Navy Bases

Fallon Naval Air Station, Nevada

NAS Fallon is part of the Navy Region Southwest located in Churchill County, Nevada. The cost-of-living here is average, with the exception of housing which is above average. Although relatively isolated, NAS Fallon is only a short drive from some of the finest outdoor recreation areas in the country. If you like to fish, hunt, boat, hike, camp, ride off-road vehicles or ski, the area surrounding Fallon is ideal. Ghost towns, historical sites and old mines tell of Nevada's old west history. Yet, there is big city excitement nearby. Carson City, Nevada's state capitol, and Reno with its 24-hour entertainment are only an hour away.

NAS Fallon's approximately 5,000 military/civilian/contractor personnel and family members represent almost 20% of Churchill County's population. Other nearby DOD activities include Hawthorne Army Depot, about 75 miles south of Fallon, and various National Guard and Reserve units in the Reno/Carson City area.

Home to the Fighting Saints of VFC-13, the Desert Outlaws of Strike Fighter Weapons Det., and the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, NAS Fallon serves as the Navy's premier tactical air warfare training center.

Known throughout the Navy as the only facility in existence where an entire carrier air wing can conduct comprehensive training while integrating every element of the wing into realistic battle scenarios.

Fallon enjoys more than 300 clear flying days per year and gets the most out of each of those days with its four bombing ranges, the electronic warfare range and all of its other excellent training facilities. The 14,000-foot runway remains the longest in the Navy, making Fallon a one-stop training facility unequaled throughout the service.

From its beginnings as a WWII Army Air Corps airstrip in the early 1940s, Fallon has served many different missions throughout the years. Originally designed as a primary base to launch missions against a Japanese strike against the West coast, the air station has evolved into a versatile, comprehensive training facility known to aviators around the world as the pinnacle of air warfare training.

Naval Air Station Fallon traces its origins to 1942, when the Civil Aviation Administration and the Army Air Corps began construction of four airfields in the Nevada desert. As part of the Western Defense Program, initiated to repel an expected Japanese attack on the west coast, runways and lighting systems were built in Winnemucca, Minden, Lovelock and Fallon.

As the war in the Pacific developed, the Navy recognized a need to train its pilots in a realistic environment using all the tactics and weapons currently being developed. Fallon was the Navy's choice and, in 1943, the Navy assumed control of the two 5,200 foot runways. Construction soon began on barracks, hangars, air traffic control facilities and target ranges. On June 10, 1944, Naval Auxiliary Air Station Fallon was commissioned.

The mission of the newly-commissioned N.A.A.S. was to provide training, servicing and support to air groups deploying here for combat training. This mission, although worded differently over the years, has remained basically unchanged. The station sported a torpedo bombing range at Sutcliffe near Pyramid Lake and operated three satellite fields. Soon after taking in its first customers, it was realized that two more free gunnery ranges were needed as well as rocket bombing and ground-strafing targets, including the Lone Rock range (Bravo 20), established in 1943.

Training operations at N.A.A.S. Fallon reached a peak in the summer of 1945 when an average of 21,000 take-offs and landings were recorded and more than 12,000 flight hours logged at the station. Ironically, just as construction of the initial airfield project was completed and the training program going full gear, the Japanese surrendered and brought an untimely end to N.A.A.S. Fallon. Eight months after the completion of a new 24-unit housing project, five months after a new gym was built and only three months following the opening of a new Commissary, N.A.A.S. Fallon was placed in a "reduced operation status." One month later, on February 1, 1946, the facility was further reduced to a "maintenance status" and on June 1, to a "caretaker status" and the official designation of Naval Auxiliary Air Station removed.

For the next five years, the facility was used by the Bureau of Indian Service. Buildings once used by pilots to prepare to meet the challenge from the deck of a pitching aircraft carrier disappeared. The swimming pool, once the scene of sailors attempting to escape the Nevada summer heat, became a home for pigs.

The Korean conflict brought new life to the small desert installation. Once again, the Navy found reason to train pilots in the new sophisticated jet aircraft. In 1951, Fallon became an Auxiliary Landing Field for N.A.S. Alameda, California. On October 1, 1953, N.A.A.S. Fallon was reestablished by order of the Secretary of the Navy. The present day bombing ranges, Bravo 16, 17 and 19 were also created that year.

Over the next 30 years, the Fallon air station grew to become one of the premier training sites for Navy and Marine Corps pilots and ground crews. New hangars, ramps, housing and other facilities sprung up to give the installation new and greater capabilities.

The Air Force came to Fallon in 1956 with the establishment of the 858th Air Defense Group, part of the country's early warning radar system. For the next 19 years, the Air Force command provided vital assistance in America's national security.

The airfield became known as Van Voorhis Field in 1958, after Lt. Commander Bruce A. Van Voorhis, a Fallon native who received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the South Pacific during World War II.

The airfields most sophisticated range, the electronic warfare range, was established in 1967.

On January 1, 1972, the Navy recognized Fallon's importance to naval aviation by upgrading the base to a major command -- Naval Air Station Fallon was commissioned.

Today, N.A.S. Fallon operates and maintains a complete airfield facility to provide visiting squadrons and air wings with ordnance, fuel, air traffic control, berthing and messing, and all other aspects which are necessary for accomplishing the vital training conducted here.

The 1980s saw the air station experiencing dramatic growth, as a state-of-the-art air traffic control facility and new hangar were constructed. Naval Strike Warfare Center was established to be the primary authority for integrated strike warfare tactical development and training. In 1985, Fallon received a new tool to aid in its aircrew training: the Tactical Aircrew Combat Training System or TACTS. This system provides squadrons, carrier air wings and students from Naval Strike Warfare Center with visual, graphic displays of their missions eliminating the guess work. Strike Fighter Squadron 127, the "Desert Bogeys" aggressors moved to N.A.S. Fallon in 1987, becoming the air station's only permanently based squadron.

It was the training accomplished by aircrews both at their home bases and N.A.S. Fallon which accounted for the successful missions against Libyan jets in the Gulf of Sidra, the invasion of Grenada, the interception of an Egyptian airliner carrying terrorists in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf conflict.

N.A.S. Fallon's future is bright among Naval shore activities. A new hangar, ramp and academic building were built in 1995 to accommodate the move of Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (Top Dome) to Fallon in early 1996. A Seabee construction unit and reserve adversary strike fighter squadron also relocated to Fallon in 1996.

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