Type of Document Thesis Author Euziere, Melissa Williford URN etd-11172003-232100 Title From Mosquito Clouds to War Clouds: The Rise of Naval Air Station Banana River Degree Master of Arts Department History, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title James P. Jones Committee Chair Elna Green Committee Member V.J. Conner Committee Member Keywords
- World War II
- Brevard County
Date of Defense 2003-11-10 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Naval Air Station Banana River was created as a result of increased military appropriations to defend the Atlantic Coast of the United States of America. The Hepburn Board was charged with finding appropriate sites for new naval installations that could better protect American citizens from attacks along the coastline. After an exhaustive study, a site in Brevard County was selected to become a naval patrol sea plane base. County and city leaders in Brevard rallied around the construction of the Naval Air Station Banana River that they had lobbied the Hepburn Board to bring to their county. They threw their support behind the station throughout its construction and celebrated its commissioning in October 1940. Pearl Harbor brought changes to NAS Banana River as German U-boats stalked the Florida coast and the stationís mission was expanded to include patrol duty, search and rescue, bombardier training, sea-plane pilot training, and communications research. Buildings sprang up in response to the increase in personnel needed to fill all of the programs.
Brevard County welcomed the sailors into their towns, homes, and lives. Although the base itself was isolated, there were a number of activities on and off base to keep the sailors busy. The county was felt the economic impact of the base with an increased number of employment opportunities, a rise in retail and food service profits, and a demand for additional infrastructure to support the station.
Naval Air Station Banana River was deactivated in 1947 to the dismay of the people in Brevard County. Their disappointment did not last long when a few years later the base was reactivated to serve as the headquarters of the newly formed Joint Long Range Proving Ground, a testing site for the American rocket and missile program. The existence of the Naval Air Station Banana River and the infrastructure created to support it helped to bring missile program, and a few years later the space program, to Brevard County.
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