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NAS kicks off Centennial Celebration by honoring Lt. Walter Richardson

NAS PENSACOLA  -- It's been 100 years since the USS Mississippi arrived in Pensacola to set up the Navy's first flying school and later Naval Aeronautical Station.  Pensacola NAS is kicking off its Centennial Celebration by dedicating its command headquarters to the pioneer in Naval photography.

Lt. Walter Richardson is considered the Navy's first official photographer.

For Craig Nalley seeing the pomp and circumstance was nice, but hearing the personal stories about his grandfather, Lt. Richardson had such an impact on him he could barely hold back tears of joy. 

Craig's mother was Lt. Richardson's daughter, and she always hoped this day would come. 
"She said one day they're going to honor my father and it's today" said Craig Nalley, Grandson of Lt. Richardson.

Building 1500 serves as the headquarters building onboard NAS Pensacola.  It was built 1939.  A few years later it was converted from barracks into the Naval Schools of Photography.  Inside you'd find old relics that stand the test of time including Lt. Richardson's first camera which date back to the early 1900s.

It only seems natural for the building to be dedicated to the 'Father of Naval Photography'. 
Lt. Richardson's lasting legacy still lives on today albeit the cameras are fancier than back in his time.    

"We grew up knowing our grandfather was involved with aerial photography but I guess we didn't know the impact on the Navy and the nation" said Judy Simmons, Granddaughter of Lt. Richardson.

The dedication ceremony also served as a reunion of sorts for Lt. Richardson's family that now spans generations.  Many of the grandchildren learned more about their grandfather than ever before.

"Hearing it growing up in the family from my dad and his brothers and sisters is one thing but coming down here and seeing him dedicated to this building I'm so impressed and so proud" said Allen Richardson, Grandson of Lt. Richardson.

The plaque honoring Lt. Walter Richardson has been placed inside the headquarters building for all to see.