NAS Fallon is 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.
Since its inception during World War II, the base has focused on training carrier–based air crews to fly and fight as a cohesive unit. During the war, air groups deployed to Fallon prior to conducting strike operations from carriers in the Pacific, honing their air-to-air and air-to-ground skills on the seven bombing ranges administered by the air station. After the war, the base was declared a surplus federal facility and turned over to Churchill County. The base reopened as a Navy Auxiliary Air Field in the early 1950’s to provide training to Naval Aviators during the Korean Conflict. With the advent of radar guided surface-to-air missiles during Vietnam, expansions to the Fallon range included an Electronic Warfare Range. The quality of training was improved during the 1980’s with the stand-up of the Naval Strike Warfare Center. And in 1996, it was combined with the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning School to form a single training command responsible for graduate-level tactical aviation: The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.
Today, NSAWC provides advanced training to aircrews in all facets of Naval Aviation, with up-to-date and realistic threat presentations from adversary aircraft and ground-based systems, to complex and flexible mission objectives, including close-air-support and dynamic targeting scenarios in urban environments.
With over 300 days of good flying weather annually, and 13,000 square miles of airspace in which to operate, the facilities and ranges at NAS Fallon are critical to maintaining the readiness of our Naval Forces. The installation has kept pace with the infrastructure necessary to keep the training current and cutting-edge, while giving military members and visiting personnel a high quality of life. NAS Fallon’s commitment to the environment and cooperation with our surrounding communities has lead to partnerships that will sustain the viability of the base and ranges well into the future.
NAS Fallon Celebrates National Public Lands Day
Local ranchers and military units that use the Horse Creek area were invited to participate in a native vegetation reseeding effort. Horse Creek is a remote parcel of land the Navy acquired in the 1980’s. Once a homestead in the Dixie Valley Settlement established in the early 1920’s, Horse Creek is now part of the NAS Fallon Range Training Complex and is used for limited ground training while open to the public. In recent years, drought, off-road vehicle use and overgrazing have taken its toll on native plants.
The day was cold as a winter storm approached. We were waiting for any sign of precipitation for the seeding to be successful. Finally, on December 12, a group of 10 volunteers seeded 12 acres using a native seed mix containing grasses, forbs, and shrubs. NAS Fallon’s landscaping contractor, High Sierra Industries, donated the use of a tractor and two chain harrows to prepare the ground to take the seed and to cover the seed after distribution. This effort will improve rangeland forage production, minimize noxious weed establishment and erosion of soil into Horse Creek, and restore a healthy plant community beneficial to wildlife. In addition, ground training will continue to use the area for realistic scenarios, and the public will enjoy coming to camp, fish, hunt and view wildlife.
Near the end of the day, we noticed a herd of desert bighorn sheep on the distant ridge top watching as we worked. Leaving the site for the day, we drove towards the approaching storm, hopeful that spring will show the fruits of our labor.