Millions of Men and Women Learned The Basics of Their Aviation-Related Jobs in Millington
The film “Beneath Navy Wings” was made during the late 1960s and showcases both the Lockheed P2V Neptune maritime patrol aircraft and the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Memphis located in Millington just north of Memphis in Tennessee. While it might seem strange to locate the epicenter of training for nearly every aviation-related rating in the Navy near landlocked Memphis, the centrally-located NATTC was located across the street from a Naval Air Reserve base. The film was uploaded to YouTube by PeriscopeFilm. I don’t recall receiving a “diploma” from my A school though. Memphis memories await!
More Than Just a School for Aviation Ratings
The NATTC installation is now called Naval Support Activity Mid-South. The aviation-related “A” schools have been moved to NAS Pensacola. Back in the day NAS Memphis was home to Patrol Squadron SIX SEVEN (VP-67) Golden Hawks. Sometimes referred to as the Thunder Chickens, VP-67 was a Navy Reserve patrol squadron whose personnel made 23 full deployments or detached deployments over 24 years of service. They flew the SP-2H Neptune and the Lockheed P-3A Orion and later the P-3B. The Neptune flown in the film is a VP-5 Mad Foxes machine though.
Calling NAS Memphis Home…or Just Stopping In During a Blow at Home
NAS Memphis was also home to Marine Corps Attack Squadron VMA-124 Checkerboards, who flew several types including Grumman F9F-8 Cougars, North American Furies, and Douglas A-4 Skyhawks for many years. Navy Reserve attack squadron VA-204 River Rattlers and their Scooters were also based in Memphis until 1978. Also calling Memphis home was Fleet Logistics Support Squadron FIVE THREE (VR-53) Volunteer Express.
Redesignated VR-60 when they turned in their aging Douglas C-118B Skymasters for ex-airline Douglas C-9B Skytrain IIs during October of 1982, VR-60 was disestablished in 1995. NAS Memphis is no longer an active installation, having become the Millington Regional Jetport in 1993. The base still hosts military aircraft from time to time- occasionally quite a few of them. Because of the expansive aprons aircraft from Gulf Coast bases often bug out to Millington when storms affect their home turf.