Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian is a military station operated by the United States Navy and located in Mississippi. The base is actually a military airport. It spreads over two different counties – Kemper and Lauderdale. It is one of the primary training spots for the US Navy, mostly because it deals with jet strike training operations. There are only two such bases in the United States of America and the other one is located in Texas – Naval Air Station NAS Kingsville. With such limited possibilities, the importance of these spots is vital. Besides, one major disadvantage NAS Kingsville comes with is the impossibility to support operations over water due to the inland location. The base is run by Captain Charles Gibson.
NAS Meridian is not one of those military bases established right before the United States of America joined World War II. The country was significantly improved during those early years while preparing for the war. Plenty of similar bases were built in the most strategical spots on the map, while the older ones were renovated and reinforced. In fact, the base became official in 1961 only. The work began in 1957, while the final shovel of earth was marked on July, 14-th, 1961. It took the Americans four years to build this advanced base, not to mention about the $60 millions they invested. John C. Stennis – a US senator – was invited to talk about the upcoming missions at the groundbreaking ceremony. The base had a different name when it was opened – McCain Field. The name was given in the memory of John S. McCain, Senior. The first unit that inhabited the base was the Training Squadron 7. The base kept growing in an amazing ascension. It took it seven years only to become a complete naval air station with all the required services, facilities and missions.
NAS Meridian was taken through a few major upgrades in the early ’80s. By 1984, it became one of the top military installations and was chosen among the model bases by the Department of Defense.
Today, in the 21-st century, the objectives of this military base have not changed too much. It is responsible for comprehensive and professional training sessions, not to mention about providing an excellent service and great facilities to all the inhabitants in a safe and pleasant environment.
Although there are only two jet strike training bases in the United States of America and NAS Kingsville has some particular limitations, there are less units hosted at NAS Meridian. The base can brag with five permanent units only. The most important one is the Training Air Wing 1. The other units include the Squadron 1 of the Marine Aviation Training Support, the Training Squadron 9, the Training Squadron 7 and the Naval Technical Training Center. The aviation school is among the most advanced ones in the country, with an impressive number of students graduating every year.
There are multiple smaller units on site too, but they are mostly temporary.