Community

Hero of Midway built Whidbey base

The original Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Island Command Building (Building 12) located on the Seaplane Base, will be officially named “Simard Hall” on Saturday, June 12 at 11 a.m., in honor of Admiral Cyril T. Simard.

The building dedication was ordered by the Chief of Naval Operations.

Capt. Gerral David, NAS Whidbey Island commanding officer, members of the Simard family and community leaders welcome the public to join them for the official naming ceremony, followed by a narrated historical slideshow, refreshments and visit to the command display (museum) located in the building and operated by the PBY Memorial Foundation.

Simard was a highly-decorated naval pilot who entered service in 1918 and flew patrol aircraft from both land and ships, including the USS Arizona (BB 39) and USS California (bb-44). In 1942, he commanded NAS Midway Island and directed all of the shore-based aircraft during the epic battle with the Japanese fleet. He was awarded for his valiant effort and was depicted in the famous 1976 movie “Midway.” As a side note, his aide was played by Tom Selleck.

Following Midway, Simard transferred to NAS Whidbey Island where he led the construction effort for both Seaplane Base and Ault Field. The base was commissioned on Sept. 21, 1942.

Building 12 is located on the northern hill of the Seaplane Base next to Skagit Community College. To reach this building, enter the base from Pioneer Way via the Maui Gate, turn left at the 4-way stop then turn left at the top of the hill. Attendees can enter the base without a military ID. Please follow signs to the PBY Museum.

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