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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.

Pre-WWII History

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.

Historical Documents

Alameda – The Island City

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. 

80 thoughts on “History of NAS Alameda

  1. I served at the air base a board the USS Samuel Gompers AD37. It’s been many years since I have been there. I loved the view and the flight back pizza place. I’m happy to hear that the history is being displayed for everyone to see and learn.

    1. Hi Tracy. When were you on the Gompers? I did two separate tours (84-86 and 90-93). Which department were you in? I was in the admin department.

    2. I also was aboard the gompers 92-95. It’s now an artificial reef off the coast of North Carolina. Went deep sea fishing and ended up over top of it and could see it on the sonar. Really cool and sad all at the same time.

  2. I served on the Alameda Naval Air Base with VF 150 Air Group which served aboard the USS Constellation Air Craft Carrier in 1960.
    Working as Air Craft Support we had great views of San Francisco from the main runways.

    1. I was a young man station there in 1972 for 1 yr. then it was ships crew USS Enterprise, V1 division. 2 tours Vietnam gulf for Tonkin, Yankee station. Airedale. Now I work as a fire inspector, and inspect many of the buildings out there

  3. Does anyone know if the Oriskany’s retrofit around 1959 thru 1964 (exact date i do not know), was performed at Alameda ? My dad Commander John Warren Ramsey (my dad) was the Exec Officer on Big O During the refit. If anyone knows let me know something. I am visiting the Hornet soon (my dad served his 2nd tour of Guadal Canal with VF-11 on CVA 12 Hornet). While i am there i would like to look up history of the Oriskany retrofit. Finishing up his fighter pilot duties of WWII and Korea he was in Naval Weapons as he was an engineer also. He oversaw the Oriskany’s upgrades that would be used in Vietnam.

    1. Yes in the 1970’s I was a NAS Alameda and the Oriskani was retrofitted there and it was then scrapped after that. I served at NAS Alameda at the base dispensary from 76 to 79 and the Oriskani left about 6 months after I arrived. RobinLee Schieding Phillips

    2. Dear Warren, I am an amateur naval aviation historian and very much enjoy meeting and interviewing WW2 and Korean era pilots – unfortunately now few in number. Nowadays the best sources are often logbooks and personal papers, and I wonder if you still have any of your Dad’s. I would be happy to defray the expense of duplication and any other costs involved. My collection of copies includes many famous and not-so-famous pilots of all types of USN/USMC aircraft. If you have had little success in finding out about the modernization of ORISKANY I can do some research in my library. As you likely know, it was the last and most extensive of the ESSEX-class done, and had an exceptional record before in Korea and afterwards in Vietnam.

      1. Dear Jason, I hope you don’t mind my contacting you. I ran across your name as I was beginning research regarding the father of a friend of mine. The only name I have for him is his last name, Heyl. I’m told he was a part of the development of Alameda Naval Air Station and that he died in an aviation accident off the east coast in the 1944-45 time frame. I know that’s not much to go on, but it’s a start. If you could lead me in any direction, it would be a great help. Thanks a million,
        Lou Richards

  4. I served at Alameda NAS in 53 & 54 & also NAAS Vernalis. Was sorry to see Alameda close. A great duty station.

    1. Ed – I am looking for a roster of photographers who worked NAS Alameda in 1953-54. Is there a group or historical organization you can refer?

        1. Susan! Rich Bilyew here from the Marine Barracks. Hope you are well there. I ended up doing 30 years in the Corps if you can believe that! Ha.

      1. Carol, my dad, Lorin Atkins, who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, was a photo journalist stationed out of Alameda, but he was discharged after six years of service in 1952. He loved serving, but wanted so badly to be stationed on a ship. Unfortunately, being color blind, they wouldn’t allow that — guess they didn’t want him pushing any of the wrong buttons! So there went his dreams of a Navy career. Instead he went home, married my mom, and had six kids! He never did go back to journalism! I found a bunch of his photos he took during his tour and enjoyed looking through them, but wondered who and what they were! I sure miss him and his stories, mostly of drinking with his buddies in the area down there. I can’t seem to find out anything, but sure hope you do! Good luck!

        1. If you would like we would want to scan any of those pictures (and can return them to you) if you think they are relevant to NAS Alameda and any descriptions would be great. Just stop on by the museum on any Saturday and leave them for Larry or Al!

