We are continully working to preserve the history of NAS Alameda and her aviation predecessors at Alameda Point, and you can help by sharing your memories of life at NAS Alameda during your time of service. Any old photos, news-clippings, or documentation related to NAS Alameda is vital to our mission. We can digitally scan these items and return to you if necessary. Many former base personnel have spent time jotting down their recollections and forwarding in an e-mail. We’re not looking for award winning essays from polished authors. Just the things you remember from your days stationed at Alameda. Even a few paragraphs are valuable to us. Others, who have the capability to scan their photos, send us the digital images of themselves or the base during that same period.
Please contact Larry Pirack (curator) if you are able to provide us with any original photographs, images or artifacts.
My father Frederick Rosenstock Alcantar last duty station before being discharged from the U.S. Navy was Alameda NAS (around 1946). He fell in love with Alameda and decided to make it his home. He continued to work on the base as a DOD civilian aircraft mechanic until he retirement in 1986. I have many fond memories of Alameda NAS, as a child visiting daddy at work and later as an adult and active service member who had the privilege of utilizing the base facilities.
I was part of HM-15 when we home ported to Alameda, CA in 1987. I was an AMS3 stationed with HM-15 till Nov of 1989, and retired from HM-15 as a AM1 out of Corpus Christi, TX
Bernard Hershey 1942 – 1946
From 1942 to 1946 I was attached to the AOG (aircraft on ground) unit at NAS Alameda. I helped set up a stock control system whereby we could search the supply system in the USA and expedite parts urgently required in the forward area to repair grounded aircraft in the Pacific area. Commodore Durham was CO of the entire unit. My CO was Lt. Richard Frank who is deceased. To move parts quickly we used the MARS flying boats to send supplies to Pearl Harbor.
— Bernard Hershey SKV2c, USNR. 857-12-44
Harold E. Ohanian — 1943 to 1944
In June of 1943 I was assigned to a newly formed CASU #8 unit in Hawaii, and we were transported to the Solomon Island area via the sea plane tender the USS Pocomoke. Departing the Pocomoke, in Numea we transfered to an LSI and transported to Guadalcanal. Over a period of the next 13 months we maintained carrier land based aircraft, and others from the Russell Islands, Munda New Georgia, Green Island and the Treasures. Our operational aircraft consisted primarily of F4F, SBD, TBF, F6F, Australian P40s, F4U Corsairs, P38s-rigged as night fighters, P39 Bell AirCobras,and occasional B25s rigged with 75mm breach loaded cannons and few F8 aircraft. We returned to the States in late July of 1944. Our last major support was for aircraft striking the major Japanese base at Truk.
— Aviation Radar Technician 1st Class; Harold E. Ohanian
William T. Bandy — 1970
I was stationed there in around 1970, with VWA 133, I was on the flight line working on A4’s at the time. There was a fleet week show in the bay area when I think #3 of the Blue Angels crashed in the bay. I helped get out the pilot from the water and bring him to sick bay, but all he wanted to do was go back up, so with uniform still wet he climbed back up another A4 and joined his bud’s in the sky. I’m 60 now and that time was the best time of my life. I was a MARINE, so keep the beer cold & the lady’s hot.
— William T. Bandy, USMC R
Renee Nichols — 1991 to 1993
Of one of the most humorous and potentially embarrassing stories that happened while I was there involved my Lieutenant and his ID card. He’d ridden into PT on his bicycle (which he’d done often) and tucked his ID card into the sleeve of his sweater while doing PT. I was the last one out of the gym and so I picked up the sweater, knowing it belonged to someone in our unit, but not knowing who. (nor did I know the ID card was in the sleeve.) I brought the sweater back to my barracks, took a shower and brought it to muster that morning. The Chiefs told me the sweater belonged to the Lieutenant, so I gave it back to him. The ID card was missing, so I retraced my steps to go find it. When I got back to the barracks, low and behold there it was laying in the middle of the hallway floor. We all got a good chuckle out of what might have happened if the BEQ staff (or some other officer) had found this Lieutenant’s ID card in the hallway of the enlisted women’s barracks!!! “Really Captain, it was quite innocent circumstances sir!”
