Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Nantucket

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Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Nantucket
Nantucket, Massachusetts in United States
Coordinates41°15′10″N 70°03′32″W / 41.25278°N 70.05889°W / 41.25278; -70.05889Coordinates: 41°15′10″N 70°03′32″W / 41.25278°N 70.05889°W / 41.25278; -70.05889
Site information
OwnerUnited States Department of Defense
OperatorUnited States Navy
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1942 (1942)
In use1945 (1945)
FateTurned over to civilian use
Battles/warsWorld War II
Airfield information
Elevation13 metres (43 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
6/24 1,219 metres (3,999 ft) Asphalt
15/33 1,219 metres (3,999 ft) Asphalt

Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Nantucket was a United States Navy facility located in Nantucket, Massachusetts operational from 1942 to 1945. It existed as an auxiliary air facility of Naval Air Station Quonset Point.[1][2]


In 1940, Naval Air Station Quonset Point was established in nearby Rhode Island. Due to the Navy's need to expand to 27,500 aircraft, it was decided to build multiple auxiliary air facilities, including one in Nantucket. The Navy decided to lease the existing Nobadeer Airport, which totaled 572 acres. The proposed facility would have a refueling station and emergency support for one-half of an Air Carrier Group of the Eastern Sea Frontier Command.[3]

Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Nantucket was commissioned on 13 September 1943, and consisted of the construction of two 4,000 foot runways, five barracks for 100 enlisted men, a mess for both enlisted men and officers, one hangar, magazine huts, and a sewage disposal unit. Although it was created to provide support for the Eastern Sea Frontier Command, records indicate that it was being used before it was commissioned, and was afterward a staging point for training of all kinds from NAS Quonset Point. The facility was later improved in or around the date of commissioning with stabilized roads for the transportation of ammunition and loaded aircraft, for use in an experimental rocket training program carried out at the 2,896 acre Tom Nevers Target Area, also known as the Nantucket Ordnance Site.[3]

Over the next two years, various improvements were added to the site, including a firehouse, a gasoline storage facility, hangars for planes in one squadron, steel magazines, and 14,089 yards of parking space. Additionally, additional ammunition magazines were added in June 1945, and a control tower was added the same year along with other buildings. Training also occurred at Tom Nevers, and the Hummock Pond Aerial Target Range and the Sheep Pond Rocket Training Range, both located nearby the facility. A water range was also located a half of a mile south of the island in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore of Surfside.[3]

Rocket training at the station ceased on 1 September 1945 when the ranges were secured, and two weeks later, operations ceased at the base. The facility was decommissioned on 1 December 1945, and disestablished on 15 January 1946. The facility was declared surplus on 17 April, and released to the town of Nantucket on 15 May.[3]


Today, the field operates as Nantucket Memorial Airport.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b "Massachusetts Naval Air Bases, Coast Guard Bases, Military & Auxiliary Air Fields 1923-1945". Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society. 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Early Aviation on Nantucket". Nantuckeet Historical Association. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Archives Search Report Conclusions and Recommendations for Nantucket Municipal Airport former Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Nantucket" (PDF). United States Army Ammunition Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2004. Retrieved 15 July 2014.