THROUGH THE LENS: NAF El Centro 2017
Report and photos: Steven Valinski
December 22, 2017
Originally Marine Corps Air Station El Centro, NAF El Centro had several names (Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Naval Air Station, and the National Parachute Test Range) before becoming a Naval Air Station in 1979. With an average of only 2.96 inches of rainfall each year and many clear sunny days, NAF El Centro is an ideal base for squadrons to train year-round. In addition to the great weather, the close proximity to great bombing/gunnery ranges and military operations areas (MOAs) attracts units from the U.S. Navy, USMC, and other U.S. and non-U.S. squadrons to train at NAF El Centro. The most common squadrons that train there fly the F/A-18, EA-18 and T-45 with UK helicopter units training there often as well. The base achieved celebrity status in 2011 when Prince Henry of Wales, known as Prince Harry, spent some time there for Exercise Crimson Eagle to train in the British Army’s Apache AH Mk1 helicopter.
Naval Air Facility El Centro is located just outside the city of El Centro, California, about 110 miles east of San Diego and 72 miles west of Yuma, AZ. NAF El Centro is also the winter home of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. NAF El Centro is the site of an annual air show that features the initial air show circuit performance of the Blue Angels.
According to NAF El Centro’s command: The vision for Naval Air Facility El Centro is to be the Navy’s premier tactical training air installation – providing world class operations, world class facilities and the highest quality of life for our personnel and their families.
APD visited the base in November 2017 to give you a look at NAF El Centro, “THROUGH THE LENS”…
Here is a selection of photos from previous visits to NAF El Centro: