Spring Trip 2018 travel blog

Welcome to Florida

Bear on the Beach

Naval Base Power Plant

The Blue Angels

WWII PBY for my friend Don

F6U Pirate - First Navy Jet from 1944

T-34 My first Navy Training Aircraft

My First Westpac Deployment

My Last Westpac Deployment

USS Enterprise $2M Model

Getting Ready to Launch

On the Catipult

Landing Lens

Detail in the Hanger Bay

NAS Pensacola Florida, arrived April 19 departing 22

We made it to Florida! We’re staying in Oak Grove RV Park on base. This base has an amazing history starting with the founding of a Spanish Colony in 1559 by Don Tristan de Luna on the bluff where Fort Barrancas was built.

In 1825 President John Quincy Adams directed a naval shipyard be built at Pensacola with its rich supply of timber and harbors. In 1911 the first aircraft carrier was built and in 1913 the Secretary of the Navy decided to build an aviation training center in Pensacola.

At the start of WWII, Pensacola was the sole naval training center with 38 naval aviators and 54 fixed wing aircraft; during the war this institution had trained 1,000 naval aviators. During WWII, NAS Pensacola trained 1,100 naval aviators a month!

Our first afternoon we drove around the base and found this enormously tall brick chimney of an electric and steam power plant powering the old navy yard, and at times, the surrounding community. The oversized Beaux Arts classic red archway proudly proclaims its construction was started in 1905 and it was building #4169 and is one of the most significant historical landmarks. The building is no more but the chimney survived as it is an independent free standing structure that has been a Pensacola landmark for over a century.

NAS Pensacola contains the National Naval Aviation Museum, a nonprofit dedicated to the history of naval aviation and has donated tens of millions of dollars to the recover and restore historic aircraft and provide educational programs.

Fifteen years ago a gentleman who served in the Navy and then started a car rental business donated 2 million dollars to provide a model of the modern day USS Enterprise on which he served. He was in the car rental business, Enterprise Rent a Car! The model is 8 feet long and is the most highly detailed model of the USS Enterprise in existence. From the aircraft to the people working the flight deck it is amazing.

Scott was a naval cadet here back in the day, he was in the AVROC program learning the navy way to fly props. Here were all the planes (and trainers) he flew in his career. In 1992 the Navy closed the Naval Base at Cubi Point in the Philippines. The National Naval Aviation Museum saw the history in the Cubi Point Officers club and had the entire bar and all 1500 squadron Westpac plaques shipped back to the USA. Scott was very proud to show me a few from his Westpac deployments.

The RV Park is primitive but nice. We have a site nearest the beach, there’s a trail through the forest and over a dune to the white sandy beach and when the sun is just right, and the shallow waters are the color of lime jello. Why is the sand so white? It’s a unique blend of small quartz particles originating the Appalachian Mountains and Apalachicola River 20,000 years ago.

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