Naval Air Station Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD)
Under the current US Navy organization, NAS Corpus Christi and NAS Kingsville are part of the Navy Region South Texas. Unlike some Navy facilities elsewhere in the country, the command relationship remains coherent, as the Region and Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) leadership structures are essentially identical.
NAS Corpus Christi is in the Flour Bluff area, ten miles southeast of the city of Corpus Christi and twenty-five miles south of NAVSTA INGLESIDE across Corpus Christi Bay. Corpus Christi Army Depot is a major tenant on the Naval Air Station. Other tenants include Chief of Naval Air Training; U.S. Coast Guard/Air Station; Drug Enforcement Agency; Medical Naval Hospital; Mine Warfare Command; and Defense Distribution Depot (sub-organization to Defense Logistics Agency).
The mission of NAS Corpus Christi is to provide the best possible service and facilities for customers. The function is to maintain and operate facilities, provide service and material to support operations of aviation activities and units of the Naval Air Training Command and other tenant activities and units.
As a training base, NAS Corpus Christi emphasizes basic flight maneuvering and traffic pattern operations. As a result, the installation supports some 400,000 operations per year, virtually all VFR. These are accommodated at the main base and at outlying fields (OLF) Waldron and Cabiniss. Each of the OLFs is controlled served by a Navy control tower, and offers other essential services (e.g., firefighting). They offer VFR services only; only NAS Corpus Christi is equipped with has a full set of NAVAIDs, ILS and PAR. Neither the main base nor either of the OLFs has a significant record of noise concerns, although local commanders work aggressively to control both real time dissatisfaction and to assist the communities in managing growth to ensure the viability of the airfields.
The base is recognized as vital to the community's economy; however, some encroachment concerns are reported (the unprecedented movement of American population to the southern states and to the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts has put pressure on many Navy installations, despite solid political and economic backing from state and local leaders). Published data indicate that the impending arrival of twelve heavy lift minesweeping MH-53 helicopters (from helicopter squadron HM-15) would complicate the installation's community relations picture somewhat; however, there is no documentation of negative impacts to date. While these fly primarily over water or sparsely populated terrain, their departure from and return to home station has been a contentious issue at some other locations, especially MCAS Miramar, where they have recently been stationed. However, NAS Corpus Christi does have the advantage of direct access to its overwater operating areas.
There are some concerns for interactions with the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which lies along the Gulf Coast north of NAS Corpus Christi. The two facilities have coexisted for many years (the 70,000 acre refuge dates from 1937, the base from 1941). Navy spokespersons note an excellent and candid working relationship at the local level, and indicate that any serious disagreement regarding overflight of the refuge would occur only as a result of fundamental disagreements at a higher level. However, the refuge is indicative of a more systemic problem. This is one of the highest bird strike potential areas in the nation. Large birds, including sandhill cranes and pelicans, are present in considerable numbers, while the endangered whooping crane exists in small numbers, but with very high level of ecological concern.
On August 6, 1986, the station's airfield was named Truax Field in honor of Lt. Myron Milton Truax, United States Navy. This is a bit confusing, since the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison WI -- home of the Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing -- is also known as Truax Field.
Currently, Training Air Wing FOUR produces approximately 400 newly qualified aviators each year. The training program is approximately 18 months long, due to the complexity of today's aircraft. The general command assignment is pilot training. Training Air Wing FOUR consists of four squadrons. VT-27 and VT-28 handle primary training in the T-34C Mentor, a single engine turboprop aircraft. VT-31 provides advanced training in the T-44A Pegasus and TC-12B aircraft. VT-35 is a joint Air Force and Navy squadron. They fly the TC-12B aircraft. Both the C-12 and the T-44 are equipped with twine-engine turboprops. The Naval Air Station is also home to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron FIFTEEN, flying the MH-53E Sea Dragon. These massive helicopters search the seas for mines by towing the most advanced minesweeping packages available. Other aircraft found at NAS Corpus Christi include the UH-1N Huey, a helicopter used primarily for Search and Rescue. The station employs officer, enlisted and civilian personnel serving the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army and Customs Service.
In support of the base's training mission are two nearby outlying landing fields owned by the Navy: Navy Landing Airfield (NALF) Waldron, which is 3.5 miles from the Air Station; and NALF Cabaniss, which is 8.0 miles from the Air Station.
