Corry Field (1st location) / City Field, Pensacola, FL 30.45 North / 87.22 West (Southwest of Pensacola Regional Airport, FL) "Old Corry" Field, as depicted just north of Pensacola on the 1934 Navy Aviation Chart V-242 (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
Corry Field was the first auxiliary field established by the Navy to support flight training operations at the Pensacola Flight School. With the announcement in November 1921 that landplane training would soon take place at Pensacola, Navy planners sought an additional practice field to accommodate increased training activity. Pensacola city officials offered a 250-acre site north of Pensacola for the new field. In 1922, the site was obtained from the Escambia County Commission on a no-cost, 5-year lease. The airfield constructed at this site was named Corry Field in honor of LCDR William M. Corry, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his attempt to rescue a fellow crew member from a burning aircraft. Training began at Corry Field on July 1, 1922. The field was sandy & facilities were primitive. For a time, groundskeepers were on station to keep cows from wandering into the landing area during flight operations, and a bootlegger had set up a still nearby to supply the aviators with liquid refreshment. Eventually temporary facilities, including a small barracks, mess hall and garage, were built. Students, after completing their primary seaplane training, began their primary landplane instruction at Corry in the Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny”, replaced in late 1927 by the Consolidated NY-1. In 1927, at the end of the original 5-year lease period, the site was deemed too small, and a new & larger site, located 3 miles north of NAS Pensacola, was presented to the Navy by the County Commission. The Corry Field name was applied to this new site (which opened for flight training in 1927), and the older field became an outlying field (OLF) known as Old Corry Field
Students await information on the steps of Corry Field’s administrative and tower facilities circa 1933. Flags atop the tower are signals for air operations, as trainers were not equipped with radios before World War II.
The 1934 Navy Aviation Chart V-242 (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted both "New Corry Field" (west of downtown Pensacola) as well as an "Old Corry Field" (along the northern edge of the town). "City Field" was still depicted on a 1939 map of NAS Pensacola & its satellite fields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).
A 12/2/40 USDA aerial view of City Field OLF, from the Digital Library Center / University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel). "This also shows you how simple the early airfields were for the Navy... a road (present-day Davis Highway) cuts through the middle of the field. Apparently the Navy was still using this OLF because there appear to be 2 planes in the eastern portion of the field (near the white circle)." It has not been determined how much longer the City Field was used by the Navy. It was apparently abandoned at some point between 1940-45, as did not appear to be depicted on the 1945 Mobile Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).
A 1/4/51 USDA aerial view of the site of the former City Field OLF, from the Digital Library Center / University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel). "A sub-division has already been built on a portion of the field."
A 1/4/51 USDA aerial view of the site of the former City Field OLF, A 1999 USGS aerial photo of the site of City Field,
In the words of Brian Rehwinkel, "It may be difficult to see where the airfield used to be, but there are still landmarks that will help identify the site from the air. The western edge of the field was the railroad tracks on the left side of the photo. The northern portion of the field is where the interchange for Interstate 110 is now located (at the top of the photo). The eastern edge of the field was where today's 9th Avenue is located. In the photo, 9th Avenue is located just to the right of Davis Highway (the curved road that went through the middle of the field). Today, Davis has been divided (north & south) at the point it used to go through City Field. If you visited this site today, you would have no idea that this was once the site of one of the earliest (if not the earliest) auxiliary training fields for the U.S. Navy!"
Corry Field Naval Auxiliary Air Station (2nd location), Myrtle Grove, FL 30.4 North / 87.29 West (West of Pensacola NAS, FL) "Corry" Field, as depicted west of Pensacola on the 1934 Navy Aviation Chart V-242 (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The "New" Corry Field was built in 1927 on a 500-acre parcel to the west of Pensacola to support flight operations at Pensacola NAS, to replace the original Corry Field (north of Pensacola), which had become too small to adequately support Navy flight training operations. The new Corry Field, though initially unpaved, boasted a galley, three large barracks and a temporary hangar. A fence at the new field kept the cows from wandering about during flight operations. With the inauguration of training at the new Corry Field on July 9, 1927, the facility became the home of Training Squadron 2 (primary landplanes) and Training Squadron 5 (fighting planes) for the next 14 years. From 1933-36, facilities were significantly upgraded with the construction of permanent brick station buildings & hangars, whose design became a model for hangars at all future Pensacola auxiliary fields. As the buildings were constructed, the field was improved as well - it was paved & taxiways were incorporated into the growing airfield layout as the tail skid trainers were replaced by those with brakes & tail wheels.
The location of "New Corry Field", as depicted on the 1934 Navy Aviation Chart V-242 (courtesy of Chris Kennedy). "New Corry Field" was described as consisting of a 6,243' x 3,970' sandy loam field.
An October 2, 1934 U.S. Navy aerial view looking north at Corry Field (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel). Brian observed, “This photo shows Corry field after the hangars & other structures were completed. You can see that by this time the field’s basic layout was complete. However, the landing areas had not yet been paved… there were paved taxiways around the east & west fields.”
Corry Field, with its new hangars and operations/tower building that were to serve as a model for similar airfield support structures at Pensacola and nearby facilities, was officially dedicated by RADM Ernest King on 8 Dec ’34. Consolidated NY-1s, part of Corry’s primary landplane training squadron, line the tarmac prior to the mass formation flight that accompanied the dedication ceremonies.
A close up from the October 2, 1934 U.S. Navy aerial view of Corry Field (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel), showing the small number of planes present in the picture. Corry Field was officially dedicated by Rear Admiral Ernest King on December 8, 1934. A mass formation flight accompanied the dedication ceremonies. In the pre-World War II era, Corry consisted of 2 separate fields: East & West. Students & instructors alike found the traffic pattern to be a nightmare, a bewildering mixture of primary & fighting planes landing & taking off at the same time. It was also home to primary elimination glider training in the mid-1930s.
