Beginning with the Civil War, the Battle Born Nevada’s military legacy sets a high water mark that few, if any, states can equal. However, much of this legacy remains hidden beneath a shroud of secrecy to preserve the national security of the United States.
The first military aviation in Nevada was the Army Air Corps who secretly tested smart bombs at Tonopah and Wendover Army Air Fields during World War II. World War II activities include the Army Airfield/Bombing Range/Test and Development at Wendover where the Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay was hangared at the training site of the 509th Composite Group, the B-29 unit which dropped the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. The Army ordnance depot at Hawthorne, Nevada was until recent years one of the largest in the United States.
Few know about the early flying wing flown at the secret Roach Lake air strip, or the present day activities in Nevada for future space travel and colonies.
Our limited research has uncovered a last number of air strips servicing brothels, ranches, and small towns through out the state. Many however, we know they existed, however their history still needs to be established. Any help on this will be greatly appreciated.
Nevada holds several national and international records in aviation. This is documented by video dating back to the early days of the 20th century. The history of the state’s early air services is still be researched and information sought.
Nellis AFB is the Warfare Center of the United States Air Force, and the training grounds of Red Flag and similar training exercises.
Naval Air Station Fallon is the home to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), which includes the United States Navy’s premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility, and the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), bombing and electronic warfare ranges, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (TOPDOME), the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School, and Navy SEAL Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) training.
In the 1960s, the U.S. Coast Guard maintained a heavy presence on Lake Mead. The USCG still maintains auxiliary units at Lake Mead, Lake Mojave, and Lake Tahoe.
The role the CIA played in establishing the Groom Lake facility in Nevada and its role in producing the first U.S. stealth plane has recently been declassified. The CIA tested the first U-2 planes at Groom Lake and deployed three detachments of pilots and crew around the world to overfly Cold War and actual war enemies of the United States. The Agency followed the U-2 with the development of the Mach 3, high-flying A-12 Blackbird that flew reconnaissance missions over North Vietnam and North Korea until replaced by the Air Force’s SR-71. The Agency flew 2850 sorties out of Groom Lake in total secrecy.
The aviation legacy of Nevada in conjunction with the only atomic testing facility in the United States is one the state can claim that no other state can do so. The same applies to the nuclear reactors built and test in Nevada for future use in aviation and for space exploration. Nevada’s advances in the use of nuclear for aviation and aerospace is unequaled by any other venue on the planet.
Few realize that Nevada skies were the testbed for early space travel. The X-15 produced 8 astronauts in the 1950s and 1960s as the United States raced the Soviet Union for space dominance. Virtually every component that took American astronauts into space and back was first tested in the X-15 over Nevada with the tracking occurring at Beatty and Ely Tracking Stations situated on the NASA High Range in Nevada. At the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Nevada, NASA developed and tested the United State’s nuclear rockets designed for manned flight to Mars and other space destinations.
Follow the links in the sub-directory for much more about the Air Force history of Nevada.