On 10 May 2012, NVAHOF Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame Director Thornton D. “TD” Barnes and NVAHOF Photographer Mike Schmitz received an excellent tour of Naval Air Station Fallon by Public Affairs Officer Zip Upham. The event was a segment of NVAHOF’s tour of northern Nevada on a promotional tour to encourage NVAHOF’s statewide drive to honor Nevada’s aerospace and aviation legends, and to educate its youth.
NAS Fallon plays a major part in Nevada aviation and makes a vital contribution to the nation by its training some of the best aviators in the world. The Naval Air Station Fallon in Fallon, Nevada is home to the Fighting Saints of NFC-13, the Desert Outlaws of Strike Fighter Weapons Det and the Naval Strike Air Warfare Center. NAS Fallon (Top Gun) serves as the Navy’s premier tactical air warfare training center “Train the way you fight, fight the way you train”.
Nevada is proud to host the only Navy facility where an entire carrier air wing can conduct comprehensive training while integrating every element of the wing into realistic battle scenarios.
NVAHOF is honored to have enshrined in its inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony CDR Bruce Avery Van Voorhis, Nevada’s only Medal of Honor awardee since the Indian Wars. NVAHOF was also instrumental in getting CDR Van Voorhis entered into the Medal of Honor Society. CDR Van Voorhis, NAS Fallon airfield’s namesake graduated from the Churchill County High School, Nevada in 1924 where his classmates knew him as “Clint”. Van Voorhis died on July 6, 1943, near Hare Island of the Kapingamarangi Atoll in the southernmost area of the Easter Carolina Island in the Western Pacific during World War II. After a 700-mile flight alone a Plane Commander of a PB4Y-1 with Bombing Squadron 102, he launched successive bombing strafing attacks on Japanese ground installations, destroying a radio station, anti-aircraft emplacement and at least four enemy aircraft in the air and on the water in six successive ground level attacks. He was caught in his own bomb blast and crashed into a lagoon, ending his heroic single-handed strike.
At one time, the Air Station’s 14,000-foot runway was one of the longest in the world. I remains the longest in the Navy today. The airfield was constructed during World War II in 1942 as a secondary line of defense of the west coast of the United States when the Civil Aviation Administration and the Army Air Corps constructed four airfield in the Nevada desert as part of the Western Defense System to repel an expected Japanese attack on the west coast.
NVAHOF thanks Zip Upham, NAS Fallon PAO, and Robin F. Bowers, CIV NAVFAC SW for their professionalism and outstanding support of NVAHOF’s program to educate the public and Nevada’s youth on the rich legacy of the United Stages Navy in the state of Nevada.