Naval Air Station Quonset Point
|Naval Air Station Quonset Point|
|Aerial view of NAS Quonset Point, 1960s|
|IATA: none – ICAO: KOQU – FAA LID: OQU|
|Owner||United States Navy|
|Serves||North Kingstown, Rhode Island|
|Elevation AMSL||18 ft / 5 m|
Naval Air Station Quonset Point was a United States Naval Base in Quonset Point, Rhode Island that was deactivated in 1974. Next to NAS Quonset Point was Camp Endicott at Davisville, home of the Naval Construction Battalions known as the Seabees. Quonset Point also gave its name to the Quonset hut, a standardized temporary structure used by the U.S. military starting in World War II. Former US President Richard M. Nixon went through basic naval officer training at Quonset Point in 1942.
Commissioned on 12 July 1941, and encompassing what was once Camp Dyer, NAS Quonset Point was a major naval facility throughout World War II and well into the Cold War. Prior to its closure, it had been home to numerous aviation squadrons, primarily those land-based patrol squadrons operating the P-2 Neptune and carrier-based antisubmarine and airborne early warning squadrons operating the S-2 Tracker, the E-1 Tracer and various modified versions of the A-1 Skyraider.
NAS Quonset Point was also the off-season home of Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6) during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, operating the LC-47 Skytrain, LP-2J Neptune, C-54 Skymaster, C-121 Constellation, and eventually the LC-130F and LC-130R Hercules, as well as a variety of helicopters.
In addition to flying squadrons, the air station was also home to a major aircraft overhaul and repair (O & R) facility, later renamed Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) Quonset Point. O & R Facilities, and their later incarnation as NARFs, are the predecessor of the present day Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), previously known as Naval Aviation Depots (NADEPs).
Boasting a deepwater port, NAS Quonset Point was also homeport to several Essex class aircraft carriers, including the USS Essex (CV-9), USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Wasp (CV-18), USS Lake Champlain (CV-39) and USS Tarawa (CV-40), as well as their respective carrier air groups (CAGs or CVSGs). In September 1945, Air Wing Eighteen became Air Wing Seven here.
NAS Quonset Point was decommissioned on 28 June 1974  as part of a series of defense cutbacks which resulted in a nation-wide reduction in bases following the end of the US engagement in Vietnam.
Since the Navy's departure, a small military presence has remained in the form of Quonset Point Air National Guard Station, home to the 143d Airlift Wing (143 AW), an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Rhode Island Air National Guard, operating the C-130J and C-130J-30 Hercules aircraft. The Rhode Island Army National Guard also maintains an adjoining Army Aviation Support Facility for the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, operating the UH-60 Black Hawk.
Now known as Quonset State Airport (IATA: OQU, ICAO: KOQU), the former NAS Quonset Point is a public general aviation airport with tenant Air National Guard and Army National Guard flying activities, as well as an adjacent industrial park. There is no scheduled airline service. The airport lies within Class D airspace and has an operating non-federal air traffic control tower (closed on Mondays) with two active runways, Runway 5/23 and Runway 16/34. Quonset State Airport is one of six active airports operated by the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.