Additionally, the Navy has leased landing rights at the Aransas County Airport, 26.0 miles from the Air Station. These outlying fields reduce the need to use the runways on the Air Station to complete programmed training requirements; therefore, the additional fields allow a much greater Pilot Training Rate to be achieved.
Toward the end of the 1930's, the United States was becoming more involved with the war in Europe. More pilots were needed for what seemed an inevitable second world war. The Navy saw a need for a new and larger pilot training facility and its eyes fell on Corpus Christi. The Official Step leading to the construction of the Naval Air Station was initiated by the 75th Congress in 1938. A board found that a lack of training facilities capable of meeting an emergency demand for pilots constituted a grave situation. They recommended the establishment of a second air training station, and further that it be located on Corpus Christi Bay.
NAS Corpus Christi was commissioned by its first skipper, Captain Alva Berhard, on March 12, 1941. The first flight started on May 5, 1941. Following four weeks of ground training, the first of the original class of 52 students took off at 0947 on 5 May, 1941 in a Stearman trainer to log the first training flight. Former President George Bush was in the third graduating class, June 1942, and the youngest cadet ever to graduate. In 1941, 800 instructors provided training for more than 300 cadets a month. The training rate nearly doubled after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. During World War II the station was used to train aviation cadets as flyers, navigators, aerologists, gunners, and radio operators. By the end of World War II, more than 35,000 aviators had earned their wings here. Corpus Christi was the only primary, intermediate and advanced training facility in existence in the United States. At one time, it was the largest pilot training facility in the world.
In 1972, Naval Air Training Command Headquarters moved to Corpus Christi from Pensacola, Florida, and established Training Air Wing Four. Since the 1940's, NAS exerted a strong and lasting influence on Corpus Christi and on South Texas.
Corpus Christi Army Depot
Beginning in 1961 as a relatively small maintenance facility for fixed wing aircraft, the Corpus Christi Army Depot has grown to become a leader in Army repair, overhaul and maintenance of helicopters. There are over 2,700 civilians, seven military personnel, and 175 contractor personnel. The Depot's current annual payroll is $162.6 million, and utilizes 140 acres, controls 1.9 million square feet of floor space. The mission of the facility is to perform depot maintenance on Army aircraft and aeronautical equipment, to training military personnel in aeronautical depot maintenance for assignment worldwide and to prepare aircraft for overseas shipment. The depot also is responsible for distribution of overhauled items and for maintaining a mobilization base capable of rapid expansion in the event of a national emergency.
Corpus Christi Army Depot is the Army's only organic facility for the repair and overhaul of rotary wing aircraft. The Depot is a major contributor of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force readiness through repair, overhaul, and maintenance of a wide variety of helicopters as well as related engines and components. The Depot seeks and meets the challenges of global military demands through three major areas:
Corpus Christi Army Depot performs overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, and modernization for Army and numerous Department of Defense rotary wing aircraft. Corpus Christi Army Depot provides hands-on training for Reserve, National Guard, active duty, and friendly foreign military personnel. Corpus Christi Army Depot provides additional depot maintenance support including on-site maintenance teams; crash damage analysis; and chemical, metallurgical, and technical support.
Corpus Christi Army Depot overhauls Army and other services' helicopters. The Depot provides for receipt, storage, overhaul, repair, modification, retrofit, maintenance, and other functions to aircraft and related aeronautical items. In support of these programs, the Depot purchases commercial supplies, repair parts, materiel, and equipment. In 1997, the Depot locally procured supplies and services totaling $23.9 million.
Corpus Christi Army Depot possesses extensive manufacturing capabilities that utilize conventional and advanced technology processes including Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing. This provides rapid, economical machining of a wide variety of ferrous and nonferrous materials. The Depot uses computer-aided manufacturing systems to create Computer Numerically Controlled programs in both conventional and Binary Cutter Location formats. The Depot fabricates aircraft parts that are not currently available from standard sources, enabling the Depot to provide timely aviation maintenance service to customers.
In 1961, ARADMAC (Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Center) came into being. Today it is known as Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD), and is the largest tenant command at NAS Corpus Christi. CCAD occupies nearly 140 acres leased from the station and is the largest industrial employer in South Texas. Established as a relatively small maintenance facility for fixed wing aircraft, CCAD evolved into the Army's largest helicopter repair, overhaul and maintenance center.
