Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is a flight training base for the US Navy that opened in 1941. It is home to Training Air Wing FOUR which produces about 400 skilled aviators each year. Locally, it is known as NAS Corpus Christi or just NAS.
By 1945, NAS Corpus Christi was the largest pilot training facility in the world and more than 35,000 naval aviators earned their wings here during World War II. The first President Bush was in the third graduating class and at the age of 18, was the youngest naval aviator to that date. Senator John Mcain trained here and had to be rescued by helicopter when his plane crashed into Corpus Christi Bay in 1960. Senator/Astronaut John Glenn, actor Tyrone Power, and TV emcee Bob Barker also earned their wings here.
The Blue Angels were headquartered at NAS Corpus Christi from 1949 to 1955 and still perform here every other year.
NAS Corpus Christi was a tracking station for the Mercury Space Program during the early 1960s.
In an unusual arrangement, the US Army maintains facilities on the Navy base. The Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) has over 2,700 civilian employees and is the largest helicopter repair facility in the world. Residents are used to seeing Blackhawks, Huey's, Chinook's and other military helicopters flying overhead.
In October of 2009, the base started a new program to allow civilians access to base recreational facilities. This includes an 18 hold golf course, marina, paintball field, RV facilities and access to the Bay Club, a restaurant and lounge. To gain access to the facilities, users must pass a background check and pay a $20 annual fee. For more information, contact the base pass office at (361) 961-2376.