Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst


Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst

Infobox Airport
name = Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst
nativename = Maxfield Field
nativename-a =
nativename-r =


image-width =
caption =
IATA = NEL
ICAO = KNEL
FAA = NEL
type = Military
owner = United States Navy
operator = Naval Air Systems Command
city-served =
location = Lakehurst, New Jersey
elevation-f = 103
elevation-m = 31
coordinates = Coord|40|02|00|N|074|21|13|W|type:airport|display=inline,title
website =
metric-elev =
metric-rwy =
r1-number = 6/24
r1-length-f = 5,000
r1-length-m = 1,524
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 15/33
r2-length-f = 5,001
r2-length-m = 1,524
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year =
stat1-header =
stat1-data =
stat2-header =
stat2-data =
footnotes =

Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst or NAES Lakehurst Airport codes|NEL|KNEL|NEL, also known as Maxfield Field, is a military airport located three miles (5 km) west of the central business district (CBD) of Lakehurst, in Ocean County, New Jersey, USA. It was formerly Naval Air Station Lakehurst, and later Naval Air Engineering Center Lakehurst. Despite the name, it is actually located in nearby Manchester Township.

History

It is most famous as the site of the Hindenburg Disaster on May 6, 1937. Despite the notoriety and well documented nature of this incident, today there is simply a small white metal flag along with a plaque that denotes the location of the crash in the field behind the large hangars on base.

Prior to this event, the base was also the center of airship development in the United States and housed three of the Navy's four rigid airships, (ZR-1) "Shenandoah", (ZR-3) "Los Angeles", and (ZRS-4) "Akron". A number of the airship hangars built to berth these ships still survive. Hangar One, in which the "Shenandoah" was built, held the record for the largest "single room" in the world. According to an article in the January, 1925 issue of National Geographic Magazine, the airship hangar "could house three Woolworth Buildings lying side by side."

The base housed many Navy blimps in several squadrons before, during, and after WWII, to include the U.S. Navy's last official airship, the ZPG-3W (EZ-1C). The former NAS Lakehurst also hosted the U.S. Navy's first helicopter squadrons; "A" and "C" enlisted training schools for the Aerographer's Mate (AG), Aviation Boatswain Mate (AB, ABE, ABF, ABH), and Parachute Rigger / Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (PR) ratings until their transfer to other Naval Air Technical Training Centers; and an Overhaul & Repair (O&R) facility for fixed-wing aircraft, the forerunner of the former Naval Air Rework Facilities and Naval Aviation Depots (NADEPs) now known as Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs).

Today the base is used for various Naval Aviation development programs.

Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst an activity of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIRSYSCOM) and is part of the Navy Lakehurst / Fort Dix / McGuire AFB Complex.

Mission

Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES) Lakehurst (also known as NAVAIR Lakehurst and/or Navy Lakehurst), is the northeast's largest naval aviation installation and home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, as well as fourteen joint and interagency commands. NAVAIR at NAES Lakehurst is the world leader in Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE) and Support Equipment (SE). Our mission, the Aircraft Platform Interface (API), assures that fixed and vertical wing aircraft operate safely and effectively from aircraft carriers, air capable ships and expeditionary airfields worldwide.

With a rich heritage as the nation's lighter-than-air center, Navy Lakehurst is now the DoD's Aircraft Platform Interface expert.

Lakehurst is the world's only provider of full spectrum support for aircraft launch, recovery and support equipment systems for U.S. and Allied Naval Aviation Forces at sea and Marine Corps Expeditionary Aviation Forces ashore. We provide these services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, both from our base here in New Jersey and aboard our deployed ships and with our Marine Expeditionary Forces. From system development, prototyping and manufacturing, testing, training, and in-service engineering, NAES Lakehurst provides our deployed Navy and Marine Corps aviation forces with "one-stop shopping" for all their Aircraft Platform Interface (API) needs. When it comes to deployed Navy and Marine Corps aviation, the NAES Lakehurst motto says it all: "Without Us, They Don't Go and They Can't Get Back".

NAES Lakehurst is also a joint training and operations base. Host to tenant organizations from Ocean County, the state of New Jersey, the United States Army, United States Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, United States Navy Reserve, United States Public Health Service and the United States Department of Justice, NAES Lakehurst provides unparalleled mission capability for our tenants while making innovative use of tenant reimbursements to buy down the total installation infrastructure cost to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Taxpayer. Finally, NAES Lakehurst is part of a unique, three base "Mega-Base" complex with the Army's Fort Dix and the Air Force's McGuire AFB. All told, the unique contiguous arrangement of these three bases provides resident organizations with over 42,000 acres of unique capabilities to meet their mission needs, while surrounded by 58,000 acres of state and federally managed land to protect against encroachment. As such, coupled with its "Heritage of Service", NAES Lakehurst truly represents a "Model for the Future." [http://www.lakehurst.navy.mil/nlweb/]

Chronology

*1917-1921 Acquired by U.S. Army as an ammunition proving ground. Named Camp Kendrick.
*1921 Commissioned as a Naval Air Station (NAS) Lakehurst. Captain Frank Taylor Evans, USN, is the first Commanding Officer.
*1921-1961 Hosted the country's (and, perhaps, the world's) Lighter Than Air (LTA) Center.
*1937 German Airship Hindenburg catches fire while approaching for a landing.
*1958 The Naval Air Test Facility (NATF) was established.
*1961 The Navy's LTA program was terminated, with final disestablishment no later than 1962.
*1962 The Navy's LTA program is disestablished in November 1962.
*1973 The Naval Air Engineering Center (NAEC) was relocated from Philadelphia as directed by a Shore Establishment Realignment.
*1977 NAS and NATF were disestablished and merged into NAEC.
*1992 The Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) was established. NAEC becomes the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst (NAWCADLKE).
*1994 NAWCADLKE becomes the Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES) for shore station management and the Aircraft Platform Interface (API) Group for technical mission support.
*1994 NAWCADLKE and the rest of the AIRCRAFT DIVISION reorganize into a Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Competency Aligned Organization (CAO).
*1997 The Aircraft Division and Weapons Division are integrated into the Naval Aviation Systems Team's Competency Aligned Organization.
*In February 2004, installation commanders from Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, the Army's Fort Dix, and McGuire Air Force Base formed a partnership to generate joint solutions for common problems between the three contiguous bases and their tenant commands.

In 2005, the United States Department of Defense announced that Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst would be affected by a Base Realignment and Closure. It will be merged with two neighboring military bases, McGuire Air Force Base and Fort Dix, establishing Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. This will be the first base of its kind in the United States.

References

* [http://www.lakehurst.navy.mil/ NAES Lakehurst] (official web site)
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/lakehurst.htm Naval Air Warfare Center, Lakehurst] (from GlobalSecurity.org)
* [http://www.nlhs.com/ Navy Lakehurst Historical Society]
*FAA-airport|ID=NEL|use=PR|own=MN|site=13887.*A

External links

* [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/aviation/ Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]
**FAA-diagram|00223


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