— E03 Renee Nichols
I remember serving as an escort for single ladies in attendance at a gala event celebrating an anniversary of the Air Station in which Admiral Chester Nimitz was in attendance. If I recall correctly I was in the NAVY League at the time. I can’t remember what anniversary it was. All I remember was WOW FLEET ADMIRAL NIMITZ and I got to salute him!
— Midshipman Stephen Lunge, United States Navy League – Sea Cadet Corp
Charles H. (Chuck) Holder — 1965 to 1981
I first came to NAS Alameda in June 1965 as a third class Aviation Storekeeper attached to Bldg 8 1st floor. My first leading chief was Tony Palombo and my first boss was Glenn Saylor. Many of the young sailors would go up to the third floor of Bldg 8 (Stock Control area) to gander at a lovely young lady who wore short mini-skirts (Carol Trotter). In 1968, I transferred to USS Midway, homeport at the Naval Air Station, were I spent several tours in Viet Nam. I transferred to Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard for a two year tour and then was transferred to the Naval Weather Service Facility Alameda , right their in Bldg 77 (2nd and 3rd floors) as a first class Aviation Storekeeper. In 1976 I transferred to the USS Coral Sea which was also home ported at Alameda. In 1979 I returned to the Naval Air Station as the Aviation Support Division (ASD) Chief and Leading Chief of the Supply Department right their in Bldg 77 2nd and 3rd floors.
I retired from the Navy in June of 1981 and went to work as a private contractor in the Public Works Bldg across the street from Bldg 8, were I worked for 2 years before leaving the Naval Air Station and the Bay area to work for Hughes Helicopter Company in Culver City Ca manufacturing the U.S. Army’s Apache Helicopter. I still work today for the Boeing Company in Mesa Arizona building the Apache Longbow Helicopter. In my adult life in the navy, my most fondest and cherished memories were right their in Bldg 77 Air Terminal and the Naval Air Station Alameda Supply Department. If I ever get back to the Bay area, I will make sure that I visit the museum and all the wonderful work you have accomplished.
— Charles H. (Chuck) Holder AKC, USN (Ret)
After graduating from AEA school at Jacksonville NAS in November 1967, I was sent to NARF (Naval Air Rework Facility) Alameda as my first duty station. I arrived on December 26, 1967 and was there until approximately Mar/Apr 1969 when I was transferred to NAS Lemoore, California. I enjoyed my stay while I was there.
While there, I and a number of my friends received a wavier for the 3rd class test. We all passed. I made third class aviation electrician (AE3) in the spring of 1968. Because of the Vietnam War, I received another wavier in the fall of 1968. I made AE2 in December 1968. Obviously, I was very happy about that.
Our duty, while stationed at NARF Alameda, was to test fly the aircraft that came out of the rework facility. The time that I was stationed there, our pilots test flew the A4 Skyhawk, A3 Skywarrior and the P3 Orion. My specific duty was to run tests on the A3 and the A4. This included connecting the Huffer to the planes, powering up the planes and running tests while sitting in the cockpit. We also had to LOX (liquid oxygen) the A4’s before they flew. Since the P3s flew around the Bay area, we were allowed fly in the P3s as lookouts in the back of the plane. We made an extra $44 for 8 hours of flying time. Nice extra pay at that time!
I boarded a couple of Navy ships docked at Alameda. The USS Missouri and the USS Enterprise. They were quite impressive!
Some sad news while stationed at NARF Alameda. In the fall of the 1968, a T39 trainer with two pilots aboard took off from Alameda early in the morning. It was quite foggy that morning and unfortunately the two pilots didn’t have enough altitude to clear the Oakland Bay Bridge. The two pilots did not survive. Parts of the plane were recovered from the bay waters and were sent to one of the hangers on base. I remember viewing the plane parts that were on display in the hanger.
Overall, it was my best duty station. I live in the Mid-West now, Chesterfield, MO, but hope that some day I can visit the old Naval Air Station!
