Naval Station Mayport is not just one of the most advanced military bases in the United States Navy, but also one of the most prolific facilities in the entire country. The station is operated by the US Navy and commanded by Captain Douglas F. Cochrane. One of the definitive factors that place it above its “competition” is the local airfield, which is named in the memory of David L. McDonald. It has a long runway – around 2,500 meters – that is entirely paved with asphalt. Almost eight decades of experience got this facility where it is today. It is the third largest and most important base in the United States of America if you judge by the concentration of ships. In fact, the base can easily host around 35 ships, not to mention about its local airfield with a runway that can support absolutely any aircraft out there.
The base is located in Jacksonville, in the northeastern part of Florida. There are three such installations in Jacksonville, but NS Mayport is the most important one. The excellent location is the reason for so many bases concentrated in the area.
Located between the ocean and the inland waters, this area has been a very attractive and strategical point on the map for centuries already. It was a great military place for all the nations that took over this part of the country. However, the official American base has a more recent history. Around 1938, with years before World War II, the government was looking for a good spot to establish a base for the United States Navy in the southeastern part of the country. The requirements for the new base were pretty high, so a few spots were actually left in the final competition. Jacksonville seemed to be the most appropriate one. The construction began in 1939. It was finished just in time, as the United States of America joined World War II after the Pearl Harbor attacks. The base was finally opened and activated in December, 1942.
After World War II, NS Mayport was deactivated and activated back for a few times. It became more important during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was also taken through an impressive round of upgrades.
One of the most notable events in the history is the arrival of Spirit of 76 in February, 1973. The president got on site to greet his son-in-law after a mission a lot of people contested. During those days, the base was by far the most popular one in the country. It hit absolutely every national newspaper.
When counting the units on site, a lot of officials also count the ships. There are four aircraft squadrons – Vipers, Jaguars, Airwolves and Grandmasters. There are also around twenty ships there, split in cruisers, frigates and destroyers. Some of the most popular ones include the USS Boone, the USS Philippine Sea, the USS The Sullivans and the USS Samuel B. Roberts. The tenant units are not that significant, except for the Fourth Fleet, which was recently reactivated after being “out” for more than half a century.