Isla Grande Naval Air Station file photo [27293]

Isla Grande Naval Air Station

Type   Airfield
Historical Name of Location   San Juan, Puerto Rico


ww2dbaseSan Juan Bay in Puerto Rico was an excellent harbor, and prior to WW2 that location was recommended for a large naval base. Approval was granted by the United States Congress in 1939, and funding was provided in 1940. Isla Grande, the location selected for the eventual Naval Air Station at San Juan Bay, had the size of 340 acres. The site already had an airstrip previously used by Pan American Airlines; it was re-surfaced with asphalt and extended to the size of 5,400-foot by 500-foot. A secondary 2,300-foot by 150-foot was built. Additionally, two steel aircraft hangars, one utility hangar, one engine overhaul shop, four seaplane ramps with connecting bulkhead, asphalt parking areas, a 450-foot concrete tender pier, and other structures were built. After the war, the facility's role shifted to become a dual military-civilian airfield; in this role, it served as San Juan's main international airport until 1954. In 1971, US Coast Guard Air Station San Juan at the Isla Grande site was relocated to Ramey Air Force Base further to the west on the island of Puerto Rico. It remained a civilian airport through the time of this writing in 2017.

US Department of the Navy, Building the Navy's Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks

Last Major Update: Jan 2018

Isla Grande Naval Air Station Interactive Map

Isla Grande Naval Air Station Timeline

1 May 1940 The US Navy established the Naval Air Station Isla Grande in San Juan, Puerto Rico as a part of the Tenth Naval District. The first commanding officer of the base was Captain Virgil C. Griffin, Jr.


PBM-3C Mariner aircraft of US Navy patrol squadron VP-203 at Naval Air Station Isla Grande, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 12 Mar 1943PB2Y aircraft at San Juan Naval Air Station, Puerto Rico, 21 Apr 1944Crews providing maintenance to PV-1 Ventura patrol bombers of US Navy squadron VPB-147 at NAS Isla Grande, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jun 1944; note rocket rails mounted under the wingsAerial view of Naval Air Station Isla Grande, San Juan, Puerto Rico, as it appeared in the Jun 1947 edition of the

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lat/Long 18.4567, -66.0983
Isla Grande Naval Air Station Photo Gallery
PBM-3C Mariner aircraft of US Navy patrol squadron VP-203 at Naval Air Station Isla Grande, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 12 Mar 1943
See all 4 photographs of Isla Grande Naval Air Station

Famous WW2 Quote
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944