Naval Air Station Pensacola or NAS Pensacola (IATA: NPA, ICAO: KNPA, FAA LID: NPA) (formerly NAS/KNAS until changed circa 1970 to allow Nassau International Airport, now Lynden Pindling International Airport, to have IATA code NAS), "The Cradle of Naval Aviation", is a United States Navy base located next to Warrington, Florida, a community southwest of the Pensacola city limits. It is best known as the initial primary training base for all Navy, Marine and Coast Guard aviators and Naval Flight Officers, the advanced training base for most Naval Flight Officers, and as the home base for the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the precision-flying team known as the Blue Angels. Because of contamination by heavy metals and other hazardous materials during this history, it is designated as a Superfund site needing environmental cleanup.
The air station also hosts the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) and the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI), which provides training for all naval flight surgeons, aviation physiologists, and aviation experimental psychologists. With the closure of Naval Air Station Memphis in Millington, Tennessee and the transition of that facility to Naval Support Activity Mid-South, NAS Pensacola also became home to the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC), providing technical training schools for nearly all enlisted aircraft maintenance and enlisted aircrew specialties in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. The NATTC facility at NAS Pensacola is also home to the USAF Detachment 1, a GSU whose home unit is the 359th TRS located at Eglin AFB. Detachment 1 trains over 800 Airmen annually in three structural maintenance disciplines: Low Observable, Non-Destructive Inspection, and Aircraft Structural Maintenance.
NAS Pensacola contains Forrest Sherman Field, home of Training Air Wing SIX, providing undergraduate flight training for all prospective Naval Flight Officers for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and flight officers/navigators for other NATO/Allied/Coalition partners. TRAWING SIX consists of the Training Squadron 4 (VT-4) Warbucks, Training Squadron 10 (VT-10) Wildcats and Training Squadron 86 (VT-86) Sabrehawks, flying the T-45C Goshawk, and T-6A Texan II.
A select number of prospective U.S. Air Force Navigator/Combat Systems Officers, destined for certain fighter and bomber aircraft, were previously trained via TRAWING SIX, with command of VT-10 rotating periodically to a USAF officer. Today, all USAF Undergraduate CSO Training (UCSOT) for all USAF aircraft is consolidated at NAS Pensacola as a strictly USAF organization and operation under the 479th Flying Training Group (479 FTG), an Air Education and Training Command (AETC) unit. The 479 FTG is a tenant activity at NAS Pensacola and a geographically separated unit (GSU) of the 12th Flying Training Wing (12 FTW) at Randolph AFB, Texas. The 479 FTG operates USAF T-6A Texan II and T-1A Jayhawk aircraft.
Other tenant activities include the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, flying F/A-18 Hornets and a single USMC C-130T Hercules; and the 2nd German Air Force Training Squadron USA (German: 2. Deutsche Luftwaffenausbildungsstaffel USA – abbreviated “2. DtLwAusbStff”). A total of 131 aircraft operate out of Sherman Field, generating 110,000 flight operations each year.
The National Naval Aviation Museum (formerly known as the National Museum of Naval Aviation), the Pensacola Naval Air Station Historic District, the National Park Service-administered Fort Barrancas and its associated Advance Redoubt, and the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum (see Pensacola Light) are all located at NAS Pensacola, as well as Barrancas National Cemetery.