Established in 1961 as the United States Army Aeronautical Depot Maintenance Center, Corpus Christi Army Depot began as a depot-level maintenance facility for fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The Depot was tasked with repair and maintenance of three engines and four airframes. The first Bell Helicopter UH-1 (Huey) was overhauled in 1962. In 1967, Corpus Christi Army Depot's mission to overhaul and repair fixed wing aircraft was phased out due to increased demand for helicopter airframes, engines, and components. By 1968, the Facility was in full operation providing repair and overhaul services to approximately 400 helicopters annually. The name was changed to Corpus Christi Army Depot in 1974.
Today, Corpus Christi Army Depot provides helicopter repair and overhaul capability to all the U.S. military services, as well as numerous foreign military organizations. Thirty percent of the Depot's workload is obtained from other services and includes the SH-60 Seahawk, AH-1W Super Cobra Attack Helicopter, MH-60 Pavehawk, and UH-1N Huey Helicopter.
Corpus Christi Army Depot is a full-service facility with the ability to restore airframes, engines, and components to like-new condition including crash-damaged aircraft. Since it began, the Depot has overhauled or repaired more than 12,922 aircraft. The average total funded workload, based on 1997 history, is $307 million.
Coast Guard Air Station
The Coast Guard Air Station and the Coast Guard Group Office are located together in Hangar 41 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Texas. There are presently 31 officers and 66 aviation enlisted personnel assigned to the Air Station. The Commander of Coast Guard Group Corpus Christi also serves as commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi.
USCG Air Detachment Corpus Christi was established on 20 November 1950, and was later re-designated USCG Air Station Corpus Christi. Following extensive personnel and equipment changes in the operations department, Group Corpus Christi became fully operational on October 15, 1980. The Air Station now operates as one of thirteen Coast Guard Group units between Port O'Connor, Texas and the Mexican border. Group Operations is manned 24 hours a day with personnel trained to handle all Coast Guard missions.
Among the many missions handled by the Coast Guard Air Station, search and rescue missions always have the highest priority. The Air Station, which maintains the 24-hour capability to quickly launch an HH-52A helicopter or an HU-25A fanjet, averages over 400 rescue cases a year. The station operates a total of three HH-52A helicopters and three HU-25A fanjets. Typical rescue missions include: searches for overdue vessels; assisting boats on fire, sinking or disabled; and medical evacuations from offshore oil rigs and vessels.
The Station's aircrews frequently fly throughout the Group area on many missions other than search and. rescue. These missions include marine environmental protection, federal fisheries law enforcement and drug interdiction.
Air Station crews enforce federal fisheries laws by flying frequent patrols throughout the U.S. fisheries conservation zone, which extends 200 miles offshore. Close coordination is maintained with the Air Station's resident special agent from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Marine drug interdiction is a joint mission of the Coast Guard Air Station, other federal agencies and the vessels assigned to time Group. In addition to local drug interdiction patrols, Air Station aircraft and crews also frequently deploy outside the South Texas area as far away as Florida and the Caribbean Sea to work with other Coast Guard units on law enforcement missions.
Air Station Corpus Christi uses three HH-65A Dolphin helicopters and three HU-25B Falcon jets to provide air support for Coast Guard missions in Group Corpus Christi and the Eighth Coast Guard District. The HU-25B has unique AIREYE surveillance system that is the only system of its type operating in the United States. These aircraft deploy nationally to track oil spills and plot winter ice floes.
Surveillance Support Center (SSC)
The Surveillance Support Center (SSC), located in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is home for the United States Customers Service (USCS) Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft. The aircraft are used to detect, identify, and track aircraft used to smuggle drugs into the United States. Because of the diverse capabilities of the USCS P-3s, the aircraft are deployed on long-range patrols in support of global interdiction efforts.
Beginning P-3 operations from USCS New Orleans Air Branch in 1984 and Tucson Air Branch in 1985, the P-3As supported the Air Branches along the southern border of the United States. The SSC was established in June 1987 when the four P-3As and two E-2Cs (on loan from the U.S. Navy) were transferred to Corpus Christi. Initial operations were conducted from a facility constructed of trailers, with no hangar to perform aircraft maintenance. Construction of the hangar and office that is the current SSC was completed in December 1988. The SSC employs 104 U.S. Custom's aircrew and support employees, and a maintenance support staff of 75.
