NAS Corpus Christi, TX Image 1
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    NAS Corpus Christi, TX History

    Corpus Christi was proposed as a naval air training center as early as the mid-1930s, but not until Representative Lyndon B. Johnson brought his office to bear, in coordination with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the city selected, in 1940. The first class at NAS CC started in May of 1941; the second class started after Pearl Harbor, with twice the load. The third class graduated in June of 1943, and included Ensign George H. W. Bush, at 19 years old the youngest naval aviator to graduate at that date. Ensign Bush, nicknamed "Skin," for "Skinny," was assigned to a torpedo squadron as a photographic officer; he participated in the Battle of The Philippine Sea, and was soon promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Shortly after, Lt. Bush was shot down during the assault on the Bonin Islands (after a successful attack); after the war, Mister Bush entered politics, serving as a US Representative, Director of the CIA, a diplomat, Ambassador to the United Nations, Vice President, and President of the United States.

    Before the end of the war, NAS Corpus Christi was the largest naval aviator school in the world. In World War Two the program took ten months to graduate; today it takes eighteen months, mostly due to the increased complexity of aircraft. More than 35,000 aviators graduated the NAS by the end of the war. In the late 1950s NAS Corpus Christi was the training station for Ensign John McCain, later a US Senator and Presidential candidate. Today, NAS Corpus Christi graduates about 400 per year.