Naval Air Facility China Lake. Last updated 13 November, 2015
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NAF patch

Redbirds patch

Dust Devils patch

VX-31 patch

1943 - 01 Dec 1976
Patch from E. Mares
The NAF China Lake Drone Division designed and used this patch in the 50's and 60's. Patch from Tom Herold, designed by Pete Savell. The Naval Weapons Test Squadron (Dust Devils) sited at China Lake, was established 8 May 1995.
Patch from G. Verver
The Naval Weapons Test Squadron (Dust Devils) became VX-31 in 2002.


NAF Chronology:

  • April 1943 The Hedron 14 Experimental Unit, a special aircraft ordnance group, was formed in San Diego to support the rocket test work of the California Institute of Technology.
  • December 1943 Aviation Ordnance Development Unit No. 1 (AODU-1) was commissioned under the cognizance of Commander Fleet Air, West Coast.
  • 02 January 1944 The first contingent of AODU-1 personnel arrived at Inyokern.
  • February 1944 Carrier Aircraft Service Unit No. 53 (CASU-53) was assigned to NOTS.
  • 10 May 1944 Aviation Facilities at Inyokern were established by the Secretary of the Navy as the U.S. Navy Air Facility, Inyokern, CA, and the name Harvey Field was officially adopted.
  • 05 June 1944 AODU-1 was officially moved to NOTS.
  • 28 June 1944 The ceremony naming the NOTS airfield in honor of the late LCdr Warren W. Harvey, aviation tactician and aircraft ordnance expert was held.
  • 15 May 1945 The Naval Air Facility was moved to China Lake, CA.
  • 30 May 1945 the new airfield was named Armitage Field in honor of LT John M. Armitage.
  • 02 June 1945 The first project flight was flown from Armitage Field.
  • 29 April 1947 Placed as a separate command under the military command and coordination of the CO of NOTS and under the management control of BuOrd.
  • 05 May 1947 Armitage Field was commissioned under the official title of U.S. Naval Air Facility, U.S. Naval Ordnance Test Station, Inyokern, CA.
  • May 1954 A target drone unit was officially established as a permanent part of NAF.
  • 26 July 1955 In a title change reflective of its actual physical location, NAF was officially redesignated U.S. Naval Air Facility, China Lake, CA.
  • 01 July 1961 The administration and support of the Auxiliary Landing Field, San Clemente Island, were assigned to the NAF CO.
  • 01 December 1976 Naval Air Facility, China Lake, CA, was disestablished after more than 30 years as a separate command, and became part of the Naval Weapons Center; the mission, functions, and organization of the NAF are incorporated essentially unchanged into the new Aircraft Department of the NWC Test and Evaluation Directorate.
  • 08 May 1995 The Aircraft Department is disestablished and its personnel and functions incorporated into the newly created Naval Weapons Test Squadron (NWTS) China Lake, part of Test Wing Pacific of NAWCWPNS; the snake-wielding “dust devil” is adopted as mascot (although never officially approved).
  • 01 May 2002 NWTSCL was redesignated Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Three One (VX-31).

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Commanding Officers:

  05 May 47 - 11 Jun 49 Cdr. J.M. Elliott
  11 Jun 49 - 13 Jul 51 Cdr. J. B. Burks
  13 Jul 51 - 17 Apr 53 Cdr. D. J. Harrington, III
  17 Apr 53 - 08 Apr 55 Cdr. Stanley "Swede" W. Vejtasa
  08 Apr 55 - 04 June 57 Capt. Leonard E. Ewoldt
  04 Jun 57 - 07 Aug 57 Cdr. Congrave C. Callaway (Acting),
  07 Aug 57 - 25 Jul 59 Capt. Guy J. Anderson
  24 Jul 59 - 30 Jun 62 Capt. Theodore A. Grell
Hough 01 Jul 62 - 30 May 64 Capt. Jack W. Hough


01 Jun 64 - 07 Oct 66 Capt. Robert R. Yount
Schaal 07 Oct 66 - 9 Sep 68 Capt. Rodney F. Schall
  10 Sep 68 - 31 Aug 70 Capt. Larry A. Dewing
  31 Aug 70 - Jul 72 Capt. Robert "Bob" McCall
  Jul 72 - Jun 75 Capt. Robert S. Moore
  Jun 75 - 01 Dec 76 Capt. Conrad B. Olson

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Inclusive Dates: Event
7 June 1963
JFK ordnance demo
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Inclusive Dates: Award
No info

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