NAS Pensacola Corry Station editorial by Ralph Williams
NAS Pensacola Corry Station lies across from NAS Pensacola near the city of Pensacola, Florida. It is home to several information warfare community training and operational commands, along with a field office of the Department of Homeland Security, a reserve Army command, and morale, welfare, and recreation and Navy Exchange facilities.” The station is named after Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Commander William Merrill Corry Jr., a World War I pilot and a pioneer aviator in the US Navy.
The station was originally created to augment NAS Pensacola and its air training operations. From the 1920s to late 1950s, it served as a training center for pilots. An aerial view shows parts of the original runways beneath the added infrastructure.
Converting existing hangers into classrooms, in 1961 the Navy began training enlisted Communications Technicians (now known as Cryptologic Technicians) evolving to its current role as a training and mission center for the information warfare community. Officially known as NAS Pensacola Corry Field after command name changes by the Navy in 2016, it is also referred to as CIWT Corry Station, for “Center for Information Warfare Training Corry Station.” With the Blue Angel Recreation Park along Perdido Bay, it is one of three parts of the NAS Pensacola Complex. The command’s vision is, “To be the Navy's principle cutting-edge training organization that rapidly meets Fleet requirements by providing graduates prepared to fight and win across all aspects of Information Warfare.” Like its parent base NAS Pensacola, it is a short distance from the Alabama-Florida border, a 15-minute ride east to the City of Pensacola and a 20-minute drive south from I-10. Westward along freeway I-10 lie the cities of Mobile, Alabama, Biloxi, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Blue Angel Recreation Park
The NAS Pensacola Complex also includes Blue Angel Recreation Park. The park is located on what was originally Naval Auxiliary Air Station Bronson Field, named in honor of Navy Lieutenant (junior grade) Clarence K. Bronson. First operating as a WWII auxiliary training airfield for NAS Pensacola, it has been adapted for recreational use. Located on beautiful Perdido Bay, it provides extensive recreational facilities for the military community. The park features over 150 RV spots with hookups and campgrounds that offer laundry facilities, showers, restrooms, pavilions, and playgrounds. Water sport rentals are available with kayaks, paddleboards, and sailboats to go out onto the bay. There are also three disc golf courses and paintball fields which are both open for public use (fee required).
I have visited nearby NAS Pensacola. As I wrote in that article, my trip to NAS Pensacola was a great family experience. Besides the base being home to the Navy Blue Angels flying team and its impressive museum (thankfully open to the public), there are numerous attractions and federal parks close by. These include a preserved Pensacola lighthouse and an abundance of historic forts. From my experience as a visitor, the area, with its beautiful beaches and exciting military and historical places to visit, is a sure win for a memorable Florida vacation.
Facilities and Quality of Life
Like its nearby parent base, NAS Pensacola, Corry Station has an abundance of older architecture from its flight training days of WWII. For history buffs, one can walk on parts of the airfields that trained thousands of fighter pilots during the war as well as the seaplane docks that are now used as a boat ramp in the camping area at Blue Angel Park. In my vacation to NAS Pensacola I made note of the grand old buildings that appear as well at Corry Station. Although the base has historic parts it has also been modernized through its life. As its mission has evolved, so too has its facilities to make visiting or being stationed at Corry Station an enjoyable experience. A summary of the facilities offered to active duty personnel, retirees, and their families are an auto hobby shop, a modernized bowling alley with a restaurant and club, sports fields, exercise facilities, a large pool, and a first class list of child services to offer families stationed on base. Although part of the larger NAS Pensacola complex, Corry Field offers a full complement of services on base. For any recreational facilities not available on base, NAS Pensacola is a short 3-mile distance away, with Blue Angel Recreational Park a 10-mile drive.
For those stationed on base, there are bachelor quarters available. Nearby NAS Pensacola has an upgraded Navy Lodge next to the beach. RV and camping facilities are offered at both NAS Pensacola and Blue Angel Recreation Park.
Military Displays and Shows
Parent base NAS Pensacola, birthplace to U.S. Navy aviation, is proud to share its story with the public. This base is open to the general public, an increasing rarity with most bases now having limited access because of heightened security. NAS Pensacola includes a massive Naval Air Museum that rivals a trip to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. There are dozens of vintage aircraft from all phases of the base’s life to the present day. The displays are incredibly well kept and include many interactive displays such as an anti-aircraft mount you can sit and move in along with an immersive Blue Angels ride that draws a crowd, my family and I really enjoyed it.
Summary of NAS Pensacola Corry Station/ Pensacola, Florida
NAS Pensacola Corry Station and the city of Pensacola are in the Florida Emerald Coast. This area is famous for its powdery white beaches and is a vacation destination for travelers around the world. The area, while close to many cities, maintains a relaxing beach vibe. Major events include food festivals and events centering around this large military community such as the Blue Angels flying team doing a beach military show or a homecoming show on base. Like its parent base NAS Pensacola, it is a historic base with modern upgrades located in a pristine region of the Florida Panhandle, making this bases’ location a great place to be stationed at or to visit.