Patrick Space Force Base
Patrick Space Force Base (1940-Active) - A U.S. Space Force Base first established in 1940 as Naval Air Station Banana River at Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, Florida. It was deactivated as a naval installation in 1947 and transferred to the Air Force in late 1948. In 1950, the base was renamed Patrick Air Force Base in honor of Major General Mason M. Patrick. General Patrick served as Chief of Air Service, American Expeditionary Force in World War I. Renamed Patrick Space Force Base in 2020 after the U.S. Space Force was established in 2019. Active U.S. Space Force Base.
Pre World War II
Authorized by the Naval Expansion Act of 1938, Naval Air Station Banana River was commissioned on 1 Oct 1940 as a subordinate base of the Naval Air Operational Training Command at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. The Navy bought 1,900 acres of marginal land south of Cocoa Beach for the new Naval Air Station.
With the advent of war with Japan and Germany in December 1941, the Navy began anti-submarine patrols along the Florida coast using PBY Catalina and PBM Mariner seaplanes based at this facility. PBMs returned to training duty in March 1942 when replaced on patrol by OS2U Kingfisher seaplanes. Landing strips were constructed in 1943. Various military-related activities took place at NAS Banana River, including maritime patrol aviation operations against German U-Boats, air search, and rescue operations, patrol bomber bombardier training, seaplane pilot training, and communications research.
Other activities included a blimp squadron detachment, an Aviation Navigation Training School, and an experimental training unit termed Project Baker, a confidential program that developed and tested instrument landing equipment. NAS Banana River hosted a major aircraft repair and maintenance facility. At its peak, the base complement included 278 aircraft, 587 civilian employees, and over 2800 officers and enlisted personnel.
Post World War II
NAS Banana River closed in September 1947 after a gradual deactivation and was placed in a caretaker status. In September 1948 the facility was transferred to the U.S. Air Force. Several of NAS Banana River's original structures, including runway segments, certain hangars, support buildings, seaplane parking areas, and seaplane ramps into the Banana River remain part of modern-day Patrick Space Force Base.
Patrick Air Force Base
NAS Banana River was transferred to the United States Air Force on 1 Sep 1948 and was first renamed the Joint Long Range Proving Ground on 10 Jun 1949. The installation was renamed Patrick Air Force Base in August 1950.
From 1966 to 1975, the Space Coast was the second most visited spot by VIPs, after Washington, DC, a result of the Space Program. A protocol officer was assigned to Patrick to coordinate these visits, about 3 weekly consisting of 10 to 150 people.
The 9/11 attacks prompted the Air Force to close the heavily used four-lane State Road A1A, which ran alongside the base and immediately in front of the AFTAC Headquarters building. A1A was later reopened to two-lane traffic with car inspections, followed by two-lane traffic without inspections until a barrier was constructed in front of the building and the building was reinforced with steel and concrete with the windows sealed.
In February 2005, the Patrick AFB Officers Club was destroyed by an accidental fire.
In 2010, the Air Force announced its intention to replace the existing AFTAC building in front of State Road A1A with a new facility that would cost between $100 to $200 million. At the time of this announcement, this constituted the largest single Air Force construction project in the United States. The project was completed in 2014.
See separate article on the Patrick Air Force Base Radar Site (1957-1996)
See a separate article on the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (1949-Active). Located just north of Patrick Space Force Base and is supported by them. The Space Force Station supports and operates the three active launch pads, many inactive launch pads, and a 10,000' Skid Strip (airfield). The Air Force Space and Missile Museum is located at Launch Complex 26.
In December 2020, Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station were renamed as the first installations of the U.S. Space Force. Patrick Space Force Base is home to Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45), now under the new United States Space Force.
Several of NAS Banana River's original structures, including runway segments, certain hangars, support buildings, seaplane parking areas, and seaplane ramps into the Banana River remain part of modern-day Patrick Space Force Base. The base has two paved active runways, runway 3/21 is 9003 x 200 ft. while runway 11/29 is 3992 x 200 ft.
The base has dormitories for permanent party single enlisted personnel, quarters for families in three separate housing areas, recreational housing on the beach, beach access, combined officers and enlisted clubs, Commissary, a large base exchange, a library, and numerous Morale, Welfare, and Recreation facilities including an RV campground.
Base facilities are used by 4,000 military men and women, 11,500 civilian workers, contractors, and dependents, 43,000 military retirees, and 82,000 members of retirees' families.
In 2009, base housing was privatized and in addition to active duty personnel and their families, also became available for lease by members of the Reserve and Guard, military retirees, Department of Defense civil service employees, and DOD contractors.
In 2010–2012, the 74,000 square feet medical clinic underwent a major remodel project. It was estimated to cost some $18.5 million.
In 2010, the Air Force announced its intention to replace the existing Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) building on Patrick AFB with a new facility that would cost in the range of $100 to $200 million. At the time of this announcement, this constituted the largest single Air Force construction project in the United States. The new building was completed in 2014. AFTAC is responsible for providing national authorities with technical measurements to monitor nuclear-treaty compliance. It also develops nuclear proliferation-monitoring technologies and maintains a system containing more than 3,600 sensors worldwide and a global network of nuclear event-detection equipment called the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection Systems (USAEDS). When a disturbance is detected underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, or in space, the event may be analyzed for nuclear identification, and the findings are reported to national command authorities.
Space Launch Delta 45 - The host wing for Patrick SFB, whose personnel manage all launches of uncrewed rockets at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station 12 miles to the north. These rockets include satellites for the Department of Defense, including the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Security Agency (NSA), as well as scientific payload launches in support of NASA, weather satellite launches in support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, payloads in support of international customers such as the European Space Agency, and commercial payloads for various corporate communications entities.
Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) - A tenant command headquartered at Patrick SFB. The Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) of the Air Combat Command (ACC). AFTAC is the sole Department of Defense agency operating and maintaining a global network of nuclear event detection sensors.
U.S. State Department - The U.S. State Department's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Air Wing helps foreign countries combat drugs and narcotics criminals. The Bureau operates a fleet of aircraft, primarily former USAF and USMC OV-10 and former USAF C-27 aircraft at Patrick SFB to help detect and interdict the drug trade in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, and the Middle East.
920th Rescue Wing - The 920th Rescue Wing (920 RQW), part of Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), is a tenant command headquartered at Patrick SFB and is the installation's only military flying unit. An Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained combat search and rescue (CSAR) organization, the 920 RQW is the only rescue wing in the Air Force Reserve, operating the HC-130P/N "King" variant of the C-130 Hercules and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, ready for worldwide deployment. In addition to its CSAR mission, the wing also participates in civilian rescue operations, ranging from rescue support for NASA crewed spaceflight operations, to augmentative support to U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) operations, to Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) in the wake of major disasters.
Visited: 7 Sep 2021, 3 Feb 2010