, additional seaplane ramps and docks, and 700 buildings, from housing to hangars to overhaul & repair facilities, an 80-acre hospital, a POW compound, chapel, warehousing, and docks. Many of these World War Two era buildings are still in use. Some 10,000 aviators and 11,000 aircrewmen trained at NAS Jacksonville. The hospital treated a great many Navy men on return to the US, including, briefly, Lt. John F. Kennedy.
The end of the war reduced Jacksonville's activity level and growth rate, but the demands of the Jet Age required additional training and adaptation, and NAS Jacksonville was one of the primary aviation training centers for the Navy. Over the next few decades the post became a familiar one to many Navy and Marine aviation and medical personnel.
Since that time NAS Jacksonville has had a complex history; a very complete treatment is available on the CNIC military website.