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Bearmon

US Naval Parachute Unit

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Research show's this unit was formed at Navy Station Lakehurst NJ and in 1951 was relocated to El Centro CA. I cannot find much information on the command other than they ended up working jointly with the Air force through the 50's.

Nice patch and I believe it is early 1950's vintage..Enjoy

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Thanks for posting this as I've seen a variation (see photo) of this patch come up for sale every now and then but no one has been able to come up with a positive ID other than having something to do with El Centro, California. Was this an on base skydiving type club patch or an actual military unit patch? I've always wondered if this unit had anything to do with the US Navy Chuting Stars or Leap Frogs. The patch that I have is 5 1/2" in diameter with a merrowed edge. Your patch must be an earlier one.

 

 

 

 

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From what I read this was an actual Navy Unit, who had something to do with development, I believe both Lakehurst and El Centro were Naval Development type commands (or sub commands attached to the bases) that studied different aviation type subjects. After being located in El Centro the joined with the USAF 6511th test group (parachute)

from the website http://www.militarybases.us/navy/naf-el-centro/

 

 

History

Originally the planned site of the Imperial County airport, the Navy leased the facility for use as a Marine Corps Air Station in 1942. The formal establishment of the installation took place on July 24, 1943. The installation operated as a Marine Corp Air Station until disestablishment and subsequent re-establishment to the Navy in May 1946. In 1979 the facility was designated Naval Air Facility El Centro.
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. Read a more detailed history below:

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.


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Predates the Chuting Stars by about a decade, now that's some interesting reading about the Chuting Stars and Leap Frogs....


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Thanks for the additional information and link. I'm wondering if the attached US Navy Test Parachutist patches have anything to do with this Naval Parachute Unit?

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Dark blue like your to one, and gauze back like your bottom two, with a merrowed edge.

For some reason I didn't connect the two, I thought I got this one with a PAX river group, but ow I need to go back and check

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"The team was established at Lakehurst, N.J. in 1944, moved to El Centro, Calif. in 1946, then moved to China Lake in 1979. Among the systems tested by the team were the Navy’s first ram-air parachute; the P-3 thin pack, the advanced ram-air system, the modified reserve parachute system, the E-2C personnel survival ensemble and NASA’s space shuttle crew escape system. They also worked in testing NASA’s Pathfinder parachute used to land on Mars. In addition, they trained personnel from many commands and all services in basic parachute skills. Thirty-five former test parachutists from all branches of the U. S. Armed Forces are currently deceased."

 

Th above is from an article on the disestablishment of the Navy Test Parachutists http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.NAVAIRNewsStory&id=3232

 

So it seems they could have been related.


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