History of Naval Aviation Depot Alameda Home » History » NADEP History

nadep-alameda-logoNaval Air Station Alameda’s aircraft repair facility was established in 1941 as the Assembly and Repair (A&R) Department. January 1941 marked the A&R Department’s first induction: a dual-wing, single engine SOC-1 “Scouter” airplane. When the facility opened, 200 military and civilian personnel were under the command of A&R Officer, Capt. L.M. Grant. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, A&R employed some 2,000 personnel and were repairing 14 aircraft per month. The number of workers would soar to 9,000 at the conclusion of World War II and the scope of work included: Grumman F6F Hellcat, Martin JRM Mars, Consolidated PBY Catalina, General Motors TBM Avenger, and Douglas C-118 transport.

Cold War Era

The activity’s name was changed in the 1950’s to the Overhaul and Repair (O&R) Department to reflect an increasing depth and range of aircraft maintenance capabilities. O&R closed out that decade with approximately 5,400 civilian workers.

On April 1, 1967, the O&R Department became an Echelon III Command under the Naval Air Systems Command, and was renamed the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF). Growing to 7,135 civil service employees, the NARF faced the challenges of emerging technologies and advanced aircraft designs. Reworking propeller-driven aircraft and their components gave way to overhauling modern jets and sophisticated electronic equipment. Vintage war machines were replaced by modern jet powered aircraft such as the Douglass A-3 Skywarrior, Grumman A-6 Intruder, Northrup Grumman EA-6B Prowler, Lockheed P-3 Orion and S-3 Viking.

Final Mission

In 1987, all Naval Air Rework Facilities were renamed Naval Aviation Depots (NADEP). NADEP Alameda subsequently evolved into a $375-million-a-year business. Overhaul of S-3, A-6, and EA-6B aircraft continued, while installation of complex electronic warfare suites in the P-3 Orion become a primary role.

Now capable of repairing more than 12,000 individual avionic and airframe components, NADEP Alameda managed the Navy’s largest aircraft component repair program. Deport personnel repaired over 80,000 units and covered 5,000 critical aircraft components for which NADEP Alameda was the Navy’s sole repair site. The depot was also the only overhaul site for the T56 and TF34 aircraft engines. The depot’s engineers maintained over 2,500 technical manuals used in all levels of Navy maintenance. In addition, Alameda’s “Voyage Repair Team” accomplished catapult and arresting gear repairs onboard aircraft carriers.

Closure

In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) committee determined that the corporation consisting of six Naval Aviation Depots possessed excess industrial capacity. Consequently, three of the depots were selected for closure, one of which was NADEP Alameda. After 56 years of superior performance in service of the United States Navy, the facility closed in 1997 as directed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1990.

Prologue

Naval Air Station Alameda’s aircraft repair facility was a professional organization dedicated to the technology demands of maintaining the fleet in readiness. Alameda’s facility was the largest industry in the East Bay area and was proud of its reputation.

The number of fleet aircraft had increased a thousand fold since World War II. Additionally, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) had moved more and more into the arena. From the bottom of the sea to the cold vacuum of outer space, the responsibility for the defense of the West became a herculean effort. Alameda kept our resources in ready condition.

In time, the workload became even more focused on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operational readiness. The facility reduced the time that vital ASW aircraft engines and related systems were out of action for required rework. Eventually, ASW would comprise more than half of Alameda’s workload. The rest of the workload was broken down as follows:

  • One third – Repair and rework of A3, A6, S3 and P3 aircraft.
  • One tenth – Repair and rework of J52, 501K, T56 and TF34 aircraft engines.
  • One third – Repair and rework of aircraft components, avionics systems and engine accessories.
  • One twentieth – Repair and rework of Sparrow, Phoenix and Shrike missiles.

