The Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base is one of the last vestiges of a military that has long defended the city’s important perch on the Mississippi River.
Starting in 1901, land on the West Bank of the Mis-sissippi River was used by the Navy as a repair base. In 1966, buildings at the spot and across the river in the Bywater became the Naval Support Activity New Orleans. The station was home to Navy and Marine reserve commanders, among others. That facility was closed in 2011, though the Marine Corps Support Facil-ity is still active in Algiers.The Naval Air Station in Plaquemines Parish in Belle Chasse became the regional military hub when Naval Support Activity closed.
The station was originally on Lake Pontchartrain from 1941 until 1957, but the facility was determined to be too small. The air station was moved in 1958 to the 3,800-acre site in Belle Chasse. It was the first base in the country that was planned, built and still functions as a joint air reserve training center.
The station now encompasses more than 5,000 acres and is home to Marine Corps and Navy reserve aviation units, as well as the largest command in the Army Reserve and is the headquarters for a Marine Corps infantry battalion. The base also provides assistance to homeland security air defense through the Louisiana Air National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard. The station was built around an airfield named after Alvin Callender, a New Orleans native who was a World War I flying ace who served with the British Royal Flying Corps.