Base Property and Historical Use
The former Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Tustin was initially established as a Navy lighter-than-air (LTA) base and commissioned in the fall of 1942. The station was used to support observation blimps and personnel that were necessary to conduct antisubmarine patrols off the Southern California coast during World War II. The facility served as an LTA base until 1949, when it was decommissioned. In 1951, the facility was reactivated to support the Korean Conflict. It was the country's first air facility developed solely for helicopter operations. By the early 1990s, MCAS Tustin was a major center for Marine Corps helicopter aviation on the Pacific Coast. Its primary purpose was to provide support services and material for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and for other units utilizing the base. About 4,500 residents once lived on the base, and the base employed nearly 5,000 military personnel and civilians. In addition to providing military support, MCAS Tustin leased 530 acres to farmers for commercial crop development. For many years, agricultural lands surrounded the facility. However, since the 1980s residential and light industrial/manufacturing areas have developed adjacent to the station.
Closure date, planned reuses, parcels transferred
In 1991 and again in 1993, under the authority of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990, it was announced that MCAS Tustin would be closed. Operational closure of the MCAS occurred in July 1999. As of March 2012, of the approximate 1,600 acres, approximately 1,357 acres have been conveyed to the City of Tustin, private developers and public institutions for a combination of residential, commercial, educational, and public recreational and open-space uses. The remaining 245 +/- acres will be conveyed to the City of Tustin and public institutions for the same use types.
(Updated March 2012)