  5. Hello Mr. Ranson,
    Did you know a Donald L Nunn in 1959 Alameda Navy by chance ? He ran a craft shop there, I’m searching for my biological father.
    My apologies if this causes any inconvenience but I’m trying everything I know and can. My email is lgc460@me.com.

    Thank you,
    Sincerely Lisa.

  6. I served a great tour of duty in Comflog wing pac, VR-2, first reenlistment and Flew as engineer on the Martin Mars. 1954-56

  7. Who were the last two (2) Commanders/Generals in position prior to closure of the Alameda Naval Air Station?

  8. I remember Alameda Naval air station 1958 or 57 when a pilot was killed in a crash who was married to the commanding officer”s daughter. As a chaplain in Treasure Island I had to conduct the funeral. Aaron Krauss

  9. I was stationed at the base from February 1970 to October 1972. I was on loan (TAD) from Squadron VR 30 to the Master of Arms Force at the gally. I would like to know what happened to my 1st class signalman in charge of us. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name. I would appreciate any help anyone provide.

  10. I worked @Alameda Naval Air Station from 1964 thru 1967. I was a Timekeeper & Accounting Clerk. I was a model & Pin-up for the Alameda NAS & also @Hawaii Naval Air Station. Does anyone remember the event when the Actor that played Elliott Ness was at the NAS?

    1. Hi Vicki.
      (5 years later…) ????
      The show you’re referring to was “The Untouchables” staring Robert Stack as Elliot Ness.
      It ran on ABC from October 1959 to May 1963. We lived outside of the US during part of its initial run, but I loved watching the show in reruns in the late 1960s. So…. Are you still modeling? ????

      I was stationed on the USS Ranger from June 1974-November 1975 when I was discharged from the Navy. I was a Data Processing Technician (DP2 —E-5). I met the Ranger in Subic Bay during its 1974 WestPac tour. I was initially stationed for 8 months in Supply Division (S-7) doing “DP” things. I later took a TAD duty assignment to the Ranger’s Ship’s Master-at-Arms department. I spent 9 months in the MAA.

  11. I served aboard the CORAL SEA 1981-84 as she called Alameda HOME for the last time in 1983 when she was reassigned to her new HomePort
    Of Norfolk, Va. at the end of a World cruise.

  12. I was stationed at NAS Alameda with VP=47 in 1960 as an Aviation Electronics Technician. It was some of the best years of my life. I would take the Bay Bridge to San Francisco and down to the beaches. I drove through the mountains around San Jose and all around the bay. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I still have a pewter trolley from Nob Hill and many wonderful memories. I left Alameda and went to Japan and finally to Seattle. I now live in South Carolina.

  13. Nas Alamedawas still a hoping place in the 80’s. I worked as a radar weapons tech AQ at aimed. It was a great place to serve. A6 and A7intruder were maintained and repaired for the Big E and the Carl Vinson.

  14. I was Avionics Chief in a Marine Air attack squadron, VMA-133, stationed at NAS Alameda. It was a Marine Reserve squadron, where we worked on A4’s, and our pilots flew them, one weekend a month. Each summer we took the planes and squadron to another base for two weeks of training. I served from 1961 – 1968.

  15. I served with HM-15 as the first fling chief Petty Officer as the Operatoons Chief from 1988 to 1992. Great squadron and a great Naval Station.

  16. I was a young boy who set pins for 10 cents per game in the around 1945-47
    I’m writing stories about my boyhood for my grandchildren.
    I’m now 85. My family resides on a Burbank St.
    If you can will you direct me to some photos of that facility?
    Thank you,

    1. Harvey – Here is a link to some high res images of NAS Alameda (copy and paste https://tinyurl.com/Pics-of-NAS-Alameda or do a google search on “pictures of NAS Alameda, Ca.”
      I retired as a SCPO stationed at the NARDAC (located in two buildings – Building 5 and Building 62) on NAS Alameda. I had my retirement ceremony on the green just outside the main entrance to the Admin Building ( which is now the City of Alameda Town Hall).
      I lived in Alameda for 26 years – What a great little city. I moved in 2006 and understand the city as well as the base have gone through some exciting changes.

