Richard V. Porcelli, of Barnegat, wants more people to know about a site in Egg Harbor Township that contributed greatly to aviation history. Young men trained there during World War II to become Navy fighter pilots, and Naval aviation research and development continued there until 1958, when a new federal agency for aviation safety took it over as a test facility.
Porcelli’s photo-rich book about the site, “Naval Air Station Atlantic City,” was published in March by Arcadia Publishing in Charleston, S.C. He’d like to see a monument to the station installed at the Atlantic City International Airport terminal, he said.
NASAC was active from 1943 to 1958 at the location that now houses the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard and the airport.
During WWII, young men mastered high performance planes like the Grumman F6F Hellcat at NASAC, then went into combat mostly in the Pacific, said Porcelli, 67, a chemical engineer fascinated with aviation since childhood. About 40 died in training accidents there.
Far more people know about Naval Air Station Wildwood, where dive bombers trained, because of the museum in the historic hangar at its site at the Cape May County Airport in Lower Township, Porcelli said.
After WWII, the Navy converted Hellcat fighters at NASAC into unmanned aircraft, to monitor the 1946 atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. Only one survives, and is in the Smithsonian Institution, Porcelli said. The station also became a test center for new Navy planes, and a training ground for specialty night flying and for flying nuclear bombers.
O.C. Repertory has new director
Producing Artistic Director Flossi Micciolo has appointed Eddie Shiffler as in-house director of the The Ocean City Repertory Theater.
Shiffler will help reorganize the 11-year-old non-profit organization, Micciolo said. He worked with the Ocean City Fine Arts League in its early years and produced a number of events, including the Memorial Day Business Swim, she said. He will help create new theater and music programs, a membership campaign, and more. Call 609-457-6686 or visit www.ocrep.org.
Family of the Year nominations
For 32 years, the nonprofit Family Service Association in Egg Harbor Township has presented the Family of the Year Award to a family whose members exemplify mutual commitment, love and respect for one another and a concern for the community.
Call 609-569-0239 ext. 1160 for a nomination form, which must be returned by July 14.
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