NAS Key West has perfect flying weather year round and unparalleled aerial ranges that offer aircrew training within minutes after takeoff.
The station is equipped with a sophisticated Tactical Combat Training System (TCTS), similar to the one depicted in the popular movie "Top Gun," which tracks and records aerial maneuvers. In addition, NAS Key West is the host facility for numerous tenant activities, including Joint Interagency Task Force South, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army Special Forces Underwater Training School to name a few.
VPP Star Worksite
The best Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in the world are to be found at NAS Key West and its tenant commands. Each of them work diligently daily to ensure that we are responsible stewards of our human, fiscal, material and environmental resources.
On Base Lodging Services
Naval Air Station Key West provides many opportunities for lodging. Whether under orders or vacationing, authorized personnel
can find what they need for quarters at the
southernmost point of the continental U.S.
**Driving directions to each place are at the bottom of the page**
Navy Gateway Inns & Suites
(Also known as the VQ or the Fly Navy Building - at Trumbo Point)
Navy Gateway Inns & Suites are military quarters and active duty personnel under orders have first priority.
-Individuals Under Orders/Space A Travelers - (305) 293-4305/4118
-Groups of 10 or More - (305) 293-4117
Hours of Operation:
-7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. weekdays
-After hours reservations, please call (305) 293-4305
Smoking and pets are not allowed in the building.
MWR Trumbo Point Vacation Rentals
Hours of Operation:
-8 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily
Smoking and pets are not allowed in buildings.
Navy Lodge at Sigsbee Park
-(305) 292-7556 (After hours dial 1-800-NAVYINN)
Hours of Operation:
-7 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily
The U.S. Navy's presence in Key West dates back to 1823 when a Naval Base was established to stop piracy in this area. The lower Keys were home to many wealthy shipping merchants whose fleets operated from these waters. This drew the interest of pirates such as Blackbeard and Captain Jon Kidd, who used the Keys as a base from which to prey on shipping lanes.
The base was expanded during the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War. In 1898, the battleship Maine sailed from Key West to Havana, Cuba, where it sank. The sinking of the Maine resulted in the United States declaring war on Spain, and the entire U.S. Atlantic Fleet moved to Key West for the duration of the war.
During World War I (1914-1918) the base was expanded again and in 1917, a U.S. naval submarine base was established on what is now naval air station property. Its mission during World War I was to supply oil to the U.S. fleet and to block German ships from reaching Mexican oil supplies.
The nation's southernmost Naval Base proved to be an ideal year-round training facility with rapid access to the open sea-lanes and ideal flying conditions. The Navy's forces were expanded to include seaplanes, submarines and blimps. Ground was broken for construction of a small coastal air patrol station, on July 13, 1917, at what is now Trumbo Point, on land leased from the Florida East Coast Railroad Company.
The project involved dredging, erection of station buildings, three seaplane ramps, a dirigible hangar, a hydrogenerator plan, and temporary barracks.
On Sept. 22 of that year, the base's log book recorded the first naval flight ever made from Key West - a Curtis N-9 sea plane flown by Coast Guard Lt. Stanley Parker. About three months later, on Dec. 18, Naval Air Base Key West was commissioned and Lt. Parker became the first Commanding Officer.
Naval Air Base pilots flew in search of German submarines resting on the surface to recharge batteries. The aircraft was armed only with a single machine gun, but gunners were supplied with hand grenades. The slow Curtis biplanes flew low over surfaced subs, and gunners dropped grenades into open conning towers. Naval aviation antisubmarine warfare was born.
On Jan. 18, 1918, the first class of student flight officers arrived for seaplane training, this launched the stations reputation as a premier training site for Naval aviators, which continues today. The base was primarily used for antisubmarine patrol operations and as an elemental flight training station. More than 500 aviators were trained at the station during World War I.
The lessons of war are easily forgotten in peace. After Word War I, the base was decommissioned. Its personnel were released. Most of the buildings were destroyed or dismantled and moved to other locations. The remaining facilities were used only occasionally during 1920-1930 for seaplane training. The station remained inactive until 1939.
The seaplane base was designated as a Naval Air Station Dec. 15, 1940, and served as an operating and training base for fleet aircraft Squadrons. This set the stage for America's entry into World War II. Fortunately, the government retained the property, which proved to be a wise decision as this nation scrambled to re-arm in a state of emergency at the outbreak of World War II.
The base was reopened to support Navy destroyers and PBY aircraft. Other satellite facilities were established to support other war efforts, including Meachim Field for lighter than air operations on Key West, and a runway for land-based aircraft on Boca Chica.
By 1943, German submarines were operating so near Key West that they were sinking allied ships within sight of land. Submarine raids peaked in May of that year, when 49 ships were torpedoed off the coast of Florida. As the war decreased, so did the torpedo raids. In March 1945, the satellite fields were disestablished and combined into one aviation activity designated as U.S. Naval Air Station, Key West.
After the war ended, NAS Key West was retained as a training facility. It responded to the 1962 Cuban Crisis, which posed the first doorstep threat to America in more than a century. Reconnaissance and operational flights were begun Oct. 22, 1962, in support of the blockade around Cuba. During the Cuban Crisis, Key West cemented its claim to the title "Gibraltar of the Gulf," coined a hundred years earlier by Commodore David Porter.
Literally built up from the swamp, all of the NAS Key West sites, including Harry S. Truman Annex, Trumbo Point, Meachum Field, and Boca Chica, were now permanently etched in military history.
On Oct. 5, 2001, Naval Air Station Key West was re-designated as an Air Facility.
On April 1, 2003, the air facility was re-designated as Naval Air Station Key West.