  17. 1961-1965 I was Bendix /NAESU CETS /rep at COMFAIR NAS Alameda O&R. 1966 USAF C-141 and F-4J. 1967-1969 VAW-13 NAS Alameda Hgr 39, and WestPac. 1971 joined NARF Ala as career employee Metrology, P3, A3 and S3 Engrg. 35 yrs and base closure 1996 relocated. I retired with 50 years field and depot engrg support, Navy, Marines, USAF and commercial air lines on test equipment, flight controls & flight information systems.

  18. Hi all — I’m interested in any information regarding the Senior Officer’s Quarters if anyone has lived there in the past or currently lives there? I’m an Architecture student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and am writing my senior thesis research project on Alameda NAS, specifically the old senior officer’s neighborhood. Also if anyone has any information about living on the base in the barracks too. Would love to hear any anecdotes, memories, or other information regarding the area. What was it like living on the NAS? Photographs of the neighborhood when you lived there would be so appreciated too thanks!

    Also does anyone know why W Redline Ave was named that? Thanks so much.

  19. I went to book camp at NAS Alameda in the summer of 1965 along with 105 other individuals in the NARTU 85 Day Accelerated Training Program. Following that I was assigned to VA-876 from late 1965 to Jan 1969

  20. The architecture of the main quad and barracks, chapel, dispensary, galley and Admin buildings as well as the main gate were cool… You might look into the Bases Design and and how the buildings came about and the time frame. I had a boot camp there and served in the reserve squadron VA 871 and 873 there in 67 and on into the 70’s after I came back from active duty.

  21. Someone once said to me that they thought that Frank Lloyd Wright was involved in their design. with all the unique cures.

  22. My dad worked O&R at the station -flew over from HI on the first planes out to transfer from Barbers Point and re settle us on the mainland. I believe he came over in 45 but not positive on the year and he worked there until into the 70’s and retires as Supervisor O&R. We went to many “Open Houses” and toured many ships and one time a submarine that I think was the first one ever at the base. Years later as an information operator I would get calls when the fleet was in to direct guys to a place to eat, haircuts, clothes, etc. as they didn’t know the town! When Nam was going strong the army cargo planes would fly over our houses, shook and broke windows cause they couldn’t disrupt the commercial airlines that flew over the bay. I was saddened to hear the base would close and others would never get to tour those ships and see the technology our men and women in uniform used and how they lived when at sea. The public needs to know that.

  23. Hello, my dad was a reserve pilot in the 50s and 60s. I have a lot of memorabilia but would love to get some help with his unit information. I see VS-875 and VF-874 on his paperwork, but can’t find anything about those units online being connected with NAS Alameda. He was NARTU. During Korea, he was VF-874 aboard USS Bon Homme Richard, then back to Alameda/Oakland. There are quite a few photos that show him with anti-sub planes, but also trainer jets. How can I find out more – maybe even names of other guys in his units, or group photos of the squad together?

  24. hello to all, i was a jet engine mechanic at narf alameda from 1968-1972 had a break in service, came back in 1975-1995, transferred to kelly afb san antonio texas, because of BRAC retired from civil service in 1999. but my best memories were at alameda, wonderful job, really miss working there. i remember in 1972, i believe, there were 5 carriers berthed there at the same tim, i thinmk they were, uss ranger, uss oriskany, uss coral sea, uss bon homme richard, and the uss enterprise, what a wonderful sight that was!

  25. 81 to 83 on USS Roanoke AOR 7. Stoplight for taxi jets! Bank, store. Drove by last year, all delapadated. Does anyone have details of murder on pier around 82?

  26. I was stationed at NAS Alameda from Feb ’68 to June ’70 as an Aviation Electronics Technician in the Avionics Division of the Aircraft Maintenance Department located in the last hanger on Hanger Row (the east end near the docks). I spent my free time weekends on the streets of San Francisco day and night until I met a local socialite on Alameda Beach at the NW end of it Dr 5/68 (who lived on a sailboat estuary cul-de-sac just over the sand dunes from the beach across Otis Dr). That day turned into a date that night that lasted for almost 35 years. NAS Alameda was my favorite duty station during my Navy enlistment. I was also back in the SFBA when I was discharged from the Navy at Treasure Island. We drove down the coast to the Monterey Peninsula the next day to rent a place to live and moved there two days later. It’s been 40 years since I was in Carmel-by-the Sea (I still miss living there). Been a Mojave Desert dweller the last 30 years.

