Naval Air Facility Key West
Key West Naval Station Annex
The U.S. Naval Air Facility Key West (NAF Key West), Florida is located five miles east northeast of the city of Key West on Boca Chica Key -- latitude 24 34' 45" North and longitude 81 41' 40" West. The Key is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and southeast, the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west and the Florida Straits to the south. Initially designated a Naval Air Station [NAS, the facility was realigned as Naval Air Facility effective 01 September 2001, gaining Joint Interagency Task Force-South from Howard AFB, Panama.
As you reach the last major island of the Florida Keys you are entering the very southernmost city of the continental United States. Emerald colored waters where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet below the 42 bridges of the Overseas Highway make the drive between Miami and Key West especially beautiful. Key West measure 1.5 by 4 miles and sits 93 miles north of Cuba, 153 miles southwest of Miami and 24.5 degrees above the equator.
The airfield consists of three asphalt runways with concrete turn-up areas. All runways are accessible by taxiways with a stabilized overrun area approximately 700-1000 feet. Runway 07 is the designated instrument/calm winds runway and will normally be used when surface winds are less than 10 knots, or at other times when it is operation ally advantageous. Field elevation is 6 feet above mean sea-level (MSL).
As the Navy's premier pilot training facility for transient tactical aviation squadrons Key West offers great weather and air space. It maintains and operate facilities, provide essential services to customers and ensure the highest affordable quality of life for the service member and their families while stationed in Key West. The population consists of 1,650 active-duty; 2,507 family members; 35 Reserve; and 1,312 civilians.
The Naval Air Station support the Navy's air units and is host to many tenant commands, including Joint Interagency Task Force East. The housing facilities and RV park are located at Sigsbee Park, as well as the Navy Exchange and Commissary. The single service member housing is located at Trumbo Point (E-4 and below) and Truman Annex (E-5 and above). The Combined Bachelor Quarters is also located on Trumbo Point and is very visible from North Roosevelt, with its "FLY NAVY" printed on the building. Truman Annex has a sandy beach and is the location of the Joint Interagency Task Force East.
The Naval Air Station has several annexes which are located in Key West itself. NAS Key West consists of five different bases. Driving from the mainland take the Florida Turnpike South to Key West (follow the picture of an "Orange Sun" on the information signs in the Miami area) then at Florida City take U.S. #1 south. Approximately 2-1/2 hours later you have arrived when you see the golf ball shaped tower on the left. This is Naval Air Station Key West, Boca Chica where most operations occur. At mile marker #8 at the information sign reads "N.A.S. Next Exit" - take an immediate right at the off ramp. Just in case you drive past the off ramp, there is a turn around about 1/2 mile down the road.
Key West's history hints of Spanish explorers, 19th Century pirates, ship wrecks and prospering salvages, cigar factories, sponge diving, fishing, shrimp fleets, and visitors ranging from U.S. Presidents to vacationing families. It has sustained Navy activity since 1823. The Naval Air Station on Boca Chica Key, northeast of Key West, provides support to the Navy's finest air units.
The Naval Station Annex was formerly used by the Navy, with pier D-1 was used for berthing aviation fuel tankers and pier D-3 accommodating the Navy Hydrofoil Squadron. The Naval Station Annex is in operational use by the Coast Guard. Pier D-2 accommodates the Key West Coast Guard headquarters and provides berthing for its vessels.
The status of the deep water facilities on the western shore of Key West has been affected by the decline in Navy usage of the port in the recent past, starting with excessing of the Naval Station at Fort Taylor (referred to locally as Truman Annex) in March 1974. This has produced a deterioration in the facilities offered by the port, though there has been some reversal of this trend and many of these limitations may gradually be rectified.
Only the North Mole at Truman Annex is in regular use for berthing deep draft vessels including visiting Navy ships. The former submarine and repair piers inside the basin are used for berthing small craft, and in the early 1980s the quays and mole were littered with impounded craft from the 1980 Cuban refugee incident.
