Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar), formerly Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar is a United States Marine Corps installation that is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is the aviation element of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. It is located in Miramar, San Diego, California, about 10 miles (16 km) north of Downtown San Diego.
The airfield is named Mitscher Field after Admiral M.A. Mitscher who was the commander of Task Force 58 during World War II. The air station is the former location Pacific Fleet fighter and Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (F-4 Phantom II, F-14 Tomcat, E-2 Hawkeye) and is best known as the former location of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS), its TOPGUN training program and the movie of the same name. In 1996, NFWS was relocated to Naval Air Station Fallon in western Nevada and merged into the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC). During the heyday of TOPGUN at NAS Miramar, the station was nicknamed “Fightertown USA”.
MIRAMAR MARINE CORPS AIR STATION HISTORY
Kumeyaay Native Americans were the first inhabitants in the vicinity of the base. Spain claimed the San Diego area in 1542 and colonized it beginning in 1769. In 1846 the crown issued a land grant that included the area of the current base to Don Santiago Argüello. After the American Civil War, the land was divided and sold to people such as Edward Scripps, a newspaper publisher from the eastern United States, who developed a ranch on the site. It was Scripps who named the area Miramar, meaning “view of the sea”. The land was predominantly used for grazing and farming into the early 20th century.
In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended that Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and Marine Corps Air Station Tustin be closed down and that NAS Miramar be transferred to the Marine Corps. BRAC also recommended that all Navy Pacific Fleet F-14 aircraft and squadrons (with the exception of those assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 in Japan) and Pacific Fleet F-14 training be consolidated with the Atlantic Fleet and be relocated to NAS Oceana, Virginia. BRAC recommended that Pacific Fleet E-2C training be consolidated with Atlantic Fleet E-2C training at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, that all Pacific Fleet E-2C aircraft and squadrons (with the exception of those assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5 in Japan) be relocated to NAS Point Mugu, California and that the Naval Fighter Weapons School (“TOP GUN”) and Navy Reserve adversary squadron VFC-13 be relocated to NAS Fallon, Nevada.
In 1999, MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin were closed and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing returned to Miramar when it officially became Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. On October 1, 1997, Colonel Thomas A. Caughlan became the first Marine commanding officer of MCAS Miramar since World War II. Caughlan was also the last commanding officer of MCAS Tustin.
In 2005, the BRAC Commission directed instructor pilots and support personnel from Miramar to Eglin AFB in Florida, sufficient to stand up the Marine Corps’ portion of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF) Training Site. This will lead to an eventual phasing out of Fighter Pilot training at Miramar by 2015 as the F-18′s are retired.
In 2006, the San Diego County Proposition A proposed obtaining 3000 acres (12 km²) at MCAS Miramar to develop a commercial airport. The proposition was defeated 62 percent opposed to 38 percent in favor. The public decided that they did not want the military to leave and that the proposed joint use arrangement would increase noise levels to an intolerable level and would interfere with the needs of the military.
MIRAMAR MARINE CORPS AIR STATION LOCATION
MIRAMAR MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FACTS
Elevation: 478 ft.
Runway length available: 06R/24L 8000×200 ft. :: 06L/24R 12000×200 ft. :: 10/28 2800×200 ft.