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Military's Early Valley Fever Research Still Benefiting Public Health Today

Dec 5, 2017
Lemoore Army Flying School Class 43B yearbook

In the city of Lemoore, a community of 25,000 rising out of arid cropland in California’s San Joaquin Valley, almost everyone has a story about valley fever.

Take Frank Bernhardt, nursing a beer at the Fleet Reserve bar on the edge of town. He first encountered the disease just after moving here in the 1960s. “Years ago, my youngest daughter had it. She just didn't have no energy,” he said.

“I had a sailor that worked for me that had it,” recalls Kevin Crownover, playing dice across the bar. “He probably missed about a week's worth of work.”

Lemoore Naval Air Station will be the next home base of the US Navy’s new F-35c joint strike fighter jet. Several squadrons totaling 100 aircraft with be based at Lemoore, replacing the aging FA-18 Hornet. Lemoore beat out El Centro Naval Air Facility in Imperial County in the bid to host the jets. 

In a written statement announcing the decision, Congressman David Valadao said the move will result in new jobs and a boost to the local economy."

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

We all know that California’s drought is posing huge problems for valley farmers. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, it’s also a concern for pilots at one of the largest Navy installations in the west.


It’s a busy day at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in Kings County. Pilots flying F/A18 Super Hornets are practicing touch and go exercises on a runway that’s painted to look like an aircraft carrier.