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NAF El Centro California
* Overview *
NAF El Centro
NAF El Centro and its personnel have a role of providing essential support to the squadrons and units training here. This includes flight operations, logistics, billeting, messing, hangars, ramps, aircraft parking space, administration and supply transport. Every month, seven to 12 squadrons and up to 1,600 personnel train here. Additionally, U.S. Air Force parachutists, U.S. Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and British, French, German and Italian aviators visit for various phases of their training.
Naval Air Facility El Centro was commissioned on May 1, 1946, as a Naval Air Station. Prior to that, the base was a Marine Corps Air Station. Through the years, Navy El Centro has had several names: Naval Air Facility, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Naval Air Station, and the National Parachute Test Range.
Because if it's unique location, NAF El Centro is known to every naval aviator and plays a key role in their initial and refresher training. What makes the NAF so special is its combination of unique climate, vast unobstructed desert terrain, limited non-military air traffic and its own dedicated gunnery and bomb ranges. These factors make NAF El Centro an ideal environment for aerial combat maneuvering, air-to-air gunnery, bombing practice and electronic warfare training. Variable climatic conditions and population are limiting factors at the Navy's only other facilities with similar missions – Fallon, Nevada, and Key West, Florida. The result is that NAF El Centro is very busy and in high demand. For example, the number of flight operations (landings and take-offs) exceeded 167,000 in 1999. Flight operations on a typical day reach over 450 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
US Navy's Blue Angels
Team Website - Official Unit website with National Air Show Schedule and General Media info.
The U.S. Navy's Precision Flight Demonstration was first organized in 1946. Each year it performs nearly 70 air shows at 33 locations in the U.S. and Canada, entertaining over 17 million spectators. It serves as positive role models and goodwill ambassadors for the US Navy and Marine Corps.
Currently the team flies six bright blue F/A-18 Hornets which seemlessly transition between various manuvers while flying at hundreds of miles per hour. This all-volunteer group consists of 16 officers and 110 enlisted crew.
While normally based in Pensacola Florida, their winter home is NAF El Centro where they can be seen (Jan-Mar) training pilots and new crew members.
El Centro Air Show Mid-March
NAF El Centro California
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