Commander, Joint Interagency Task Force - East (JIATF-East) is a Joint Services/Agencies Command whose mission is to provide the necessary operations for detection, monitoring, and deterrence of drug smuggling operations.
Naval Air Station Key West maintains and operates facilities and provide service and materials to support operation of aviation activities as designated by the Chief of Naval Operations. Additionally, the Commanding Officer, NAS Key West, is the area coordinator for COMNAVBASEJAX Area Bravo III.
Caribbean Regional Operating Center (CARIBROC) provides navigational assistance, radar advisories and communications control necessary for the tracking and correlation of air traffic of special interest to insure intelligence necessary for CINCLANT operations to protect the Atlantic Command.
Naval Air Warfare Center Detachment Key West supports the mission of the parent command in providing staging area, engineering support, and access to open ocean environments for development/engineering test and evaluation of prototype, antisubmarine, navigation an other pertinent system developments within the scope of the Naval Air Warfare Center Detachment.
Fighter Squadron One Zero One (VF-1O1) Detachemnt's mission is to train pilots, radar intercept officers, and enlisted maintenance personnel in the operation and employment of the supersonic F-14A and A-Plus Tomcat Fighters.
The Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment (NAVLANTMETOCDET KEY WEST) is located at the NAS Key West Operations Building (A-244) in rooms 218-223. The office is staffed 24 hours a day with forecasting services available 7 days a week from 0530L to 1730L. After hours forecasting services are provided by the Sub-Regional Forecasting (SRF) center at the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Facility (NAVLANTMETOCFAC) in Jacksonville, Florida. Forecasting services do, however, become available around the clock upon the setting of Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness III by NAS Key West and remain in effect until the Condition of Readiness reverts to IV or V.
Cudjoe Key AFS provides surveillance radar coverage of south Florida, the Keys, western Bahamas, Florida Straits, and southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Truman Annex activities include Naval Security Group Activity Key West (NSGA), 6947th ESS (USAF), 749th Military Intelligence Company (USA) and Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).
Trumbo Point Annex activities include U.S. Coast Guard Group Key West, Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) (Fleming Key), Naval Legal Service Office Detachment (NLSOD), and U.S. Army Special Forces Waterborne Operations Division (SFWOD).
Marine Corrosion Test Facility: Located on Fleming Key at Key West, Florida, this facility offers an ocean-air environment and clear, unpolluted, flowing seawater for studies of environmental effects on materials. Equipment is available for experiments involving weathering, general corrosion, fouling, and electrochemical phenomena, as well as coatings, cathodic protection devices, and other means to combat environmental degradation.
The Marine Corrosion Facility is located on the Naval Air Station, Trumbo Point Annex, adjacent to Key West, FL. The laboratory has an unparalleled database for natural seawater exposure testing and marine-related materials evaluation. It receives a plentiful, unpolluted supply of natural undisturbed Gulf of Mexico seawater throughout the year. The tropical climate is ideally suited for marine exposure testing and provides minimal climatic variation, with a stable biomass throughout the year. The laboratory has more than 1000 ft of waterfront access, natural "blue" ocean-quality seawater access, a 2500-ft 2 atmospheric test site, and more than 14,000 ft 2 of laboratory facilities.
NAS Key West dedicated the opening of its new air traffic control tower on Feb. 1, 2005. The air tower was part of a larger contract to replace the 50-year old tower and air operations building at NAS Key West's Boca Chica Field. The new tower was built by Sauer Construction Company in just under two years and cost approximately $9.3 million. Key West air traffic controllers began moving into the nearly 100-foot tall tower earlier last month, and it became operational the week prior. The old tower and operations building were scheduled to be demolished once NAS Key West operations department personnel finished moving furniture and equipment into the new Air Operations building.
Key West is located 153 miles southwest of Miami and 90 miles north of Cuba making it the southernmost city in the continental United States. Key West lies at the western end of a 125 mile chain of keys or low islands which extends southwestward from the southeastern tip of mainland Florida. The Keys are linked by the Overseas Highway whose bridges and causeways straddle the numerous gaps in the chain. The average elevation of the Florida Keys is 5 feet above mean sea level. Key West is mostly 6 to 8 feet in the east, rising in the west to a plateau on the site of the old town of 12 to 18 feet.
