NAS Whiting Field is used primarily for pilot training. The North Field is used for fixed-wing, primary flight training operations. The T-6B Joint Primary Aircraft Training System is the primary program taught. South Field is used for students in the Advanced Helicopter pipeline.
Most personnel assigned to this base choose to live in the nearby communities of Crestview, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, Valparaiso and Milton. There are also several small towns that provide some limited housing options.
The surrounding area contains miles of beaches within a short drive of the base. In addition, the popular Destin area is within an hour’s drive of the base. In addition to the tourist and water activities, there are also several museums, a water park, an outlet mall, and an aquarium in close proximity to the base. Pensacola is about a twenty minute drive away.
There are several private schools in the area as well as a good number of public schools. Schools in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties are some of the best schools in the state. Florida uses an A to F grading system to grade their schools, and all of the schools in these two counties are rated as A schools. In addition, there is a four-year state college near the base.
Personnel stationed at NAS Whiting Field are typically sent to the hospital complex at Eglin AFB for any health concerns. Fortunately this is one of the biggest and highest rated hospital complexes in the Air Force. In addition, there are several highly-rated hospitals in the local area that airmen and their families can be assigned to if they need more specialized care.
The housing market surrounding NAS Whiting Field was deeply affected by the recent housing boom and bust that affected the state of Florida. As a result, the market has only recently started to stabilize. Because of the high number of foreclosures, demand for rental housing has sharply increased. While there is sufficient inventory to make up for this, rental prices have increased in the area in the past several years. It is, however, a good time to purchase a home in the area.
Many people begin their careers at this base, and it is one of the best locations in terms of schools, jobs, and overall environment.