Naval Air Station Meridian or NAS Meridian is a military airport located 11 miles northeast of Meridian, Mississippi in Lauderdale County and Kemper County, and is one of the Navy’s two jet strike pilot training facilities.
MERIDIAN NAVAL AIR STATION HISTORY
On July 16, 1957, the first shovel of earth was thrown, marking the beginning of the Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS), which was commissioned July 19, 1961. Captain W.F. Krantz, USN received the golden key to the air station, and senior Mississippi U.S. Senator John C. Stennis was the guest speaker for the ceremony that opened the $60 million base. At that time, the operations area was named McCain Field in honor of the late Admiral John S. McCain, Sr. of Teoc, Mississippi.
Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) arrived at NAAS Meridian July 12, 1961, then split to form its sister squadron, Training Squadron NINE (VT-9) on December 15. In September 1965, hundreds of planes from Florida bases arrived to escape the wrath of Hurricane Betsy. The Naval Auxiliary Air Station continued to grow, and by July 1968, the station became a full Naval Air Station. The years brought an increase in building development and family housing units. In 1968, and again in 1969, 300 aircraft from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida arrived to escape the fury and destruction of Hurricane Gladys and Hurricane Camille, respectively.
In August 1971, Training Air Wing ONE (TRAWING ONE) was commissioned and Training Squadron NINETEEN (VT-19) was also established. The Wing motto became “Readiness for Victory at Sea through Training.” That October saw the arrival of the TA-4J, the new advanced jet trainer based on the A-4 “Skyhawk.” In April 1973, President Richard M. Nixon, accompanied by Senator John C. Stennis and many other high-ranking military and civilian officials, attended the dedication of the new Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC). Known locally as the Stennis Center, it was officially commissioned April 17, 1974.
Aerial view of NAS Meridian in the early 1960s
NAS Meridian was selected and upgraded to a Major Shore Command on October 1, 1982. In March 1984, NAS Meridian was one of 15 installations chosen for the Department of Defense Model Installation Program. In September 1985, the enlisted galley was dedicated to the memory of Marine Lance Corporal Roy M. Wheat, a Mississippi native and Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in Vietnam.
MERIDIAN NAVAL AIR STATION LOCATION
MERIDIAN NAVAL AIR STATION FACTS
Runway length available: 01R/19L 8002×200 ft. :: 01L/19R 8002×200 ft. :: 10/28 6401×200 ft.