NAS Oceana the second largest employer in Virginia Beach. It supports the Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Force of Strike-Fighter Aircraft & Joint/Inter-Agency Operations. Together with Dam Neck the base has about 10,500 active Navy personnel, about 10,000 family members and 4,500 civilian personnel.
Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base, home to the F/A-18 Hornets and the largest Fleet Replacement Squadron, VFA-106. It’s primary mission is to serve as a Shore-Based Readiness Integrator, providing the facilities, equipment and personnel to support shored-based readiness, total force readiness and maintain operational access of Oceana-based forces.
Oceana is home to eighteen Hornet and Super Hornet squadrons. Sixteen squadrons deploy on carriers into combat and two are permanently based at Oceana, including the adversary squadron. Routinely, two-thirds of this complement is “working up” on carriers off the coast or deployed at NAS Fallon, Nevada for live air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons training. NAS Oceana averages one take off or landing every two minutes for an average of 325,000 flight operations per year.
1750 Tomcat Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23460
Naval Air Station Oceana was commissioned August 17, 1943. Then the area now known as Oceana was a swampy wasteland. Today it is a complex with more than seven miles of runways and the latest equipment to serve military air traffic. It is manned by more than 14,600 military personnel, 2,000 civilians and is home to 19 fighter/attack squadrons flying the Navy’s most advanced aircraft. In the years since World War II, it has taken its place in the list of essential installations and is rightly considered a “Master Jet Base.”
In November 1940, the U.S. Government purchased 328.95 acres that was to become NAS Oceana and constructed a small airfield with 32 officers and 172 enlisted men assigned. At that time it was located in an almost inaccessible area–too far from Norfolk for civilian usage, but close enough to the Atlantic Ocean for the Navy’s purposes. Nevertheless, asphalt runways were started on December 31, 1940, and completed in November 1941.
From its inception, the little base, an auxiliary field to Norfolk’s military complex, began growing. In 1943, at the height of World War II, the wartime Congress approved plans for expanding the station to accommodate up to 160 officers and 800 enlisted men. Construction began on new, longer runways and personnel facilities and the station was changed to Naval Auxiliary Air Station.
The Naval Auxiliary Air Station Oceana, Virginia was commissioned in August 1943, with Lieutenant Jesse A. Fairley as Officer-in-Charge. The station was under the command of Naval Air Center, Hampton Roads, Virginia.
By 1945 the airfield was booming with activity and the small size of its facilities was creating problems. An historical report stated “the numbers of aircraft and officers aboard have more than tripled during the past year, while the number of enlisted men have more than doubled, and a major building program inaugurated in May, 1944 is approaching completion.”
Through the postwar years, the little station that started in the inaccessible area of swampland grew with Naval Aviation. By 1952, the Naval Auxiliary Air Station had become too large to work as a subordinate to other stations in the area. On April 1, 1952, the Secretary of the Navy changed the station’s designation to Naval Air Station.
The Chief of Naval Operations approved the designation of NAS Oceana as an all-weather air station on February 16, 1954. With the introduction of jets to the Navy’s arsenal, the isolated location and long runways made Oceana well suited for servicing these type aircraft. Thus the Oceana base became the center of naval jet traffic in the Tidewater area.
On June 4, 1957, the airfield was named Soucek Field in honor of Vice Admiral Apollo Soucek, Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics from 1953 until just prior to his death in 1955. The Navy’s Blue Angels, flying F11-F Tigers, were the featured attraction at the dedication ceremonies.
Scanning the lists of aircraft flown by squadrons reveals a near-complete history of Naval Aviation since the early forties. Included are the PB4Y Privateer, SB2C Helldiver, F6F Hellcat, TBF Avenger and F4U Corsair. Oceana provided service to the fighting aircraft carriers of World War II. With the introduction of high performance aircraft such as the A-4 Skyhawk, the F-4 Phantom II and the A-6 Intruder, Oceana became home of the world’s most advanced naval aircraft.
The tempo of operations at Oceana has increased in recent years. In 1974, F-14 Tomcats, were assigned to Oceana. In 1976 a F-14 Replacement Air Group (RAG) squadron, Fighter Squadron One-Hundred-One, was established to train aviators transitioning into theTomcat. The F/A-18 Hornets arrived from Cecil Field, Fla., in 1998 and 1999.
Today NAS Oceana operates 18 F/A -18 Hornet squadrons including Fleet Composite Squadron Twelve (VFC-12), a squadron that performs air combat maneuvering training. Oceana’s Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Units train highly qualified maintenance technicians for the squadrons. NAS Oceana is also the home of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Six (VR-56).
The station is located on 5,916 acres, has 250 total aircraft and has buildings valued at $823 million in plant replacement value. The total Navy community, including spouses, numbers approximately 20,000 people. NAS Oceana is the largest employer in Virginia Beach.
Our mission is to support the Navy’s Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Force of Strike-Fighter Aircraft & Joint/Inter-Agency Operations.
For the most current listing of phone numbers for departments and tenant commands, please contact the
Quarterdeck/Base Locator at (757) 433-2366/2367