Saufley Field, located about ten miles north of NAS Pensacola and about eight miles west of Pensacola Regional Airport, is used for practice landings and take-offs ("touch and go's") by training aircraft from other fields. Geographically separated from, but a tenant of NAS Pensacola, Saufley Field has evolved into a multi-functional, joint use facility. In addition to serving as a Navy Outlying Field (NOLF) in support of Training Air Wings 5 and 6, Saufley is home for several organizations that have moved in to take advantage of the facility's infrastructure.
Saufley Field opened in 1940. It was commissioned in 1943 as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station and was redesignated a Naval Air Station in 1968. It was decommissioned in 1976 and designated an outlying landing field. It was reactivated in 1979 as Naval Education and Training Program Development Center (NAVEDTRAPRODEVCEN) and an outlying field for NAS Whiting Field pilot training. In 1996, Saufley Field became Naval Education and Training Professional Development and Technology Center (NETPDTC), a major shore command. As the host of Saufley Field, NETPDTC supports 10 major DoD and Navy tenants and has a total base population in excess of 1,000. Saufley operates two active runways and has in excess of 34,425 square feet of hangar space.
The current T-34C will be replaced by the newly acquired turbo prop T-6A aircraft and associated training system equipment, known as the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS). Several military construction projects, consisting of upgrades or modifications to existing facilities, were proposed at NAS Whiting Field to support the JPATS. NOLFs to be used by the JPATS aircraft include NOLF Barin, Alabama; NOLF Brewton, Alabama; NOLF Evergreen, Alabama; NOLF Saufley, Florida; and NOLF Choctaw, Florida.
Naval Education & Training Program Development & Technology Center (NETPDTC): a subordinate command of the Chief of Naval Education & Training (CNET) whose mission is to create and provide innovative education and training products and services contributing to the development of the professional warrior. They are the Navy's sole administrator for the Enlisted Advancement Program, Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps/Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC/NJROTC), Program Administrator (58 colleges and 435 high schools nationwide), Chaplain Improvement Program, Naval Education & Training Command Automated Information System, Navy Voluntary Education Program, Navy General Library Program, worldwide network of voluntary education for servicemembers and the development/procurement of prototypes and new instructional technologies. Additionally, NETPDTC provides the Naval Education & Training Command with the planning, designing, operation and maintenance of training information systems and automatic data processing capability.
The Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES), the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Financial Systems Activity (DFAS-FSAPE), the Naval Reserve Center (NRC), and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) also call Saufley Field home. DANTES supports voluntary education by administering nontraditional education programs. The NRC supports approximately 500 drilling reservists providing recruiting, training and administrative support to assigned Selected Reserve Units and other participating reservists to ensure mobilization readiness.
Defense Financial Accounting Systems Activity (DFAS): a 220-person organization that conducts software development to support Department of Defense (DOD) Pay System and the Defense Travel Pay System. DFAS-FSAPE designs, develops, acquires, tests, operates, and maintains information systems applications and provides information technology.
Federal Prison Camp (FPC): the Federal Prison System operates and maintains a Level One minimum-security prison for approximately 500 prisoners. The prisoners are used as a labor force to support various self-help programs at area bases under the management and control of a 100 person staff.
Additional tenants include the NAS Whiting Field Crash Crew, NAS Pensacola Fire Station, Mini-Navy Exchange, Morale, Welfare & Recreation Detachment Corry Station, NAVAIR Warfare Training System Office, County Redirections School and a Naval Reserve Center.
Saufley Field is an area of approximately 657 acres (plus 209 acres undeveloped, mostly wetlands) and currently has about 600,000 square feet of building space with two (2) 4000-foot runways used by the Navy as an NOLF. In addition to 63 buildings, there are three aircraft hangars (one of which is used by the FPC) on the facility.
In 1933, the Navy leased land 12 miles northwest of NAS Pensacola for an outlying field (OLF). At that time it was known as Felton's Farm field. In 1940, after acquiring 867 acres there, the Navy renamed the site Saufley Field and hosted an instrument flight instructors school as well as a fighter training squadron there. The field was named in honor of Lt(j.g.) Richard C. Saufley, Naval Aviator #14, who lost his life in 1916 while attempting to set an endurance flight record.
Later that same year (1940), primary flight training began at Saufley Field, and in 1941 fighter training was moved from Saufley Field to NAS Pensacola. Then, in 1942, the instrument training program, with some 100 SNJs and 35 Link trainers, was transferred to NAS Atlanta, Georgia. The void left at Saufley Field soon was filled with a basic training squadron, but then again in 1943 primary training moved out after completing 141,000 flight hours without a single fatality. At that time, Saufley field was commissioned an Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS).
For the rest of World War II, Saufley Field was used for a variety of training in PBY5A, SBD, SNJ, and N2S aircraft. The field had a large, rectangular asphalt mat (still visible today) and four runways-the longest being 6,100 feet.
Saufley Field remained open after the war, largely due to the substantial building structures erected on the base. Carrier qualification training moved to Saufley Field from NAS Glenview, Illinois, and the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) terminal eventually transferred there from Corry Field.
In the early 1950's Saufley Field was the only all-weather field in the Pensacola area, and today it is the site of the Saufley VOR, the primary radionavigation aid in the Pensacola area. Also in the 1950's, Saufley Field units taught tactical training (formation flying) for the Naval Air Basic Training Command. In 1956, that tactics course moved to NAS Whiting Field, and Whiting's primary training function in turn shifted to Saufley Field.
During the height of the Vietnam War, on July 31, 1968, Saufley Field became a full-fledged naval air station. By 1976 cutbacks were directed and the Navy consolidated flight instruction at fewer bases. On September 27, 1976, the last T-34B Mentor left Saufley. It was followed the next day by the last station aircraft, a T-28 Trojan. Thus, primary training was transferred to NAS Whiting Field.
The Navy's implementation of the new Navy Integrated Flight Training System took place in late 1976. The need for squadrons at Saufley was eliminated. Thus VTs 1 and 5 were decommissioned. Saufley was disestablished as a naval air station on December 1. Tenant activities at Ellyson Field (Ellyson had been declared excess) were moved to Saufley. The base now is the home of the Naval Education and Training Program Development Center.
It would also realign Saufley Field, FL, by relocating Navy Education and Training Professional Development & Technology Center to Naval Support Activity Millington, TN. Realignment of Navy Education and Training Command (NETC) and Navy Education and Training Professional Development & Technology Center (NETPDTC) to Naval Support Activity Millington would collocate these activities with common functions (Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Manpower Analysis Center, and Navy Personnel Research and Development Center) and facilitate the creation of a Navy Human Resources Center of Excellence. By relocating NETC and NETPDTC within the hub of naval personnel activities, this recommendation would eliminates personnel redundancies and excess infrastructure capacity. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 1,878 jobs (738 direct jobs and 1,140 indirect jobs) in the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area (0.9 percent).