Aerial of Forks. Photos Dobyns Collections circa 1944

Aerial of Forks. Photos Dobyns Collections circa 1944

Quillayute Naval Auxiliary Air Station, (NAAS)/Quillayute State Airport

  • Wed Dec 30th, 2020 1:49pm
  • News

Because the existing airport at nearby Forks could not be expanded, the navy in 1941 began construction of a new airfield southwest of Quillayute on the Olympic Peninsula. Prairie land was purchased for the new field and construction started in the summer of that year. Following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack at Pearl Harbor, the army also requested joint use of the field. The army constructed barracks and other facilities.

The 1,202-acre property was acquired by the War Department in the early 1940s and developed as an auxiliary air station for joint U.S. Army and U.S. Navy use. The Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Quillayute was used as a training center and coastal patrol station during World War II. Activities at the facility during the war included practice B-24 bombing missions, P-38 fighter aircraft missions, and deployment of surveillance blimps. Full jurisdiction and ownership of the site was transferred to the Navy in 1944, and the facility was officially commissioned as NAAS Quillayute at that time.

The Navy declared NAAS Quillayute as excess on June 28, 1946. A 1947 appraisal report and a real property classification report prepared by the Real Property Appraisal Division of the War Assets Administration describes several of the former structures that were located on the site. Based on these reports, approximately 110 of the former structures located on-site during occupation by the Navy were declared as surplus inventory by the War Assets Administration and were deemed non-essential to the continued operation of the facility as an airfield. These non-essential structures were classified for off-site use by other agencies or were sold to private entities.

The site was transferred to the General Services Administration for disposal without restriction in the early 1960s. Most of the property was acquired by the State of Washington in 1962 for use as an emergency landing field. The remaining portions of the property were conveyed or sold to local entities or to private individuals. From 1964 to 1975, the site was used as a clubhouse and campsite for a flying club. Runway No. 1 was closed in 1977.

Many of the structures that were present during the time of Navy occupation have since been removed, are inaccessible due to an overgrowth of vegetation, or are identifiable only from remnants of their concrete foundations.

Currently, the site includes: one active (Runway #2), one inactive runway (Runway #1), a few remaining WW II buildings, and residential lots. Current ownership includes private individuals, State of Washington, and the City of Forks.

This former Naval Auxiliary Air Station was deeded to the City of Forks by the Washington State Department of Transportation in 1999.

 

The Quillayute Road.

The Quillayute Road.

Commander Dobyns and others stationed at Quillayute NAAS took time out from defending the coast ..to do some hunting and fishing.

Commander Dobyns and others stationed at Quillayute NAAS took time out from defending the coast ..to do some hunting and fishing.

Group photo

Community members check out some of the aircraft.

Community members check out some of the aircraft.

Blimp cockpit.

Blimp cockpit.

Blimp on the runway.

Blimp on the runway.

At attention.

At attention.

Aerial of the Quillayute Air Station.

Aerial of the Quillayute Air Station.

Aerial of La Push.

Aerial of La Push.