Naval Air Station Alameda’s aircraft repair facility employed 237 separate trades that were capable of manufacturing any needed aircraft part. Specialized facilities, within the complex, were a foundry, pattern shop, plating shop, parachute loft, clean rooms and machine shops. Extensive paint stripping, paint shops, and weapons testing areas were also available. These capabilities were developed early in World War II and strengthened over three succeeding decades and three generations of workers. Alameda was noted for it’s “can-do” spirit and a production record respected by the fleet that placed safety of flight above all else.

6 thoughts on “History of Naval Aviation Depot Alameda

  1. This was my first duty station with VA-303 in June 1977. I have some of my fondest memories of my Navy career right there at the hangar next to the runway and estuary. I arrived as an E3 PN and left as a 3rd class PO. My motto was to learn everything I could about my rating and take care of my shipmates as my priorities. It worked! I retired in ’97 as one of the most senior 1st class PN’S in the TAR program. Retired many shipmates over the years but the best one was for a Chief who drilled in Atlanta, GA but returned to Asheville Reserve center so I could retire him and do it right! Thanks Chief for your confidence in me.

    Thanks to the Navy and Alameda NAS where I began my career and have some of my best memories of service.

    Many wonderful memories of my tour in Alameda. Very sorry to see it ‘retired’ by BRAC.

    1. Steve,
      Was glad to see your comments on this site. I left VA-303 in June 1978 and later went regular Navy retiring in June 1992 as a Chief Master
      at Arms. We lived in Fortuna, Ca. and in 1996 became Salvation Army Officers. Our last assignment was Roseburg, Oregon. We would
      go through Coquille on your way to Coos Bay and would think about you and Kerri. I would often think of Rick Futch, John Foster, and
      Jim Eden. Where did you retire? We now live in Elk Grove, Ca just south of Sacramento, Ca. Would enjoy hearing from you. Take care.
      Joe Whipple
      541 670-0991/670-0990

  2. ADC (AW) Charles CJ Jones. i had the privilege to be station at Nadep 1989-1992, Assistant Component project officer, an outstanding tour of duty, a lot of great professionals who produce a great and Quality product in all facets. the quality and reliability was second to none, I made chief with the support of a lot of good Ship-mates and Nadep professionals. A lot of good memories, after all the wonderful and productive years, I hated to see it go, I still think that it hurt the Navy’s readiness because no one could match the Quality and Reliable products and support that Naval Air Station Alameda gave, to this day readiness still suffering, a big mistake by BRAC.

  3. My father, Capt. Rupert S. Miller, was the first commanding officer of Alameda’s Naval Air Rework Facility. I was a lucky Navy brat, as the kind of work my dad did kept him ashore, and with his family. NAS Alameda was a great place to be a 7-, 8-, and 9-year-old. Completely fenced and well policed by the Shore Patrol, the station was safe enough for me to walk to school (at the “Naval Air Primary School”), and to ride my bicycle to the small pool, movie theater, and tiny library.

    In those days, flight operations were constant. Mostly F-4s, I believe, and probably not using any noise-abatement procedures. As a result, we all learned the trick of just stopping mid-sentence during a conversation when a jet roared overhead, then picking up again at the point we’d left off when the sound died down. There was also a floating pier in an unused section of the dock area, and we were allowed to go fishing there. For a lot of the year, I could just take a bunch of old hooks and tie them to lead weights, then wrap them in aluminum foil and sink the mess down to the bottom. After an hour, if you slowly pulled it all back up, there would often be one or more crabs, fooled by the foil into thinking it was a dead fish. I’d take them home and my parents would get fresh steamed crab for dinner, while I ate a peanut butter sandwich. No worries, I never liked crab, but it was very cool to catch them for my folks.

    I have a lot of good memories from being a Navy brat, but the best ones are from those days at Alameda.

  4. When she was 20 years old, my mother was a civilian who worked at NAS Alameda. She worked in the Supply Dept., Disposal Division, Supervisor’s section. She did secretarial and clerical tasks, and was employed there between January 1949 and December 1949.

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