A section of a 1939 map of NAS Pensacola & its satellite fields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel), depicting both Corry Field & "Corry Jr", a smaller field adjacent to the south side of Corry Field.
As the winds of war stirred in 1940, the entire training syllabus was modified to meet expanded training needs. Corry’s VN-5s fighting aircraft were moved to nearby Saufley Field in August 1940, to be replaced at Corry by an additional primary training squadron, VN-1B. Primary training in hundreds of yellow N3Ns & N2Ns was conducted at Corry by VN-1A & VN-1B until late 1942. The “Yellow Perils” were also used by the Primary Instructor School, based at Corry until early 1943. The field was designated a Naval Auxiliary Air Station on 15 January 1943. During WW2, Corry had an outlying field, Pensacola Field #8, at Muscogee, AL. No trace remains of this outlying field. In 1942 the NAS Pensacola Transport Unit, flying PBYs, R4Ds and SNBs, found a home at Corry. The unit was soon redesignated Squadron 8C in January 1943 and conducted multi-engine patrol or VB-2 training in SNBs until moving in November 1943 to Whiting Field. Joining Squadron 8C in August 1943 was Squadron 6, conducting carrier aircraft VTB (torpedo/bombing) training initially in land-based OS2Us (and later SNJs) until the end of 1944. VB-2 training returned to Corry at the end of 1944 & remained there until mid-1947, operating at times more than 160 SNBs. A utility squadron flying PBYs was also based at Corry for towing targets, patrolling and air-sea rescue.
The Naval Aircraft Factory was a government owned and operated business intended to produce aircraft for the U.S. Navy. Its best-known product was the N3N trainer produced beginning in 1936. The planes nickname comes from the bright yellow paint scheme used by Navy trainers and from its tendency to ground loop very easily. The N3N served as the main introductory trainer for the Navy throughout World War II. A few N3Ns remained in Navy service at the Naval Academy until 1960. Most of the Yellow Perils were sold soon after the end of World War II. Many found their way into the hands of agricultural spraying operators. In the mid-1950s the Forest Service and California based sprayers conducted experiments in using their aircraft to fight forest fires from the air. The experiment proved a great success and by 1956 a small fleet of N3N and Stearman biplanes were being used to fight fires throughout California
Bright yellow NAF N3N-3s await the day’s training activities, 1941. The characteristic hangar construction for Pensacola-area air facilities originated at Corry Field.
A WW2-era National Archives aerial view of Corry Field. This small complex had an extremely dense runway layout, with at 8 paved runways in 2 adjacent intersecting groups. The longest runway was 4,500'.
"Corry (Navy)", as depicted on the February 1945 Mobile Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
By the end of WW2, Corry Field provided the basic instrument portion of primary flight training. Corry Field was decommissioned as a NAAS at the end of WW2, but remained an active training field. In mid-1947, with the phase-out of the Stearman N2S in the Training Command, all basic training in SNJs was concentrated in Pensacola when advanced training moved to Corpus Christi. From mid-1947 until mid-1958, Corry conducted first primary flight training and then various types of basic flight training that included instruments, night flying and VS/VP basic in SNJs and later T-28s and SNBs. The field was also home from mid-1949 until mid-1952 to the Basic & Advanced Training Command’s carrier qualification training unit.
A 1955 USN photo of an SNJ Texan over Corry Field (courtesy of John Voss).
A 1955 USN photo of newly arrived T-28B Trojans at Corry Field, with SNJ Texans behind them (courtesy of John Voss).
An SNJ at Corry in the 1950s, modified into a taxi trainer, with a temporary nosewheel intended to prevent prop strikes by students (National Archives photo).
A 1/3/58 USDA aerial view of Corry Field, from the Digital Library Center / University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel). The photo was taken less than a year before the field ceased flight operations permanently, but the ramps were still filled with over 100 aircraft.
A close-up of the large number of aircraft on Corry's ramp, from the 1/3/58 USDA aerial view of Corry Field,
A 1958 photo of a North American T-28B Trojan (& a beautiful 1950s convertible) at Corry Field.
Corry Field was closed in June 1958. The property remained inactive until 1960, when the hangars & station buildings were converted to classrooms for the newly arrived Communications Technician school. Corry Field was listed as closed on the 1964 Mobile Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss). In 1973, the field’s name was changed to Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station. Since the change, Corry has grown into a highly technical, joint services training center specializing in cryptology, electronic warfare, advanced calibration, information technology and instructor training.
As seen in the 1999 USGS aerial photo, the northeastern portion former NAAS is now the site of the Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station. The hangars & other buildings are still in use, although in a highly modified form. The southwest portion of the former airfield has been reused as the site of the Naval Hospital, Pensacola, while the southeast portion has become the site of the Navy Exchange shopping Mall.
As seen in the 2004 USGS aerial photo, significant portions of at least 8 runways are still intact at the site of the former Corry Field.
A January 2006 photo by Paul Freeman of the sign at the gate for the “Center for Information Dominance, Corry Station”, which now occupies the northeastern portion of the former airfield
A January 2006 photo by Paul Freeman looking northeast along a former runway at Corry Field, which is still used as a helipad for the adjacent Naval Hospital (note the windsock).
A June 2006 photo looking northwest at Corry Field's former operations building & control tower.
A circa 2006-2007 aerial view looking north at the former operations building & control tower at Corry Field.
circa 2006-2007 aerial view looking east at 2 of the WW2-era hangars at Corry Field, with a modern building in between them (which was evidently added at some point between 1958-99).