Base opens gate for 75th anniversary

Base opens gate for 75th anniversaryHistoric 1956 photo of the front gate. — Courtesy photo

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In observance of the Navy’s 75th anniversary at China Lake (coming up on Nov. 8), the Naval Air Weapons Station’s front gates will be open to the public for Community Day on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Blandy Avenue.

“We take pride in the significant, ongoing relationship we share with the surrounding communities in the Indian Wells Valley. This community event is one small way of saying ‘thank you’ for your constant support of the base and our personnel. We are privileged to have called Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley home for 75 years and we look forward to being here for many more,” said NAWS Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Dale.

“The relationship between the Navy base at China Lake and the town of Ridgecrest has always been special, and this close bond between the two entities has always made us distinctive,” said a spokesperson for the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert.

The Historical Society, along with the Maturango Museum and the China Lake Museum Foundation, will be among the partners exhibiting historical artifacts and selling keepsakes and publications at the event.

Ambassadors of those organizations will also greet visitors at the east end of Blandy, and co-host a free shuttle service between Michelson Lab at the west end of Blandy and the “Historical Zone” at the east end.

The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with a welcome ceremony at Solar Park.

The event will feature military static displays of aircraft and weapons systems, historical displays, a car display “Show and Shine,” activities for kids, music, food for purchase, an inflatable obstacle course and more. An event map will be available on site.

“This event promotes goodwill among our military, veterans, local community and those currently serving in support of NAWS China Lake,” said a spokesperson.

The main gate, located at China Lake Boulevard and Inyokern Road, will open to the public from 9:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. The NAWS Police Department will be directing traffic and conducting random security searches during these hours, so please ensure that you comply with CLPD personnel and have your current driver’s license, registration and insurance information with you.

The event is sponsored by Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and Operation Family Fund.

Visitors will not be allowed to drive recreational vehicles on base. Other restrictions include firearms, knives and other items used for personal defense. Food and beverages are also prohibited. For a complete list of restricted items or for more information, call 760-939-1683 or check out Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/177754806162295/.

Story First Published: 2018-04-27