A significant part of our local history is being documented by Moreno Aguiari, who is gathering photographs and memories of Naval Air Station Atlanta.
The naval training base was established on land where World War I Camp Gordon was previously located and where DeKalb-Peachtree Airport is today. Moreno’s book will be part of Arcadia Publishing’s Aviation series, titled “Images of Aviation: Naval Air Station Atlanta 1941-2009.”
Following the end of World War I, the temporary encampment of Camp Gordon was taken apart and the land sold at auction. DeKalb County purchased three hundred acres of this land in 1940 for a future airport. As World War II began, the Navy chose the site for a Naval Aviation Reserve Base and issued contracts for three million dollars in construction. Fifty permanent buildings, two hangars and three runways were planned. The base was commissioned by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on March 22, 1941.
Naval Aviation Reserve Base changed to U. S. Naval Air Station in January 1943. This meant the addition of training in the areas of control tower, operators school, air navigation radio, operations officers training and instrument flight instructors school.
Naval Air Station Atlanta continued to be used after World War II ended, as home to the Weekend Warriors. Their primary mission was to organize and train Naval and Marine Air Reservists for our nation’s defense. It became apparent in the mid 1950s that longer runways were needed. Therefore, in 1959, the base moved to Marietta. Prior to the move, some of the buildings of NASA were used by Southern Technical Institute as classrooms and dormitories.
The book will include Naval Air Station Atlanta’s years in Marietta through 2009 when it closed. Today, the Marietta location is home to the General Lucius D. Clay National Guard Center.
An avid aviation enthusiast, Moreno began taking flight lessons in 1999, soon after he came to the United States from Italy. When he discovered that a FG-1D Corsair at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport was in use at Naval Air Station Atlanta during World War II, he wanted to dig deeper. Moreno found Naval Air Station Atlanta scrapbooks located at the former Marietta base. He also has photos, logbooks and memorabilia from the pilot who flew that Corsair during World War II.
The Naval Air Station Atlanta Reunion Group, National Archives, and Navy Archives have all been excellent sources for Moreno, but he is still in search of individuals with photographs and personal stories. If you or someone you know was stationed at NASA, contact Moreno Aguiari by phone at 404-202-9348 or by email at mo@ambroworks. com.
“Images of Aviation: Naval Air Station Atlanta” is targeted to be available in June 2018.