Commander, Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District
The Commander, Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, served the district in a dual capacity: primarily he was the commanding officer of an independent activity under the Commandant, but some of the functions that he performed gave him status as a member of the Commandant's staff.
The Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, Command was established on 1 September 1944 by authority of General Order No. 210. As stipulated in that order, the Naval air bases command was "charged with the military direction end administrative coordination of the several activities assigned thereto, especially as to matters of public works, personnel and technical aviation affecting the development and readiness of such assigned activities."1 The order further stated that the command was an activity under the commandant of the Naval district in which the respective headquarters air station was located, and that the commander of the Naval Air Bases Command was to have, where desirable, additional duty as commanding officer of the headquarters air station.
At its establishment the Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, Command included the following activities:
- NAS (LTA), Houma, Louisiana (Headquarters)
- NAS (LTA), Hitchcock, Texas
- CGAS, Biloxi, Mississippi
- MCAS, Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas
- MCAF, Newport, Arkansas
- MCAF, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
- MCAAF, Rhome Field, Texas
On 30 November 1944 the headquarters of the Commander, Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, were shifted from Houma to the Naval Air Station, Clinton, Oklahoma, which activity had recently come under his command. They were moved hack to Houma on 26 March 1945, where they remained until after the war ended. The shifting of headquarters was done in compliance with Aviation Planning Directives of the Chief of Naval Operations. The history of the Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, Command and the activities that comprised it has already been recorded in detail in the history compiled by the Bureau of Aeronautics and consequently will not be given here.
Although the Commander, Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, was not stationed at district headquarters, he acted in an advisory capacity to the Commandant and maintained direct liaison with many of the district staff officers. He advised the Commandant on all matters pertaining to aviation, his aid in this respect making it unnecessary for the Commandant to have an Aviation Officer on his staff at district headquarters.
The Commander, Naval Air Bases, Eighth Naval District, maintained direct liaison (keeping the Commandant informed) with the Gulf Sea frontier Command, the Fleet Air Command, all Army and Civil Aeronautics Authority operations in the district, and the Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board in order to insure complete familiarity with
plans for joint action and the participation of the Naval Air Bases therein. In liaison with cognizant members of the Commandant's staff he planned, procured, and developed aerial gunnery, bombing, target, and training areas adequate to meet fleet requirements. In coordination with the Assistant Commandant (Logistics) and the District Public Works Officer, he planned, procured, and developed shore facilities adequate to meet the requirements of the Chief of Naval Operations.
He worked in liaison with the District Civilian Personnel Director on the procurement, allocation, and administration of all civilian personnel in a manner to insure maximum utilization of their services at the air bases and to insure the application of a uniform policy of personnel relations. He cooperated with the District Air/Sea Rescue Officer in planning the allocation of aircraft, rescue boats, and other crash equipment to activities within his command to make the air/sea rescue facilities most effective.
He maintained direct liaison with various other members of the Commandant's staff. When his headquarters were moved from Houma on 11 August 1945, the only reason that they were set up at the Naval air Station, New Orleans, instead of at district headquarters is that there was not sufficient room for them in the Federal Building.
1. General Order No. 210, dtd. 10 Aug, 1944.
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