  27. My first duty station on Active Duty was the Organizational Maintenance Department Hanger for 70/71. I was an AT in the AT/AE shop. Hats off to Senior Chief Storm for making us better sailors. It was a great place to be stationed. We worked on the station aircraft but also a large variety of transient aircraft. We had one of the last Enlisted Pilots attached to our command. Wish I could remember his name.

  28. I was stationed at NAS Alameda from 1986 to 1991. I was on the USS Carl Vinson for 4 years and at the Weapons Department at Alameda for 2 years. Best times of my life started their. Met my wife there and have been married for 35 years. We even got married at the Alameda base chapel. I sure would like to see the base again before it’s all gone. Lots of great memories…

  29. I was stationed aboard the USS California CGN-36 Home Port NAS Alameda, California from 1984 to March 1987 as a Operations Specialist Second Class. Any shipmate that was aboard the ship during that time frame contact me via email.

  30. Alameda was my active duty station in 1967-68 as a USNR-TAR /Aviation Tech Training. My CEO was Captain JR Hestilow, my Departmental CO was CDR JR Mills, & Departmental Chief was Richard Strickland. It was one of the most influential times of my life. I’ll never forget it.

  31. Loved that duty station, USS coral sea CV43. Hated I missed the decommissioning event. That port had the Ranger and Enterprise all in at same time, what a site that was 1975. If any of my mates remember me contact me, still in Kansas City.

  32. I served as base security, chow hall security, and assistant to OOD at the Quarter Deck from 1991-1994 beautiful place meet a lot of people here both military and civilian enjoyed every minute except the damn earth quakes,

  33. Was stationed there from ’71 to ’74. Aircraft mechanic in HS85. Fished all around the base at lunchtime. The early 70’s in the bay area, what’s not to like. Traveled up and down the coast with the squadron, from Whidbey Island to Imperial Beach. The time of my life.

  34. I was wondering what the name of the the 3rd carrier that was inport Alameda Naval Shipyard on 3/1/90 the far left is Enterprise the middle one the Vinson but can’t see the hull number on the bow of the 3rd one

  35. Oriskany was NOT scrapped. She was sunk as an artificial reef off Pensacola.
    I in her WestPac 66-67 V-1 Div.

    1. Hello All. I am searching for anyone that was stationed @ Alameda Naval Base between 1969 – 1972 that is suffering from health
      issues related to their service. I am assisting a Veteran Service Officer for the widow of a veteran that was assigned as an aviation
      mechanic during those years. He developed MS at a very early age & passed away in 2005. Any input would be much appreciated.
      Thank you one and all for your service!
      Semper Fi! D. Paul, widow of USMC CPL Robert D. Paul, Jr.
      Contact me @ bpaul72@yahoo.com

  36. I served on the USS Hancock (CV-19) from June 1973 until it was de-commissioned in early 1976. In 1974 there was an aerial photograph published in the Navy Times Newspaper; showing four Aircraft Carriers docked at the same time at NAS Alameda. Definitely were interesting times…..

  37. I was assigned to crash and salvage. Great time. I got my first credit account at,I believe Al’s or Alberts Mens shop on Webster Ave. We used to watch the Bay imbeds roller blade team practice and got free admission to Raiders and A’s games. I Remember. Bowing down at
    Sambo’s (n ow Dennys I guess) Dave Quinn (on FB)

  38. I forgot to add this comment before. Has anyone noticed that quite a lot of footage from Mythbusyets appears to be filmed on the former air station.

    1. The Base was closed in 1997 due to BRAC. It has sat mostly vacant since then with fits and starts by the city of Alameda trying to redevelop but has failed spectacularly. For comparison look at Mather AFB and McClellan AFB that closed at the same time and did great!

  39. My mother and I lived at Alameda Naval Air Station while my father was stationed in Hawaii. She worked for the Navy, doing clerical or secretarial work. We lived in the Chipman Apartments, and I went to nursery school at the Chipman Nursery School. We had a nurse, a cook, and at least one teacher. I celebrated my 4th birthday there, with my nursery school friends, and was treated for an ear infection (the after effect of measles) in Sick Bay at the Air Station. My memories are those of a child, of course, but I do remember V-J Day, with searchlights, sirens, horns blowing, and all the children running around in the apartment yard- excited because their daddies would be coming home. My mother spoke of several of her coworkers who were upset because the war was over (they didn’t want to lose their jobs.) I remember visiting a new aircraft carrier, open to visitors for the occasion, but I don’t remember its name.

