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World War II Naval Catapult System Component Found!

Airport Staff Report

May 17, 2024

During our taxiway alpha project our construction team unearthed part of the original naval catapult system!

During our most recent project to reconstruct one of our main taxiways, our construction team uncovered a piece of New Smyrna Beach history! Many years ago, our airport served as a vital piece in the fight against axis powers. Our airport in particular, had what's known as a "Catapult Runway". In order for operations to be successful in the Pacific Theater of the War, aircraft carriers were heavily used. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was fortunate for our country that the aircraft carriers were not in the harbor on that fateful day.

These carriers were the main effort in our ability to defeat the Japanese. At that time carriers had a catapult system that would launch various aircraft from its decks to commence aerial combat with our enemy. Here at the New Smyrna Beach airport pilots trained to launch of these carriers with land-based catapult systems. Pictured above is what we believe to be one of the components of that system. In order to honor the war fighters of their time, we will be displaying this piece in our new airport administrative building along with the information. We find it important to honor those that came before us that sacrificed so that we could live the lives we do today. We look forward to sharing that with visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact our office with the information below.

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