Coronado’s “Avenue Of The Heroes” ... Capt. Fred M. Nevitt, Jr. USN - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado’s “Avenue Of The Heroes” ... Capt. Fred M. Nevitt, Jr. USN

by Russell Nevitt | Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 5:01 pm

Born May 5, 1924, Captain Fred M. Nevitt, Jr. was the only child of a blacksmith and his wife. Growing up in rural Newton, Kansas, he was instilled early with the values of hard work and a strong moral ethic. Working a variety of jobs as a young man, Nevitt excelled as a student athlete, leading his high school to the state basketball championship as a senior. While enrolled at Kansas State, Nevitt’s parents reluctantly approved his request to join the World War II fray; he signed up Dec. 14, 1942, entering the NAVCAD Program. Typical of these chaotic times, it was almost eight months before he reported to NAS Hutchinson, Kansas, to begin training. A varied program ensued, including flight training in the famous N3N “Yellow Peril.” While in Chicago, he met his future wife, Mildred Rose Lewis, on a blind date. Finally receiving his wings in September 1945, he reported to NAS Jacksonville, to fly the SB2C Dive Bomber, affectionately known as “the Beast.”

Heading west in the summer of 1946, he was assigned to VA-54 in Coronado. For the next two and a half years, he flew “the Beast,” while also playing for the acclaimed Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific’s basketball team. A chance meeting with the Commanding Officer of one of the first jet squadrons in Coronado, (the CO admired his basketball warmups and Fred really admired his aircraft), allowed Nevitt to acquire a precious 10 hours of “jet” time. Transferring to the CVG-5 Staff in February 1949, Fred transitioned to flying the most powerful propeller driven Navy fighter—the F8F Bearcat. Shortly thereafter, with the West Coast in his rear view mirror, Nevitt headed to Texas to instruct in the F4U Corsair.

In September 1951, he reported aboard NAS Alameda and transitioned to the F9F Panther. A challenging combat cruise aboard USS Boxer (CV-21) followed, flying with VF-24 against enemy forces in Korea. Upon return to the States, he was selected for an exchange tour with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, flying the premier fighter of the era, the F86 Sabre. Multiple shore and shipboard assignments followed before he returned to NAS Miramar and transitioned to the F8U Crusader. Subsequent assignments included XO and Commanding Officer, VF 162 and Air Boss aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63).

Nevitt was then assigned to the Pentagon, serving multiple tours on the staffs of the Joint Chiefs and OPNAV before returning to San Diego to conclude his career on the staffs of COMFIRSTFLEET and COMNAVAIRPAC. Retiring in June 1975 with over 32 years of service, Nevitt’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air medals, Navy Commendation medals with combat “V,” and service/campaign medals for WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Since retiring, Nevitt has devoted his time to his family and faith, with a little time set aside for hunting, fishing, and skiing. Although time has slowed him down, Fred’s devotion to the love of his life, Milly, never dimmed as they enjoyed 73 years of marriage.