In 1931, Mountain View, California and Sunnyvale, California acquired a 1,000 acre parcel of land bordering San Francisco Bay, then "sold" the parcel for $1 to the US government as a home base for the Navy dirigible USS Macon. Commissioned in 1933 and originally named NAS Sunnyvale, after the loss of the Macon and the death of Rear Admiral William A. Moffett in the loss of the USS Akron, the Naval Air Station was renamed NAS Moffett Field.
From the end of World War II until its close, NAS Moffett Field saw several generations of anti-submarine warfare aircraft, including the Lockheed P2V Neptune and P-3 Orion. Until the demise of the USSR and for some time thereafter, daily anti-submarine sorties flew out from Moffett Field to patrol along the Pacific coastline.
Onizuka Air Force Station, a large blue concrete building and an array of parabolic dish antennas used for control of military satellites, occupies the southern corner of Moffett Field. The base was named for Ellison Onizuka, one of the astronauts that died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.