Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington can be found in Oak Harbor approximately 90 miles north of Seattle. NAS Whidbey Island is near the San Juan Islands, the Olympic mountains, and described as “the premiere naval aviation installation in the Pacific Northwest”.
The Naval Air Station mission includes all squadrons which fly the EA-18G Growler, plus P-3 Orion, P-8 Poseidon and EP-3E Aries missions. It’s also home to the Navy’s Electronic Attack Weapons School.
Whidbey Island is actually made up of two locations a few miles apart. One is known as the “Seaplane Base” and the other is formally known as the Naval Air Station, also referred to by its’ original historic name, Ault Field (see below).
Find information about Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, and inprocessing.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Mission & Units
NAS Whidbey Island is the only Navy aviation base support found in the Pacific Northwest. The mission of Whidbey Island includes training in electronic attack operations, aviation survival training, plus a variety of flying missions performed by Commander Electronic Attack Wing Pacific and Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10.
- Electronic Attack Weapons School
- 390th Electronic Combat Squadron
- Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 (CPRW 10)
- VAQ-129 Vikings
- VAQ-130 Zappers
- VAQ-131 Lancers
- VAQ-132 Scorpions
- VAQ-133 Wizards
- VAQ-134 Garudas
- VAQ-135 Black Ravens
- VAQ-136 Gauntlets
- VAQ-137 Rooks
- VAQ-138 Yellow Jackets
- VAQ-139 Cougars
- VAQ-140 Patriots
- VAQ-141 Shadow Hawks
- VAQ-142 Gray Wolves
- VP-1 Screaming Eagles
- VP-4 Skinny Dragons
- VP-40 Fighting Marlins
- VP-46 Grey Knights
- VP-47 Golden Swordsmen
- VP-69 Fighting Totems
- VQ-1 World Watchers
- VR-61 Islanders
Tenant Units at NAS Whidbey Island include:
- Aviation Survival Training Center
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Det NW
- Fleet Readiness Center NW
- Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service
- Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor
- Navy Information Operations
- Naval Ocean Processing Facility
- Navy Operational Support Center
- Personnel Support Detachment
- 390th Electronic Combat Squadron
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island History
Like several other military installations, NAS Whidbey Island has its’ origins closely related to and affected by World War Two. In the case of Whidbey Island, Navy officials had been looking for a suitable location to arm and refuel Navy patrol aircraft flying in defense of the area near Puget Sound. This was nearly a year before the United States committed troops to the war effort in World War Two.
The construction of what would become Ault Field began in the early spring of 1942. The first recorded aircraft landing happened at Ault Field in August before the runway was fully finished; in September of the same year the Naval Air Station would be formally commissioned.
In 1943, an area near Coupeville was approved to be used as an auxiliary field to serve Naval Station Seattle, and more work was done as surveys of an area known as Rocky Point were conducted in 1944-this area would eventually become a transmitter and machine gun range used to train air gunners.
World War Two Ends
NAS Whidbey Island as a permanent installation was in question at the end of World War Two; operations had wound down considerably after the war effort, and a variety of military operations were realigning or closing altogether as decommissioning and demobilization took over from active battlefield planning and training. Where air operations were concerned, new runway and radar guidance standards rendered some airfields obsolete or unacceptable.
But in 1949 Whidbey Island was declared as a suitable location to train Reservists and perform flying mission support. It was decided that NAS Whidbey Island would be the only station north of San Francisco to operate as an all-weather Navy airfield.
Expanded Patrol Operations During The Korean War
The war in Korea saw Navy flying missions increasing. Air patrols were flying more frequently and NAS Whidbey Island saw six flying patrol squadrons and a pair of Fleet Air Suport squadrons operating there. Heavy attack flying missions would also increase, eventually surpassing patrol operations.
The Advent Of Electronic Attack Warfare At NAS Whidbey Island
The Vietnam-era (and well beyond) EA6B Prowler aircraft brought a new twist to operations at NAS Whidbey Island and the Navy’s first EA-6B squadron (plus a training squadron for Prowler operations) would begin strike missions and troop support operations in the 1970s. EA 6B Prowlers deployed something known as the AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile, plus electronic jamming pods and other resources.
Prowlers would be an important part of Whidbey Island flying mission operations until a planned transition began; The EA 6B Prowler would start being replaced in 2007 by Boeing-manufactured Growler aircraft. Another Navy flying mission involving the P3-Orion would also see changes as the Navy began a seven-year transition to the P-8 Poseidon in 2012.