Key West is an island city some 4 miles long by 2 miles wide, located at the end of U.S. Highway 1, approximately 160 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. The name is derived from the mispronunciation of the Spanish "Cayo Hueso," which means Bone Island. The city of Key West is the county seat of Monroe County and has a resident population of 26,842. The principal industry is tourism reflected by a 1996 study estimates that 1,500,000 tourist visit Key West annually. Key West borders the Atlantic Ocean on the east side, and the Gulf of Mexico on the west, and is well known for its spectacular sunsets.
The Florida Keys are a chain of islands extending southwesterly from the southeast coast of the Florida Peninsula. The closest point from Boca Chica Key to the Florida mainland is Cape Sable, approximately 55 miles to the northeast. Cuba is 90 miles to the south at its closest point. Boca Chica Key is approximately three miles long and two and one-half miles wide. The Key is covered with a thin film of soil interspersed with tidal ponds. The sub-soil is limestone, freely mixed with coral and marl fill. Vegetation is limited to dense mangroves and scattered clusters of small trees; the exception being landscaped areas covered with grass and dotted with coconut palms.
Key West has a notably mild tropical-maritime climate due in no small part to its proximity to the Florida Current located in the Straits of Florida approximately 12 miles to the south and southeast, and the tempering effects of the Gulf of Mexico to the west and north. The average temperature during the winter is only 13 degrees lower than in the summer. There is no known record of frost, ice, sleet, or snow in Key West. Prevailing easterly trade winds suppress the usual summertime heating. Diurnal variations throughout the year average only about ten degrees.
There are two distinct and alternating seasons in Key West; dry and wet. The dry season extends from December through April during which NAS Key West receives abundant sunshine and approximately 22% of its annual rainfall (yearly average is slightly over 40 inches). This rainfall usually occurs in advance of cold fronts.
The rainy season is from May through October. During this period, the numerous showers and thunderstorms account for over three-quarters of the average annual rainfall, with early morning being the most favorable time for showers. Easterly waves are common during this season and bring an abundance of rainfall. The Hurricane season coincides with the rainy season and extends from 1 June through 30 November -- middle August to early October are the months with the highest probability of a tropical disturbance affecting the Key West area.
Flying weather is exceptionally good with marginal weather occurring less than one percent of the time. While humidity remains relatively high during the entire year, fog is quite rare, occurring only once or twice per year.
Thunderstorms occur in the Key West area every month of the year, but are most prominent during the months of July, August and September. The most prevalent type of thunderstorm is the air mass which occurs during the warmer months. In general, little thunderstorm activity takes place from dawn to mid-day. Air mass thunderstorms will normally begin development around mid afternoon and reach maximum intensity shortly after sunset when radiational cooling aloft allows for more convection. Thunderstorms activity can continue well into the evening and early morning hours. Additionally, isolated thunderstorms observed on the horizon may move through the Keys just prior to dawn. Wind gusts from 25 to 34 knots can be expected. Strong wind gusts (in excess of 50 knots) rarely accompany the summer.
Florida Bay is considered the waterspout capital of the world as this area annually experiences from 50 to 500 waterspouts. Waterspouts are most common from May through October; although sightings have been reported during all months of the year. Waterspouts tend to from on days with high temperatures and humidity, and relatively calm wind. They most often develop from lines of cumulus congestus clouds that seemingly run parallel to the Keys though infrequent sightings have also occurred from small trade cumulus with tops less than 15,000 feet.
The National Weather Service has identified Key West as the most hurricane-prone area in the United States. Recent events, and the lack of hurricane activity within 150 nm of Key West, may lead one to believe otherwise. Nonetheless, hurricanes are of grave importance to the residence of the Keys; especially in view of the fact that the only land-based egress to a safe haven is the Overseas Highway (USl). The Florida State Emergency Management Agency indicates a minimum of 36 hours for residence to evacuate the Keys.
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