Naval Air Facility El Centro is one of the multitude of military bases located in California. It was established in the southern part of the state, in Imperial County, only about 10 kilometers away from El Centro. The base is actually an airport and only deals with military operations. It is commanded by Captain James A. Hubbard and operated by the United States Navy. The place plays a major role in the US Navy because of the excellent weather conditions and the wide variety of training ranges around it. Although it is not among the large military bases, it does support a wide variety of facilities.
Naval Air Facility El Centro began its ascension as a Marine Corps station. It was taken over by the US Navy on May, 1-st, 1946. It was one of the changes coming with the end of World War II. Over the years, it changed its name more times. Until the early ’80s, the operations were mostly concentrating on the design, production and testing of escaping systems. The Parachute Experimental Division was one of the first units deployed on site, in the autumn of 1947. Four years later, the Naval Parachute Unit also stepped in, as well as an Air Force group that remained on site for almost three decades.
The military facility didn’t play any major roles throughout the 20-th century. In fact, its military purpose was mostly to design and set up the most advanced escaping devices and systems. It indirectly participated in most of the wars led by the United States of America though.
The base is also popular for the “Jarhead” fans. The movie was released in 2005 and most of it was shot in the immediate proximity of the facility. Besides, many of the archive scenes were actually taken from the local authorities.
Today, things haven’t changed too much at Naval Air Facility El Centro. The base benefits from two long runways, but one of them takes over most of the intensive traffic. It is almost 3 kilometers long. The pilots are free to simulate a lot of techniques due to the professional and advanced lighting technologies, such as the FLOLS. Aside from basic training operations, the pilots use the nearby ranges to test various new techniques. The desert areas allow them to test air to ground attacks, bombing and a multitude of rockets.
During the winter time, the base hosts the Blue Angels, a flight demonstration group working under the US Navy. The first show of the season is always held on site in every March. It is among the most spectacular local events and attracts thousands of viewers.
The facilities at Naval Air Facility El Centro turn the place into a great and warm place for the inhabitants. They benefit from advanced dental and medical offices, a commissary, a wide variety of religious programs and an exchange office.
When interested in killing their time, the troops can relax through a multitude of recreational activities, starting with sports and outdoor activities and ending with movies, snack bars and society clubs.