Naval Air Station Richmond

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The Richmond Naval Lighter Than Air Station was a South Florida military installation about 18 miles (29 km) south of Miami, and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) west of US 1. It was an active base during World War II.

In September 15 1942, the US Navy purchased 2,000 acres (810 ha); the base was used as a blimp base. Among the ten LTA bases across the nation, 17 large wooden hangars were built, of which Richmond NAS had more (3) than any other base.

Before 1943 German submarines patrolled the entire US east coast destroying over 400 merchant ships in six months. A radio man had received training about radar which had been installed on the blimps. He requested from the Base Commander to use the radar and the US never lost another ship to submarines that they escorted. When the blimp discovered a submarine, they opened fire and often called in fixed-wing aircraft to attack as well.

On September 15, 1945, a hurricane caused a fire in one of the hangars. The fire quickly spread to the two other hangars and destroyed the hangars, blimps, 366 planes and 150 cars.[1] (See 1945 film report: "Hurricane Sweeps US East Coast", United Newsreel Corporation.) The same type of wooden hangar can still be seen today at only four locations: (2) Moffett Field in California, (2) Tustin, California, (2) Lakehurst, NJ, and (1) Tillamook, Oregon.

In response to the sudden increase in enrollment resulting from veterans returning to college, the University of Miami leased the decommissioned station to provide classrooms and housing for 1,100 students as its "South Campus." [2]

From 1948 to the present the University of Miami has used it as a research facility and storage area. Buildings currently house: the Global Public Health Research Group, Miami Institute for Human Genomics, D.U.I. Laboratory (for analysis of motorist blood samples), and Microbiology & Immunology.[3]

Starting in 1956 the railroad tracks on the base were used for the Gold Coast Railroad Museum.[4] In 1984, the museum moved to the area previously occupied by Hangars #1 and #2.[5][6] In 1968, after Ramparts magazine exposed CIA operations on other campuses, JM/WAVE was moved off the Miami South campus out of concern for embarrassing the university.[7]


  1. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
  2. "Display Selected University of Miami Legacy Images". Retrieved 2009-09-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "South Campus Directory". Retrieved 2009-09-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
  5. Retrieved 2009-09-12
  6. Bohning, Don (2005). The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations in Cuba, 1959-1965. Potomac Books Inc. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-57488-675-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Bohning, Don (2005). The Castro Obsession: U.S. Covert Operations in Cuba, 1959-1965. Potomac Books Inc. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-57488-675-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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