Bennett Road
El Centro, CA 92243-5001

Phone 760-339-2519
Fax 760-339-2699

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Installation Overview

 Aircraft at Naval Air Facility El Centro


Naval Air Facility El Centro is located in the heart of Southern California's Imperial Valley. It is a two hour drive from San Diego and Palm Springs, one hour from Yuma, AZ, and fifteen minutes from the Mexican border. NAF is the "winter home" of the world-famous Blue Angels, the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron.

Although small, NAF El Centro has a full array of support facilities: Commissary, Navy Exchange, Medical and Dental Clinics, Consolidated Officer/Chief Petty Officer and Enlisted Club, and a wide variety of recreational activities.


Naval Air Facility El Centro was commissioned on May 1, 1946, as a Naval Air Station. Prior to that, the base was a Marine Corps Air Station. Through the years, Navy El Centro has had several names: Naval Air Facility, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Naval Air Station, and the National Parachute Test Range.

For the first 35 years, the mission of NAF El Centro was devoted to aeronautical escape system testing, evaluation, and design. In November 1947, the Parachute Experimental Division from Lakehurst, New Jersey moved to El Centro. In 1951, the Joint Parachute Facility was established and consisted of the Naval Parachute Unit and the Air Force 6511th Test Group (Parachute). The Air Force remained part of El Centro’s test organization for the next 27 years. In 1959, an ejection seat designed for pilot escape from a high-speed jet at altitudes less than 1,000 feet was successfully tested here. The Mercury Space Program parachute system, used for the first U.S. manned satellites and the Apollo re-entry system, was also tested here.

In 1964, the U.S. Naval Aerospace Recovery Facility was designated and on July 1, 1973, it was combined with the Naval Air Facility El Centro to form the National Parachute Test Range. Exactly six years later, the parachute test mission was transferred to Naval Weapons Center China Lake; and El Centro again became a Naval Air Facility.

Today, NAF El Centro provides realistic training to active and reserve aviation units and activities of the Navy’s operating and training forces. Squadrons visit NAF El Centro to practice gunnery, bombing, carrier landings and air combat. For more information, visit the NAF El Centro homepage.


Our mission is to provide the highest quality facilities, services and products to the Naval Aviation community and all organizations utilizing Naval Air Facility El Centro. We provide base support to Naval Aviation Squadrons and maintain target ranges for their weapons and combat air training. We also support Marine Aviation units, air elements from the U.S. Army, Air Force units, and allied forces.

Population Served

Every month, seven to 12 squadrons and up to 1,600 personnel train here. Additionally, U.S. Air Force parachutists, U.S. Navy SEAL's, Army Green Berets, and British, French, German and Italian aviators visit for various phases of their training.


Shortly after your orders are received you will be sent a "Welcome Aboard" package which will include a Welcome letter from the Commanding Officer, Imperial Valley and base Information, and will include your sponsor information. If you have your orders in hand and have not had a sponsor assigned feel free to contact the Command sponsor coordinator at 760-339-2544.

Temporary Housing

Navy Gateway Inns & Suites: Located in Building 401. Amenities include Cable TV, A/C, Clock Radio, Iron/Ironing Board, Microwave, Refrigerator, Coffee Pot, Hair Dryer. For reservations, call 760-339-2266/2269.

Navy Lodge El Centro: Call 760-339-2342 for reservations. Accommodations include five, two-bedroom modular family units with air conditioning and private baths. Smoking or non-smoking may be requested but cannot be guaranteed. Amenities include free local telephone calls, hairdryer, free daily in-room coffee, ice, fully equipped kitchenette (dishes, pans, etc.), cable TV(HBO), picnic grounds, playground, barbecue grills/tools, air conditioning, microwave, radio/clock, cribs, dining table, irons/ironing boards.

Checking In

Upon arrival, check-in at the Personnel Support Activity Detachment, Building 214, during normal working hours of 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. After normal working hours, check in at the Security Desk in Building 565. If you need anything upon arrival in the area, please contact the Duty Office at 760-339-2222 or DSN 312-658-2222 or your sponsor.

