Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida is the Birthplace of Naval Aviation. The air station was built in 1913 and is still in use today. It is home to the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team Blue Angels, the Naval Aviation Museum, the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI), and Training Air Wing SIX.
Training Air Wing SIX consists of three Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training squadrons: VT-4 Warbucks, VT-10 Wildcats and VT-86 Sabrehawks. The training aircraft stationed at Sherman Field (the name of the airfield on the base) consist of the T-6A Texan II and T-45C Goshawk jet.
The creation of the Blue Angels, whose members flew their first air show at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, in 1946, marked the first official Navy demonstration team. However, during the decades preceding the launching of the Blues, informal “stunt teams” were a hallmark of naval aviation, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s, the Golden Age of Aviation.
With a number of lieutenants fresh from the fleet assigned to NAS Pensacola as instructors, it is not surprising that some of them took to the air on other than training flights. One trio nicknamed themselves the “Three T’Gallants’ls” and flew F2B fighters used as advanced trainers at Pensacola in informal air shows around the region. – Naval Aviation Museum
NAS Pensacola was also home to Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) until 2007. All future Naval Aviators who did not attend the Naval Academy or a university with a Navy ROTC program earned their commissions as Naval Officers at AOCS until it merged with Officer Candidate School at NETC Newport, Rhode Island in 2007.
Did any of you go to AOCS in Pensacola? Tell us your story by commenting below. Are you sad it is now gone?
Featured image of Naval aircraft diving towards the ground over Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida by Naval Aviation Museum