The start-up date of the MCAS Miramar Fire Department was on October 1, 1997. The Department evolved from the Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) actions of 1993, which transferred Naval Air Station Miramar (NAS Miramar) to the United States Marine Corps (USMC).
On October 1, 1997, the transfer was completed and the Installation became MCAS Miramar. The MCAS Miramar Fire Department started operations with 32 personnel including five Fire Inspectors and four dispatchers. In 1997, the MCAS Miramar Fire Department had two operational work-shifts to cover two engine companies at one Fire Station. Two Pierce Telesquirts handed down from MCAS El Toro and Tustin were the first apparatus of the Department for emergency responses. The Department expanded its operations in May of 2000.
A second Fire Station was opened and a third Engine Company began running calls from the new station. Eleven operational positions were added for the second Fire Station.
On February 10, 2002, the Operations Division began an alternative work schedule. The shift schedule became history and 35 suppression personnel began working in seven groups to cover three Engine Companies. The Group Schedule became the regular Operational Schedule in October of 2006.
On October 1, 2005, the Department entered a new era. It began providing Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulance service to the community.When the ALS program started, the Department’s work force increased to 55 personnel with the addition of three Paramedics and three firefighters.
In 2006, the Department continued to expand its mission and services for the community. At the start of January 2006, the MCAS Miramar Fire Department began dispatching all emergency services for MCAS Miramar from the Communication Center .A second ALS ambulance was added on October 1, 2006 and three more Paramedics joined the work force. As the year 2006 concluded the Fire Department was composed of 67 personnel
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR HISTORY
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar), formerly Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar is a United States Marine Corps installation that is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is the avaiation element of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. It is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of downtown San Diego, California, United States.
The airfield is named Mitscher Field after Admiral M.A. Mitscher who was the commander of Task Force 58 during World War II. The air station is the former location Pacific Fleet fighter and airborne early warning aircraft and is best known as the former location of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS), itsTOP GUN training program and the motion picture TOP GUN. In 1996, NFWS was relocated to Naval Air Station Fallon in western Nevada and merged into the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC). During the heyday of TOPGUN at NAS Miramar, the station was nicknamed “Fightertown USA”.
During World War I, the city of San Diego offered to lease 8,000 acres (32 km²) to the United States Army for a small fee. Camp Kearny was opened on January 18, 1917 and was named after Stephen W. Kearny who was commander of the Army of the West during the Mexican-American War. During WWI an airstrip was never built on the property although Army and Navy aircraft from Naval Air Station North Island did land on the parade deck. Following the Armistice, the base was used to demobilize servicemen and was closed on October 20, 1920.
Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis airplane was built by Ryan Airlines Corporation in San Diego. Lindbergh used the abandoned Camp Kearny parade field to practice landings and take-offs before making his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
During the 1930s, the Navy briefly used the air base for helium dirigibles. In 1932 a mooring mast and hangar were built at the camp for the dirigibles, but when the program was abandoned, the base was quiet again.
By the time World War II, Miramar was already undergoing a “precautionary” renovation. Camp Holcomb (later renamed Camp Elliott) was built on part of old Camp Kearny, to be used for Marine artillery and machine gun training. Camp Elliott became home to Fleet Marine Force Training Center, West Coast and the 2nd Marine Division, charged with defending the California coast. Runways were constructed in 1940, and the 1st Marine Air Wing arrived on December 21, 1940. The Navy commissioned Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS) Camp Kearny in February 1943, specifically to train crews for the Consolidated PB4Y Catalina, which was built less than 10 miles away in San Diego. A month later, the Marines established Marine Corps Air Depot Camp Kearny, later renamed Marine Corps Air Depot Miramar to avoid confusion with the Navy facility.
The big Catalinas proved too heavy for the asphalt runway the Army had installed in 1936 and the longer runways built in 1940, so the Navy added two concrete runways in 1943.
During the 1940s, both the Navy and the Marine Corps occupied Miramar. East Miramar (Camp Elliott) was used to train Marine artillery and armored personnel, while Navy and Marine Corps pilots trained on the western side. The bases were combined and designated Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in 1945.
In 1947, the Marines moved to MCAS El Toro in Orange County, California, and Miramar was redesignated as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station. In 1954, the Navy offered NAAS Miramar to San Diego for $1 and the city considered using the base to relocate its airport. But it was deemed at the time to be too far away from most residents and the offer was declined.
Only the western half of Miramar’s facilities were put to use, and the old station literally began to deteriorate, with many buildings sold as scrap. Miramar found new life as a Navy Master Jet Station in the 1950s, but really came into its own during the Vietman War. The Navy needed a school to train pilots in dog-fighting and in fleet air defense. In 1969 theUnited States Navy Fighter Weapons School was established.
In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended that Marine Corps Air Station El Toro and Marine Corps Air Station Tustin be closed down. Both stations were closed and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing returned to Miramar in October, 1997 when it officially became Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. On October 1, 1997, Colonel Thomas A. Caughlan became the first Marine commanding officer of MCAS Miramar since World War II; Caughlan was also the last commanding officer of MCAS Tustin.