Whidbey Island was established in the 1940s for re-fueling and maintenance of aircraft on the western border. The original airfield, that still exists today, was named Ault Field and was named after CDR Ault who went MIA in the Battle of Coral Field. During WWII this installation held F4F Wildcats, F6F Hellcats and PV-1 Venturas. Dauntless dive bombers were added later in the war. After WWII many Naval installations closed, however Whidbey Island remained opened and expanded while providing support doing the Korean War. Today Whidbey is home to numerous active and reserve squadrons.
NAS Whidbey Island is home to Aviation Survival Training Center, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Det Northwest, Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 13, Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, Naval Information Operations Command, Naval Ocean Processing Facility, Naval Operational Support Center and Personnel Support Detachment.
On the installation there is a commissary, exchange, restaurants, shopping, bowling, pools, intramural sports and MWR events. Live music and entertainment is featured often on this installation. The area surrounding Whidbey Island is breathtaking. Set up camp on the beach and enjoy fishing or walks. Canoe and hike in many of the local state parks. The community features restaurants that prepare locally grown foods and fresh seafood. Seattle is a short drive away where visitors can enjoy shopping, fish markets and the lively nightlife.
Children attend the local schools within the community. Whidbey Island does have a School Liaison Officer who is the point of contact between the schools and the naval community. He or she can help with newcomers, transfers, deployments or any other concerns. A variety of public and private schools are offered, along with support for home schoolers. There are a variety of clinics for military families to choose their PCM from. The on post hospital is the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor. This hospital has an ER and can provide any other specialized care.
There is an housing service center on post to help with all housing needs. They can help locate a home off-post, temporary lodging and homes for single soldiers. Housing located on-post is run by a private company, Forest City Military Housing. Size and number of bedrooms is dependent on rank and family size. The on post housing includes playgrounds, parks, gyms and family events.