The history of NAS Alameda is a remarkable story. It was one of the largest, most complete Naval Air Stations in the world. It was commissioned on November 1, 1940 and commanded by Captain Frank McCrary. History brochure McCrary WWI. There were 200 military and civilian personnel.
The workers at the Naval Air Station represented 271 separate and distinct trades and could manufacture and repair every part of any aircraft. odern production methods insured that the overhaul of an attack aircraft completed every day and one and a half patrol aircraft every other day. History Brochure of NAS-A, the Piers, Building #77
Finding a home for Aviation
The base is once part of an Indian burial ground, and later part of a Spanish land grant of Don Luis Maria Peralta. In 1864, the terminus of the first transcontinental railroad ended at Pier 2 at the old Alameda Point. Old Alameda Point was in the confines of what became the Alameda Naval Air Station. An oil refinery built in 1879 and purchased by Standard Oil until 1903. The site of the Engine Overhaul Building was used as the Pacific Borax Works.
Post WWI History
The City of Alameda saw the possibility for a Naval Base on the west end of the island of Alameda. In 1936, Congress authorized Franklin Delano Roosevelt to accept the old Alameda Point for the purchase price of $1.00.
Complete just in time for World War II, the History of NAS Alameda shows the original site 300 acres of high ground. The total area was 2,527 acres or one-third of the island of Alameda.
Dredging operations began in 1938 and the air station grew almost overnight. In January 1941, the Assembly and Repair Department (A&R) received its first assignment. One Curtis Sea Gull (SOC) aircraft first one overhauled. On December 7, 1941 the A&R employed 1,935 personnel and repaired 14 aircraft a month. In 1958 O&R produced 1,305 jet engines and 881 reciprocating engines.
Carriers based at Naval Air Station Alameda included USS Ranger, USS Midway, USS Coral Sea and USS Hancock. All called Alameda home.
NAS Alameda had two 8,000 ft. runways, three seaplane ramps and a lighted seadrome. The air station had 300 buildings and 30 miles of roads.
The Navy is deeply involved in the history, traditions and culture of California.
An excerpt from “Alameda – The Island City”, written in 1941 as part of the United States Federal Government’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) Writer’s Program. This chapter, found between pages 114 and 120 of the original work, describes the genesis for what ultimately became the Alameda Naval Air Station.
An excerpt from “Welcome Aboard – NAS Alameda”, published in 1963 by the Armed Forces Directory Service. History of NAS Alameda.