Remarks Celebrating Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Centennial Anniversary
U.S. Senate Floor
It’s a special anniversary in Florida that I wanted to commemorate, and it’s that of the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, which is now celebrating its centennial anniversary.
“NAS Pensacola,” as it’s more commonly known, is a Florida institution. It’s really the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.” The first naval airplane flight from Pensacola took place back on February 2, 1914.
There are over 325,000 alums who have gone on to bravely serve with honor in our wars. They’ve also delighted crowds across the country as part of the Blue Angels. They’ve made their mark on the Florida Panhandle and our nation’s defense in the process of doing these things. In fact, one of our colleagues, John McCain, trained there and of course went on to serve not just our country heroically and admirably but also then served us here in the United States Senate.
Others that have passed through there include many NASA astronauts. Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong, among others, began their aviation careers at NAS Pensacola and of course eventually went on to become astronauts that made an impact on American and world history that’s immeasurable.
NAS Pensacola is also the final resting place for thousands of fallen warriors at Barrancas National Cemetery – a place that truly humbles visitors and reminds us to be thankful that America has been blessed with so many courageous patriots throughout our history.
Today, there are over 17,000 service men and women who continue their service to America at NAS Pensacola, and there’s an additional 7,000 civilians who support the base’s operations. They’re part of a real community where parents are raising their kids, and where many veterans who once served there have decided to make it their permanent retirement homes. We’re proud of this in the Florida Panhandle, and it makes our state a better place.
So as the centennial celebrations get underway this weekend, I wanted to join our state and entire nation in celebrating 100 years of military excellence at NAS Pensacola. We truly give thanks to all the brave men and women who have made this military installation a crown jewel of our national defense and contributed to America’s exceptional history.