NAS JRB New Orleans, LA HistoryThe first NAS New Orleans (actually NRAB New Orleans) was on the site of what is today the University of New Orleans from its establishment in 1941 to its relocation in 1957. The main mission of NRAB New Orleans I was training reserve naval aviators. The base started small, with only a hangar, barracks for 100, repair shop, and storage for 50,000 gallons of fuel. In 1942 the base expanded quickly to help meet the demand for aviators; two additional barracks, an auditorium, and a ground school for Navy and Marine aviation candidates.
After the war the Navy determined that the site was unsuitable for modern jets; the city of New Orleans was too close for safe operation, and the soil under the runways was very soft and not suitable for jet landings. A new site was selected, which included Alvin Callender Field, a 515-acre site, named for a New Orleans native who served in the British Royal Air Corps in World War One. The field had been cleared in the 1920s to give Charles Lindberg a place to land near New Orleans; Callender Field was dry enough for Navy purposes, and the rest of the site was filled to bring it up to grade. In 1957 the new NAS was relocated; the old site facilities were adapted to a new purpose, housing the University of New Orleans.
Over the next few decades NAS New Orleans acquire the unusual distinction of basing not only Navy and Marine aviation units, but also Coast Guard, Air Guard, US Customs air units, Civil Air Patrol, and an Air Force Reserve Wing. In 1994 the NAS was renamed Naval Air Station Joint Base Reserve New Orleans to better reflect its highly inter-service role. In addition to the many missions of the mentioned services, NAS JRB New Orleans served as the primary staging area for relief and rescue missions during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, as the only functioning air field in the immediate area. This operation saw 10,000 military personnel based at the station and transshipment of over 18 million pounds of relief supplies.
NAS JRB New Orleans continues as a keystone air station for the Gulf region.