Naval Air Station Fallon
Definition/Scope: 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. Naval Auxiliary Air Station Fallon was commissioned on June 10, 1944. 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. 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, which was part of the country's early warning radar system. 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 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 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.
Broader Terms:Navy Region Southwest
Narrower Terms:Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center
Related Terms:Joint Terminal Air Controller