  40. I was with VSF 1 A 4 SQUADRON STATIONED AT NAS Alameda.
    1967 to 1969. Deployed three times. First On the BENNINGTON CVS 20
    FOR Carrier qualifications. Second time aboard the Independence CVA 62
    out of Norfolk did a Med cruise. Third time North Atlantic and then to England
    again on The INDEPENDENCE. Plus twice TAD to NAS Lemore and Twice to Fallon
    Nevada. Got so I didn’t dare unpack my Sea Bag

  41. I have a book that I inherited from my parents entitled: U.S. Naval Air Station Alameda, California There is no publication date that I could find but one of the first pages is a picture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My parents we married at the air station in June 1947. My mother kept it in her Navy service trunk (she was in the Navy Nurse Corp during WWII) with her pictures, letters and other items of remembrance. My father served 30 years in the Navy. My parents are dead and I have no need of this book but thought that the Air Museum might like to have it. I will be sending it to the Air Museum this week.

  42. Looking for a Accident Report of a F-84 at NAS Alameda between 1949 – 1952. The crash was in the bay portion of the NAS. Pilot killed.

  43. Linda Parzino
    I loved on the base in 1969 until 1974. My father was in VR 30 and on the Uss Coral Sea. I loved living there . Great memories. And my mother worked at the Navy Exchange.

  44. I was a reservist begging May 16, 1964 to June of 1969 attached to VA 876. I attended boot camp I the summer of 1965. We did training missions during summer at Fallon Naval Air Station. I was called into active duty in June of 1969 after graduating San Jose State College. I was shipped to Barbers Point Naval Air Station for two years. At Alameda NAS I met many young men training for future transfers and veterans who had already served. Had I gone on active duty after completing my two year reserve training I may have been assigned to the Enterprise. Any remember those days who are still around send me an email.

  45. I was stationed at NAS Alameda March 1974 to September 1977 at the Dental Clinic. Loved my time there, with so much to do in the bay area. With the beaches, the whole bay area, to sporting events. Along with being relatively close to the great outdoors.
    Would like to contact anyone stationed at NAS Alameda during 1974-1977

  46. I was an Aircraft escort to Vietnam in 69-70 on board the USS Card an other ships. Does anybody remember the ships or the mission they wear on? It was a small unit that was Confair Alameda Det. A Thank you for your support. We are all brothers in arms.

  47. My Grandpa and my Uncle both proudly served , both stationed at NAS, I lived there in the housing on bainbridge ave, in the mid-late 80s, my Grandfather and Uncle made the cover of a local newspaper there, late 80s, Uncle was promoted to Chief, was pinned by his Dad, I’m not sure what my uncle was doing on a daily basis, but my Grandfather was Chief Thomas Michael Chiles, Air traffic controller there at NAS, also on the USS Carl Vinson, also the USS Enterprise. They’ve both passed away, not much of my family left, I would love so much to find a copy of that newspaper, of father/Son pinning event!!

  48. I was stationed on NAS Alameda from 1980-1985 , with VR55 in the hanger next to the air terminal. My wife actually was the manager of the ceramic shop on the base.

  49. Served with vr-30 1968, 69. Aircrew on c-131 convair. Hauled all kinds of stuff up and down the coast. Was pilots logs yeoman. Played flag football in the large parade field. At 19 years old, the best duty. I do remember meeting AL Robinson Olympic boxer. Very quiet guy, did get to talk with him before he was gone. Did not know about all the controversy at the time . Sadly I learned he died from head injuries while training. The Enterprise use to come into SF bay at low tide. Heidi game,fillmore west and Santa Cruz.

  50. My father flew F4U5N Corsairs at Alameda just after returning from Korea flying AD Skyraiders. This from December
    1952 to July 1953 and the squadron was VC-3. He was back there in the early 60’s in the reserves. I remember my mom and us kids dropping him off for duty at what is now the museum. It must have been 1963. I would have been 7. It just awed me to see him in his uniform getting saluted at the desk and saluting back.

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