AUSN

FALL-WINTER 2017

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

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additional acres were acquired in order to accom- modate more extended runways and parking areas. By 1943, the Naval Air Station had become a central airfield and a crucial training ground for allied naval air units. World War II was a time of enormous growth for the naval station, both in the construction of the facilities described above and in the number of personnel who were trained, homeported, or deployed from the base. Hundreds of thousands of Sailors went through Norfolk on their way to the European front, but one group is of particular interest – the baseball players who played the "NTS World Series" of 1943. Following Pearl Harbor, professional ball players enlisted in various branches of the military, just like Americans from every other profession. While professional teams were le with empty rosters, the Navy became a baseball powerhouse, featuring so many players from the minor, Amer- ican, and National leagues that the naval base was eventually able to field "dream teams" from both the Norfolk Training Station (NTS) and the Naval Air Station (NAS). In the early days of the war, ball players in all the branches of the military were usually assigned to "special services" divisions to play baseball, boost morale, and distract the boys from their future deployments. It was the same in Norfolk, but in the summer of 1942 the NTS Blue Jackets won 92 games out of 102 played, which was more exciting than expected. at was just the beginning, however. So many ball players enlisted that by early 1943 the Blue Jackets and the new NAS Flyers in Norfolk were drawn almost entirely from profes- sional ranks. Over the course of the season, both teams battled rival Navy teams and major league teams in front of enthusiastic crowds of Navy personnel. (For security reasons, the public was allowed to attend only a few games held as war bond drives.) ey played at McClure Field, located on the base, which held 3,500 spectators. Game aer game drew capacity crowds and intense coverage from the base newspaper, the Norfolk Seabag. e season culminated in a closely-fought, seven- game "NTS World Series" in September, ultimately won by the NTS Blue Jackets. More than 29,000 Sailors attended the series, and more than 250,000 attended the games over the summer. Win or lose, as morale boosters, the Norfolk baseball teams were an unqualified success. 27 Association of the United States Navy In the early days of the war, ball players in all the branches of the military were usually assigned to "special services" divisions to play baseball, boost morale, and distract the boys from their future deployments. COURTESY HAMPTON ROADS NAVAL MUSEUM

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