In addition to all of this, NAS Whidbey Island is also home to a search and rescue unit that operates Knighthawk helicopters from 2005 on.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Contacts
Main Address And Main Base Phone Numbers
2853 Langley Boulevard
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-5101
- Phone 360-257-6289
- Phone (DSN) 312-820-6289
- Fax 360-257-6434
- Fax (DSN) 312-820-6434
NAS Whidbey Island Important Phone Numbers
- Emergencies: Cell Phone 360-257-3333 Landline 911
- Air Terminal/Space A Flights 360-257-2604
- Ault Field Autoport (Gas/Parts/Repairs) 360-257-0629
- Base Access/DBIDS 360-257-5620
- Base Information Line 360-257-1080
- Base Operating Support Calls 360-257-3358
- Child Care: Child Development Homes 360-257-1877
- Clover Child Development Center 360-257-3302
- Regatta Child Development Center 360-257-6572
- School Age Care 360-257-0889
- Commissary 360-257-3318
- DEERS/ID Card Office (Ault Field) 360-257-1390/6770
- Seaplane Base 360-257-6070
- Dental 360-257-2301
- Dining: Admiral Nimitz Hall Galley 360-257-2469
- Emergency Operations 360-257-3337
- Environmental Affairs 360-257-1009
- Fire Department 360-257-2532
- Fire Prevention/Inspection 360-257-6110
- Fitness Center 360-257-2420
- Fleet and Family Support Center 360-257-6289
- Funeral Services 360-315-3456
- Gallery Golf Course 360-257-2178
- Hospital 360-257-9500
- Tricare Appointment Line 800-404-4506
- Housing: Housing Office 360-257-3331
- Hunt Military Housing 360-679-4241
- Housing Maintenance Requests 866-616-3267
- Unaccompanied Housing 360-257-2038
- Transient Housing 360-257-2529
- Human Resources 360-257-2979
- Legal Office 360-257-2126/2127
- Lodging: Navy Gateway Inns and Suite 360-257-2529
- Navy Lodge 360-675-0633
- Morale, Welfare, and Recreation 360-257-2432
- Personal Property 360-257-3104
- Personnel Support Detachment 360-257-1102
- Quarterdeck NASWI 360-257-2631
- Recycling 360-257-5481
- School Liaison Officer 360-257-6863
- Security 360-257-3893
- Squadron Information: Electronic Attack Wing 360-257-1303
- Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 360-257-0375
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Surrounding Area
Whidbey Island-the place, not the Naval Air Station-is approximately 55 miles long and forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. There is much in the way of outdoors activities to explore; Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Deception Pass State Park, and Earth Sanctuary are just a few of the outdoors attractions this area features.
The area is also home to several wineries including Ott & Murphy’s, Whidbey Island Winery, and Spoiled Dog Winery.
Those interested in island hopping and marine life in the area will love the San Juan Islands, Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and whale watching via Friday Harbor.
Seattle is a short 90 miles away, so the added benefit of being close to such a major metropolitan area is a big plus.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Inprocessing and Check-In
Naval Station Whidbey Island new arrivals must check in with the Officer Of the Deck at the base quarterdeck in Building 385, which is open 24-7. Those assigned to Naval Air Station commands will also report to the NAS Admin Office in Building 385.
Inprocessing / base indoctrination briefings are generally offered during first full week of each month on Thursday and Friday and family members may attend. These meetings are held at the Convergence Zone; military spouses are encouraged to attend the Fleet and Family Support Center’s New Spouse Orientation workshop held regularly each quarter. Sign up for these orientations at 360-257-NAVY (6289).
New arrivals who are assigned to a tenant command will be required to report to their duty office, but if there is no one available due to a deployment or related issue new arrivals assigned to tenant units should check in with the Officer of the Day at Building 385.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Services
Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor is the NAS Whidbey Island medical treatment facility; it offers ambulatory care services and clinical services including:
- Dental Clinic (active duty military only)
- Deployment Health Center
- Diabetes Clinic
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Medical Home Port Family Medicine
- Health Promotion
- Internal Medicine
- Birthing Center
- Behavioral Health
- Occupational Health
- Medical Home Port Operational
- Orthopedics/Orthopedic Surgery
- Medical Home Port Pediatric
- Physical Therapy
- Preventive Medicine
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program
- Suitability Screening
There is a Family Medicine Clinic for active duty, retirees, and eligible family members who are TRICARE Prime enrollees. Make an appointment with Family Medicine via the Puget Sound Military Appointing Center at 1-800-404-4506. 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m with weekend hours also available.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island offers both Child Development Center (CDC) care and home-based child care. Those being assigned to NAS Whidbey Island must register online at https://militarychildcare.com/ for care services. CDC care is available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be reserved a month in advance.
Home based care is also available on a full or part-time basis including weekends. A childcare subsidy for children up to five years old may be available to qualifying families.
