The Navy Hangar, Boiler House and a 400 foot by 1,200 foot concrete warm-up apron were constructed in 1943 soon after the Navy reassumed control of the airport from the Army Air Corps. The Navy Hangar was one of the first buildings constructed and contributed to the $917,000 cost of several buildings constructed by the Austin Company in 1943.
Class 'C' Overhaul Building
Later on in the spring of 1944, the Gaasland Construction Company was hired to construct several more Navy buildings and structures. Buildings constructed near the warm-up apron were a Class ‘C’ Overhaul building, an Armory, a Radio and Radar building, and two portable paint shops. These facilities were equipped to service:
Gunnery Training Building
Constructed adjacent to the Class ‘C’ Overhaul Building was the Gunnery Training Building which was used to train a standard fifty-man unit. Here, pilots were instructed in free and fixed gunnery, link trainers, communication, navigation, and target recognition. Sitting in standard airplane turrets, a student would “fire” at a motion picture of enemy planes which maneuvered around a cylindrical screen in exactly the same manner that an attacking “bogey” would. The entire free and fixed gunnery syllabus originating at Arlington was so successful that it was adopted by the Naval Air Bases Command for use at other naval bases.
The training was directed by Lieutenant Conrad B. Bentzen of Bellingham. Also, the squadron pilots increased their camera gunnery operations and later requested facilities for developing gun camera film. Their request was granted and the Army dispensary was converted into a fairly complete photo laboratory.
Known for its high-quality training program, the Navy trained 22 torpedo bomber and fighting squadrons. The squadrons averaged 16 fighters utilizing the Wildcat and Hellcat fighters and 12 torpedo bombers utilizing the Grumman Avenuengers. Nearly 3,000 pilots and air crewmen received final training here at Arlington before being sent into combat.