Driving Directions

From Los Angeles: I-10 East to CA-86 South. CA-86 becomes Imperial Avenue. Turn right on Adams, Adams becomes Evan Hewes Highway. Turn right on Bennet Road to NAF El Centro main gate.

From San Diego: I-8 East, exit on Drew Road toward Seeley. Turn left onto Drew Road, turn right onto Evan Hewes Highway. Turn left onto Bennet Road to NAF El Centro main gate.

From Yuma Arizona: I-8 West to Forrester Road. Turn right onto Forrester Road. Turn left onto Evan Hewes Highway. Turn right onto Bennet Road to NAF El Centro main gate.

The most convenient mode of transportation to get here is your POV, however, you may fly commercial air on United Express from Los Angeles to the Imperial County Airport. Also, Greyhound Bus Lines has several scheduled stops in El Centro throughout the day and evening. Transportation from El Centro to the base can be arranged through your sponsor or the Duty Office, so please keep your sponsor advised of your plans.


The Housing Program at Naval Air Facility El Centro is focused on ensuring that Service members stationed at NAF El Centro, both single and those with families, receive adequate and affordable housing whether provided by the local private community or under government sponsorship. NAF El Centro has 172 housing units for all pay grades available on base plus newly renovated barracks for single Sailors.

Family Housing  -- Housing options for married, officer and enlisted personnel with dependents vary from 2-4 bedroom duplexes or houses. Contact the Housing Referral Office at 760-339-2923 prior to obtaining off-base housing. 

Combined Bachelor Housing -- NAF El Centro has various bachelor quarters for officer and enlisted permanent party and transient personnel. All accommodations have maid service available. The newly constructed transient barracks is equipped with kitchens, laundry, BBQ areas and tennis courts with plenty of covered parking. In addition, a few of the family housing areas have been converted to temporary Bachelor Quarters to accommodate excess operational detachment personnel. 

Child Care

Child Development Center (CDC) provides full and part day child care for ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age. Child Development Homes (CDH) provide full and part day and night and weekend child care for ages 4 weeks to 12 years of age. School-Age Care (SAC) provides before and after school and day camps for ages 6 years to 12 years of age. Fees are based on total family income. For information, call 760-339-2560.

NAF El Centro Fleet and Family Support

The NAF El Centro Family Support Office is located in the Housing Office, Building #401. The telephone number is 760-339-2241. The NAF Fleet and Family Support Office provides the following services to active duty and family members:

  • Individual counseling
  • Marital counseling
  • Stress management
  • Domestic violence intervention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Anger management counseling
  • Resume writing and Internet job search 

Special Installation Messages:

Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions

The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (719) 567-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.

Associated Links

Defense Travel Management Office /Per Diem
Per Diem official website with information on allowances, travel regulations and lodging websites.

DoD Schools
Provides complete information on all Department of Defense Schools run by DoDEA.

Military K-12 Partnership
Provides comprehensive information for all students.

DS Logon (formerly DEERS)
TRICARE beneficiaries can electronically link to their medical records, pay and human resource systems and other websites.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service
The authoritative source for pay issues.

OSD Reserve Affairs
Provides benefits and services designed to enhance and maintain the quality of life for noncommissioned and petty officers.

Stars and Stripes
Current editions for European, Mid East and Pacific newspapers.

The CIA World Factbook
Provides information on locations overseas.

Military ID Card/CAC -- Locator
Find all military ID card and CAC facilities worldwide.

Navy MWR
Find MWR resources worldwide

Department of Defense-sponsored website for kids impacted by the deployment of parents and caregivers.

USA4 Military Families
Seeks to engage and educate state policymakers, not-for-profit associations, concerned business interests, and other state leaders about the needs of military members and their families.

Navy Official Home Page
Generally applicable service wide information.

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