In response to the increasing amount of drugs being smuggled into the United States, the Congress approved the purchase of a prototype Lockheed P-3 AEW aircraft. The first aircraft was accepted in June 1988. The demonstrated success of the P-3 AEW justified the purchase of additional P-3 AEW aircraft. Currently operating three P-3 AEWs and four P-3A Interceptors, the SSC supports the Office of National Drug Control Policy and augments the Department of Defense in the detection and monitoring of air and marine smugglers.
While the primary mission is to interdict drug smugglers, the SSC maintains an active public relations program. The P-3As have been called upon to transport emergency food and medical supplies to victims of hurricanes and earthquakes in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico. The SSC sponsors an active Law Enforcement Explorer Post. Facility tours are encouraged and SSC personnel routinely address local civic organizations to inform them about the "War on Drugs."
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. As part of this recommendation, DoD recommended to relocate Commander Mine Warfare Command and Commander Mobile Mine Assembly Group from Corpus Christi to Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Center, Point Loma, CA; relocate Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15) and dedicated personnel, equipment and support to Naval Station Norfolk, VA; disestablish Commander Helicopter Tactical Wing U.S. Atlantic Fleet Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Truax Field at Corpus Christi, TX and relocate its intermediate maintenance function for Aircraft Components, Fabrication & Manufacturing, and Support Equipment to Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Site Norfolk, VA.
This recommendation would move mine warfare surface and aviation assets to major fleet concentration areas and reduce excess capacity and would remove the Mine Warfare community from a location remote from the fleet thereby better supporting the shift to organic mine warfare. This recommendation would also support mission elimination at Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Truax Field at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and reduce excess repair capacity. The relocation of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM-15) to Naval Station Norfolk would single site all Mine Warfare Aircraft in a fleet concentration area. This location would better support the HM-15 mission by locating them closer to the C-5 transport Air Port of Embarkation for overseas employment and mine countermeasures ship and helicopter coordinated exercises. Assuming no economic recovery, DoD estimated that this recommendation, along with recommended closure of Ingleside Naval Station, could result in a maximum potential reduction of 6,864 jobs (3,184 direct jobs and 3,680 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Corpus Christi, TX, Metropolitan Statistical Area (3.1 percent).
DoD also recommended to realign NAS Corpus Christi by consolidating Navy Region South with Navy Region Midwest at Naval Station Great Lakes, IL and Navy Region Southeast at Naval Station Jacksonville, FL. In conjunction with other recommendations that would consolidate Navy Region Commands, this recommendation would reduce the number of Installation Management regions from twelve to eight, streamlining the regional management structure and allowing for opportunities to collocate other regional entities to further align management concepts and efficiencies. Consolidating Navy Regions would allow for more consistency in span of responsibility and would better enable Commander, Navy Installations, a position this recommendation would help to create, to provide operational forces support, community support, base support, and mission support to enhance the Navy's combat power. Assuming no economic recovery, DoD estimated that this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 144 jobs (59 direct jobs and 85 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Corpus Christi, TX, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which would be less than 0.1 percent of economic area employment.
DoD would realign Corpus Christi Army Depot, TX, by disestablishing storage and distribution functions for tires, packaged petroleum, oils, and lubricants, and compressed gases. This recommendation would achieve economies and efficiencies that would enhance the effectiveness of logistics support to forces as they transition to more joint and expeditionary operations. This recommendation would disestablish the wholesale supply, storage, and distribution functions for all tires; packaged petroleum, oils and lubricants; and compressed gases used by the Department of Defense, retaining only the supply contracting function for each commodity. The Department would privatize these functions and would rely on private industry for the performance of supply, storage, and distribution of these commodities. By doing so, the Department could divest itself of inventories and eliminate infrastructure and personnel associated with these functions. This recommendation would result in more responsive supply support to user organizations and would thus add to capabilities of the future force. The recommendation would provide improved support during mobilization and deployment, and the sustainment of forces when deployed worldwide. Privatization would enable the Department to take advantage of the latest technologies, expertise, and business practices, which translates to improved support to customers at less cost. It centralizes management of tires; packaged petroleum, oils, and lubricants; and compressed gases and eliminates unnecessary duplication of functions within the Department.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|