— Rich Anthony AE2
19 thoughts on “Service Stories”
My father was a flight engineer on a PB2Y Coronado during WWII. He was in VR2, Naval Air Transport Service, island hopping all over the South Pacific, his home base being Alemeda. I was surprised that you don’t have one of their logos on this site. (I can send a photo of him in the anchor bay of his plane, with the logo clearly visible) He told us many stories, and we have photos, his flight log and many artifacts that we would love to share with you. My son moved to the Bay Area in 2013, and I have wanted to visit the museum, but it hasn’t been open when I’ve been there. This summer I’ll be attending a conference nearby in July, and I hope I can visit the museum then. My dad died in 2008, but my brother, a retired American History teacher, could give you a lot of information. Where should I send scans of photos? Who is the best person to contact? When I tried clicking on the link to the curator, it said the page was no longer available.
PS I don’t think this is a “post,” but I wanted to contact someone. Please tell me the best way to do that!
My father, LCDR David R. Moriarty, flew S2F Trackers and SP2 (P2V’s) as a reservist in the 60’s and 70’s out of NAS Alameda. As a child I was very excited on those occasions when my dad would take me to the base. When I was in the 8th grade I went on a tour of the USS Midway and knew at that moment that I would one day join the Navy. In September of 1975, I had the privilege of being sworn into the Navy by my father at the Alameda Officers Club with the commanding officer of the base in attendance. 7 years later, the submarine to which I was attached, the USS Barb (SSN 596), berthed at Alameda overnight after completing sea trials after overhaul ar Mare Island. My father also flew AD Skyraiders on two deployments aboard the USS Oriskany and USS Ticonderoga. For both my father and me, it was a very sad day when we learned the air station would close.
We have a family story that seems like it will never be answered. My great grandmother Mary Nunes (married name Perry) was working at the Alameda Naval Airbase helping with whatever she could during WW2. Her boyfriend (John Perry) was off at Pearl Harbor and was MIA. They were told he had died. Mary Nunes then had a fling with her supervisor (Rumor is it may have been Robert Stack who was working there at that time). Mary was at home and pregnant, when John Perry came back, they thought they saw a ghost because John Perry was suppose to be dead. He said he would raise her and told the biological father to leave and never come back. Mary Nunes told her second daughter Marlene on her death bed the story and his name. Then when John Perry died Marlene came out and told Jeanette that she doesn’t get anything from the inheritance because its not her father. My poor grandma had to learn the truth as a old lady. Marlene claims to not remember Jeanette’s biological fathers name. Jeanette has now been gone 9 years. Sadly she never got to meet her real father or even learn his name…. I wonder if the museum has any records of employment that can help us get answers?
My uncle Kenneth Janson was stationed there from 1944-1946. He has a picture album of the seaplane beaching crews he was assigned to as well as many other pictures of the NAS.
Mike, if you have any of those pictures you would like to donate or allow us to scan in and return we would love to! Please let us know.
My late husband Eugene Lee Neese, Jr. and several of his friends were on the Board of Directors at the Alameda Naval Air Museum in 1996. The others were Barbara Baack, Marilyn York, Doug DeHaan, and Audrey Sherak. They worked very hard to fill the museum with memorabilia and to eventually open. It was with great determination, pride, and energy that they achieved their goal.
With the 75th anniversary of our involvement in World War II it sure stirs up the memories. My dad Carmelo “Nick” Nicastro was stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station as a mechanic working on F6F Hellcats thru 1945 and told us stories about the things he saw happen during the war. We still have his Navy hat, ID’s etc. He was originally from Brooklyn NY and met my mother when he first trained at Navy Pier Chicago IL, I sure wished I had talked to him a lot more about his service. Unfortunately he died very young at 61 yrs. in 1983. We will miss all our Veterans
I was married to B. F. “Tommy” Thompson (AKA Big T), who was stationed aboard the USS Kiska, AE-35. We lived on base from 1986 until the big earthquake in SF (Oct. 17th 1989). Would be nice to see all of the ships listed on here, too.
Would love to connect with Jay and Glenda Dauost!
William T Bandy, I remember that. I was on duty to. I was watching the blue angles fly when the one plane broke away and started to spin and I thought cool trick. No not a trick he’s crashing. Boom in the bay!
