Vintage Photos - Santa Ana Naval Air Station / Marine Corps Air Station Tustin - Lighter-than-Air (LTA) Base with Blimp Hangars

From the Navy's Base Realignment and Closure Program website:

Base Property and Historical Use
The former Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Tustin was initially established as a Navy lighter-than-air (LTA) base and commissioned in the fall of 1942. The station was used to support observation blimps and personnel that were necessary to conduct antisubmarine patrols off the Southern California coast during World War II. The facility served as an LTA base until 1949, when it was decommissioned. In 1951, the facility was reactivated to support the Korean Conflict. It was the country's first air facility developed solely for helicopter operations. By the early 1990s, MCAS Tustin was a major center for Marine Corps helicopter aviation on the Pacific Coast. Its primary purpose was to provide support services and material for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and for other units utilizing the base. About 4,500 residents once lived on the base, and the base employed nearly 5,000 military personnel and civilians. In addition to providing military support, MCAS Tustin leased 530 acres to farmers for commercial crop development. For many years, agricultural lands surrounded the facility. However, since the 1980s residential and light industrial/manufacturing areas have developed adjacent to the station.
Closure date, planned reuses, parcels transferred
In 1991 and again in 1993, under the authority of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, it was announced that MCAS Tustin would be closed.  Operational closure of the MCAS occurred in July 1999.   Of the approximate 1600 acres, approximately 1294 acres have been conveyed to the City of Tustin, private developers and public institutions for a combination of residential, commercial, educational, and public recreational and open-space uses.  The remaining 308 +/- acres will be conveyed to other federal agencies, the City of Tustin and public institutions for the same uses.

The photos below show mainly the hangar closest to Redhill Rd.  This will be turned over to the Orange County government at some time in the future.  The second hangar (seen in one of the photos) will be turned over to Tustin.  The plan currently is for the Tustin hangar to be torn down and the property used for commercial buildings and parking. See map at the bottom of the page.

Click here for vintage photos of the base over the years.  That page also has links to other sites with additional information and history on the base.


 Santa Ana Naval Air Station / Marine Corps Air Station Tustin Santa Ana Naval Air Station / Marine Corps Air Station Tustin

Santa Ana Naval Air Station / Marine Corps Air Station Tustin 

Map below is courtesy of the City of Tustin website.
Click map to show a larger image. The location marked "Orange County Urban Regional Park" shows the hangar (as a lightly marked rectangle) slated to be transferred to Orange County control.  The hangar designated for Tustin is shown marked "GO" and located just about "The District (Vestar)."