There are also school-aged child care options on the Naval Air Station for qualifying children between five and 12 years old. Call 1-360-257-0889 for the latest programs, schedules, and options.
Replacement ID Cards For Dependents, Retirees, And Currently Serving Military Members
The NAS Whidbey Island Seaplane ID Card Section handles all replacement / renewal / new issue ID cards, Common Access Cards, and DEERS requests. New arrivals and those visiting the NAS are directed to make an appointment via RAPIDS.
Two unexpired forms of ID are required for new cards, one of which must be a state or government ID. Dependents may update, replace, or renew ID but bring a DD Form 1172-2 pre-printed by a DEERS station. This documentation must be signed by the military sponsor and a verifying official before visiting the ID Card Section.
All personnel PCSing to NAS Whidbey Island are directed to use The Defense Personal Property System to track and manage household goods shipments. Learn more at Move.mil.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Schools
There are NO Department of Defense schools on NAS Whidbey Island. Parents with school age children are urged to contact the NAS Whidbey Island School Liason Officer to help with placement, enrollment issues, and vaccination guidelines. In general, children will attend schools based on geographic location. School districts in the area include the following:
- Anacortes School District
- Bellingham School District
- Burlington-Edison School District
- Conway School District
- Coupeville School District
- La Conner School District
- Mount Vernon School District
- Oak Harbor School District for Military Families
- South Whidbey School District
- Sedro-Woolley School District
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Housing
New arrivals who require family housing and have eligible dependents must check in with the Navy Housing Services Center (HSC) in Building 2556 within 30 days of arriving at NAS Whidbey Island. One reason for this is that there are PCS-related housing entitlements that can only be determined with the help of the HSC.
All military housing in the Pacific Northwest region is privatized; at the time of this writing there are just under 1500 housing units available. There is on-base housing at Maylor Point, Forbes Point, Maylor Glacier and Coral Sea; all others are off-base properties and many of those are located near the Seaplane Base.
Unaccompanied service members must report to the Navy Gateway Inns and Suites front desk (inside the McCormick Lodge, Building 973) to check-in. All E-4s and below are housed in Unaccompanied Housing units. No Bachelor Officer Quarters are available.
Unaccompanied or single new arrivals E5 and above are not required to live in Unaccompanied Housing, but in order to be approved to reside outside the Naval Air Station, a request chit must be submitted through the service member’s command to the Personnel Support Activity Detachment in order to draw a housing allowance.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island PCS and TDY Lodging
Those coming to NAS Whidbey Island PCS or TDY have three temporary lodging choices, but no matter which option is used, there are only 10 days maximum the service member and family (where applicable) may be granted Temporary Lodging Expense funds. The service member will pay out-of-pocket for any temporary lodging that exceeds the ten allotted days.
The temporary lodging options are:
Navy Gateway Inns and Suites (NGIS) on the main base. These rooms are limited to a maximum of three occupants per room and those traveling on orders have priority booking status. Make reservations at 1-877-NAVY-BED (1-877-628-9233) or call NGIS directly at 360-257-2038/2529 or DSN 312-820-2038/2529.
Navy Lodge Whidbey Island is located on the Seaplane Base. Reservations at the Navy Lodge can be made up to one year in advance at 1-800-NAVY-INN (1-800-628-9466). This facilitiy tends to fill up fast during peak periods and it is best to make reservations as early as possible to avoid problems.
The third option is to find off-base, commercial hotel lodging or other alternatives; those who choose to do so must obtain a Certificate of Non-Availability from BOTH on-base options in order to be reimbursed on a travel voucher for the off-base commercial lodging expense.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Transportation
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is over 100 miles northwest of SeaTac International Airport in Seattle. The Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle (360-679-4003) makes several round trips per day from SeaTac to Whidbey Island communities, and reservations are required in advance.
Public transportation from the airport is available via the King County Metro Bus system and Sound Transit regional express buses.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
NAS Whidbey Island stopped requiring the use of a base decal in 2012, but there is still a requirement for all personnel to register privately owned vehicles with Pass and ID in order to drive on the Air Station.
Pass and ID is located near Langley Gate and all registrations are performed on a walk-in basis. To register, bring the following documentation:
- Proof of auto insurance
- Vehicle registration paperwork
- Current military ID
- Valid driver’s license
All personnel rated E-3 or lower are required to get base-approved financial counseling prior to purchasing a vehicle when stationed at NAS Whidbey Island.
Military personnel and their spouses are allowed under Washington state law to drive with out-of-state licenses but there is a requirement that once Washington residency is established that an in-state license be applied for.
Service members, military spouses, and military dependents applying for Washington State driver’s licenses should know that the Washington State license will remain valid as long as the service member remains in the military. This benefit is also good for National Guard and Reservists called to active duty for 180 days or more.