NAS Whiting Field

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Naval Air Station Whiting Field near Milton is marking 75 years as one of the major training bases for student pilots from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. 

Base Commander Capt. Paul Bowdich welcomed the gathering to the cake-cutting ceremony on Monday morning, the server using a Navy cutlass for slicing.

“July 16th, 1943 Naval Air Station Whiting Field was established, commissioned; what a great day. We’ve survived 75 years and now we’re working on the next 75 years,” said Bowdich, as the cake was being sliced using a Navy cutlass.

floridajobs.org

Four months after creation, an $85 million state fund for economic development lies dormant, while more than 160 requests totaling over a half-billion dollars await.

The “Florida Job Growth Grant Fund" was created during a special legislative session as a compromise between Gov. Rick Scott and House leaders. At issue was the House’s desire to scrap Enterprise Florida and other economic development programs.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson visited Pensacola State College on Monday, meeting with local officials and residents on a number of issues. While there, Nelson had one bit of good news for the area’s military bases.

“BRAC’s not coming; it’s not going to pass in the next [election] cycle,” said Nelson. “So y'all can stop worrying about that.”

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Plans for a land swap between Escambia County and the U.S. Navy are moving forward, after unanimous approval by the County Commission to continue the project. 

Initially, the Navy was to give the landing field near Navy Federal Credit Union to Escambia County. In turn, the county would spend $1.9 million to buy a 600-acre tract in Santa Rosa County near Ard Field Road.

Another five million was earmarked for getting that property up to speed as a landing field. That extra cost placed the deal in jeopardy, until Monday’s special meeting.

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Officials across military-friendly northwest Florida are watching the Pentagon closely once again, now that there’s renewed talk about another round of base closures and mission realignments.

Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee last month, several top military officials supported another round of BRAC: Base Realignment and Closure. Among them was General Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

NAS Whiting Field

Naval Air Station Whiting Field is participating in “Solid Curtain-Citadel Shield” kicking off Monday and going through February 10.

The annual Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (or ATFP) Exercise consists of around 300 field-training events on and off Navy installations across the continental United States. SC-CS17 is a two-part exercise conducted by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, Navy Installations Command.

“This is a standard drill, we do it every year. It’s not in response to anything particular,” said Whiting Field spokesman Jay Cope.

Commons / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_T-6_Texan_II

 

Naval Air Station-Whiting Field welcomes the arrival of the 148th and final T-6B Texan II aircraft on Tuesday, signaling the complete changeover for Training Air Wing Five.  The last such aircraft will arrive from the Beechcraft factory in Wichita, Kansas in a three plane formation joined by the first T-6B and the yellow centennial T-6B.

 

Base spokesman Jay Cope says they’ll land at North Field, with a ceremony scheduled at the hang

ar for 3:00.  

 

Coronal Development

Gulf Power Company and the U.S. Navy are weighing anchor on a new partnership, aimed at developing and distributing solar power.

Under a 37-year lease, Gulf Power will use almost 600 acres of property aboard NAS Pensacola, Whiting Field, and two outlying landing fields, Holly and Saufley. Natalie Smith at the utility says plans are to build two large generating facilities.

Courtesy of NAS Whiting Field

NAS Whiting Field has two main air fields: North and South. In the North field, they conduct pilot training for fixed wing aircraft, primarily the T-6 Texan. In the South field, they conduct training for TH-57 helicopters.
Two of the runways in their South field have been scheduled to have some repairs done to them, beginning in a few months.

Jay Cope, Public Affairs Officer for NAS Whiting Field, says the repairs are standard and to be expected after so many years.

Gulf Power

Gulf Power Company is moving ahead with plans to build solar energy farms at three military bases in northwest Florida. The green light was provided this week by the state’s Public Service Commission.

The PSC gave unanimous approval to all three projects, aboard Naval Air Stations Pensacola and Whiting Field, and at Eglin Air Force Base. Natalie Smith at the utility says the approval process was somewhat lengthy.

U.S. Navy

Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of jobs could be created through construction of Whiting Field Aviation Park. That’s what Santa Rosa County officials are telling the area’s legislative delegation.

County Commission Chairman Don Salter Monday hosted a tour of the county-owned site: 269 acres adjacent to NAS Whiting Field, in search of $8 million from the state to move the project forward. The funds likely would be delivered in two, $4 million increments.

Photo via Flickr//Jason Mitchell

Fourteen Florida counties will share $2.45 million from the state’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will provide support for community projects at 19 military installations.

Florida’s military and defense sector is responsible for almost 9.5% of the state’s economy. That translates to 758,000 direct and indirect jobs that represent $73 billion in spending.

Savas Beatie LLC

With Naval Air Station Pensacola, Corry Station, and Whiting Field located in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, there are a number of young sailors who may be interested in the new book, The Ultimate Chief Petty Officer Guidebook: Tips, Tactics, and Techniques for Sailors Who are Serious about Becoming a Chief Petty Officer.

brandonbaker.com

Naval Air Station Whiting Field has secured more than 490 acres, as part of its double mission of conservation and mission buffering.

That brings to roughly 3,500 acres the amount of land adjacent to the base that’s been purchased. Whiting Field worked on the transaction with Santa Rosa County, Navy Region Southeast and the Naval Facilities Command Southeast.

Total cost was $1.2 million. The money came from the Navy Readiness Environmental Protection Integration, and a grant from the Santa Rosa County Defense Infrastructure.