My brother, Wayne Cummings, was stationed at Alameda after he returned from six months duty in the South Pacific as a turret gunner on a Grumman TBF Avenger where he earned a silver star for his actions. His time at Alameda was from March, 1944 to May 23, 1944 when their plane, on a training mission over San Francisco Bay, in a practice dive, broke apart, all three crew members perished.
I would like to know any history of this story, any information at all would be welcome, I earnestly would like to know more about my brother.
AFCM Micheal Phelps– 1974 to 1978 and then from 1980 through 1995 and I retired and they closed the base. Was in VAQ-308, then NARF, then VAK-308 to VA-304 and to HM-19 and retired out of HM-15 when they closed the base in 1995.
do you have any history on aircraft crashes in S.F. Bay going back to WWII?? My Uncle was killed in a crash back in 1944 or 1945. James (Junior) Welch was his name.
1976-1978 A-4s Forever!!
MARTD NAS Alameda was my first duty station after A School at NAS Memphis. Upon checking in, after cruising the streets of San Francisco in awe, I was directed to the horse-shoe shaped complex to be assigned a room.
While entering the Marine barracks, specifically for the “wingers,” I smelled dope floating out from under two separate rooms during working hours.
That was my wake up to the Corps of that day. Boot camp training was quickly forgotten and Bay Area Shock and Awe was the plan of the day….At least for my next couple of years.
Great memories. GySgt Scott Stephens, Retired
My great-grandfather, Raymond Rutter, enjoyed his time there as well. I recently discovered some “artifacts” of his from his time served.
I was quartermaster Po3 on Uss Hancock stationed two years
There at NAS Alameda 70-71 and spent goodly amount of time at the Nco club
Many good times and memories…met Beautiful Lynn Gebhardt from Oakland And Susan Boughton from San Lorenzo and of course lost track of them both who came out to ship to meet me. Could have fallen in love with either or both. Those were awesome times and days unforgettable. Funny thing is those days make me feel younger instead of older. Thank you Alameda, San Francisco and the Navy and all my old buddies !!
I was stationed at Alameda from may 1969 to may 1970. Assigned to comfair alameda det A. It was a very small outfit consisting of about 12 to 14 people. We escorted aircraft on either MSTS WW2 jeep carriers or civilian ships delivering them primarily to Viet Nam but also various other locations across the Pacific. I personally served on board the USNS Card, Breton, and Kula Gulf as well as the SS Alma Victory. It was rough duty. We had our own state room complete with orderly, ordered our meals off a menu and were served them by a steward. Not bad for an E-5. I am currently working on a VA claim and it is difficult to verify all my information as we were always on TDY when we went to sea and some information is not on my dd214. One of the more enjoyable activities during my stay there was going to the flea market at the drive in in Oakland. 35 cents a group admission to the best show in town,
Hi Jerry, I think I remember you. I’m trying to make a claim to the VA for agent Orange but the record shows I was not there. I need someone to verify that we were all there. Can we talk and get the record right? Let me know. My email is email@example.com Lets talk.
I’m looking for confirmation of service in a unit that serviced in Vietnam. I think I remember you and I would love to talk to you about the good old Navy days. Can we talk?
I’m looking for the name of a mystery aircraft carrier. During 1976 I bicycled across the USA (VA to CA) to celebrate our nations bicentennial. When approaching the Golden Gate Bridge an aircraft carrier sailed under the bridge and entered the bay. As you can imagine, I was an awestruck 19-year-old who couldn’t believe the timing of the event. My trip would end soon and that put the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, I had a cheap camera and the picture is fuzzy. The ship number is illegible. I hoping to locate the name of that carrier. It was the beginning of Labour Day weekend (Friday, September 3, 1976). I assume the ship was arriving for some R&R and so was I. I am now in my sixties and hoping to fill in some details in my trip journal. It would be nice to add the name and number to the fuzzy looking carrier in my picture. Any suggestions on where to locate the name of the carrier(s) arriving that day?
I was a cab driver for Public Works Transportation and drove all over the Bay area. Alameda was the best duty station I ever had.