NAVAL AIR STATION, KINGSVILLE
NAVAL AIR STATION, KINGSVILLE. The Naval Air Station, Kingsville, was the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Kingsville, prior to August 9, 1968, when it was redesignated a naval air station. When it was commissioned in July 1942 it was one of three advanced air-training bases of the Naval Air Training Command. At that time its facilities were 85 percent complete; the field did not have a name, being officially designated as "P-4." During World War II four squadrons taught fighter and bomber tactics at the station as well as gunnery for combat aircrewmen. For a short time the field handled an overflow of basic-training recruits from an Illinois naval-training center. At the end of the war pilot training at the base dropped sharply. In September 1946 the station was closed and turned over to the city of Kingsville, which leased the base to the Texas College of Arts and Industries as an agricultural station. The base was reactivated in April 1951 as an auxiliary air station under the command of the chief of naval air advanced training located at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi. Three training squadrons used the two-seated TF-9J and the single-seated AF-9J. The station trained 300 men a year during the mid-1960s and received $3.8 million under a 1967 military construction bill, which was used to improve operation and maintenance facilities as well as troop housing. On June 28, 1986, the airfield portion of the Naval Air Station was named in honor of Adm. Alva D. Bernhard, who had chosen the site. In 1990 the station was the headquarters for Commander Training Air Wing Two, composed of three jet-training wings that trained 170 Navy and Marine Corps aviators each year. The station employed 900 military and 1,100 civilian personnel with an annual payroll of $45 million. The Naval Air Station at Kingsville also operates the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field at Orange Grove, forty-five miles northwest of Kingsville.