VIRGINIA BEACH — Naval Air Station Oceana has had a significant impact on not only our nation’s security and defense, but also an enormous impact on this city, being its second largest employer.
In observance of the Master Jet Base’s 75th Anniversary, the Navy League of the United States, Hampton Roads has organized a one-day symposium and gala, which will be held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on Aug. 16.
The base was commissioned in August 1943, as World War II raged across Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific.
In its earliest days NAS Oceana covered just 328 acres, many of them unpaved mud flats. Today it sits on some 6,000 acres and has more than seven miles of runways that are used by the 18 squadrons of F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets based there.
NAS Oceana, including the Dam Neck Annex, has about 14,600 active Navy and 2,000 civilian personnel, making it the second largest employer in Virginia Beach.
“NAS Oceana is one of the most important contributors to the economy, not just of Virginia Beach, but of the Commonwealth and I’m honored to participate in events celebrating its 75th anniversary,” said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren Harris, who will speak during one of the symposiums. “Home to the East Coast Master Jet Base, NAS Oceana generates 16,000 jobs with a total payroll of more than $1.18 billion. It produces more than $400 million in goods and services each year.”
These are among the reasons the city developed the “YesOceana” Program in 2005 when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission included NAS Oceana on its list of recommended base closures, he said.
“We were determined to save the base from closing by rolling back encroachments around it and encouraging compatible businesses to locate to those areas. It worked, and it is a story I am looking forward to sharing as part of the symposium,” Harris said.
The Aug. 16 observance will be divided into two events.
Registration for the first, a day-long symposium that is free and open to the public, begins at 8 a.m. Topics that will be presented include: Future Forecast for Navy Air: Technology, Platforms and Sensors; The Future of the Aircraft Carrier; Naval Aviation: Transformation and Training Systems; The Economic Impact and Challenges of Navy Installations; and The Future of the Enlisted Force.
The second part of the day is the 75th Anniversary Gala. Registration for that event begins at 5:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online prior to the Gala.
Sixteen of NAS Oceana’s F-18 squadrons are typically deployed on carriers and at times into areas of combat, while two are permanently based at Oceana, including the adversary squadron.
The Navy League is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in the state, working to support the Sea Services.