Naval Air Station Fallon
Naval Air Station Fallon or NAS Fallon is the United States Navy's premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility. It is located southeast of the city of Fallon in western Nevada. Since 1996, it has been home to the Naval Fighter Weapons School taking over from the former NAS Miramar and the surrounding area contains 240,000 acres of bombing and electronic warfare ranges, it is home to the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, which includes TOPGUN, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School and the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School. Navy SEAL Combat Search and Rescue training takes place there; the airfield is named Van Voorhis Field in honor of Commander Bruce Van Voorhis, awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. The airfield at NAS Fallon was built in 1942 as part of a defensive network to repel a feared Japanese invasion of the west coast, it was soon taken over by the Navy for training use and has been used as such since with the exception of the period of 1946 to 1951, during which it was used by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
During the years prior to 1972, the base was known as Naval Auxiliary Air Station and was used during the Vietnam War by various squadrons that rotated through the base before deploying to carriers headed for Vietnam. During these same years prior to 1972, many ground troops were temporarily assigned to NAAS Fallon for their hot weather training and cold weather training. On 1 January 1972, the Navy recognized NAS Fallon's importance to naval aviation by upgrading the base from auxiliary air station status to a major aviation command as a full-fledged naval air station. While NAS Fallon provides training for visiting Carrier Air Wings, Strike Fighter Squadron 127, the "Desert Bogeys", was the air station's only permanently based squadron from October 1987 until it was disestablished on 23 March 1996; the Navy relocated its Navy Fighter Weapons School, or TOPGUN, from NAS Miramar to NAS Fallon in 1996, following the transfer of NAS Miramar to the Marine Corps and its redesignation as MCAS Miramar.
This move resulted in the construction of a new ramp and academic buildings. The new command, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, was established on 11 July 1996 and was a unification of TOPGUN, Strike University, the Naval Strike Warfare Center, TOPDOME, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School. In addition to transferring the NSAWC squadron, a Navy Reserve adversary squadron, Fighter Squadron Composite THIRTEEN, the "Saints," was permanently relocated from its former base at NAS Miramar to NAS Fallon; as a result, VFC-13 replaced the disestablished VFA-127 in the fighter adversary role. Associated bombing ranges checker the surrounding Lahontan Valley and Dixie Valley, the next valley to the east. Dixie Valley contains a simulated air defense network, including 20 operational radar installations. Many demilitarized armored vehicles, including some exotics, have been scattered throughout the area for ambiance. Most of this area is publicly accessible, with the exception of areas surrounding the radar installations.
The entire training area surrounding NAS Fallon is known as the Fallon Range Training Complex. Between 1956 and 1975, the United States Air Force Air Defense Command operated a General Surveillance Radar station at NAS Fallon; the Air Force area was named Fallon Air Force Station and designated ADC site SM-156. The 858th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved to Fallon AFS from Hamilton Air Force Base, California in the south central section of NAS Fallon in 1956, it activated AN/MPS-7 search and AN/MPS-14 height-finder radar sets, the station functioned as a Ground Control Intercept and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. An AN/FPS-3 search set saw service in 1959. During 1962 Fallon AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment system feeding data to DC-16 at Stead AFB, Nevada. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 858th Radar Squadron on 1 December 1962.
The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. In this time frame, the radar site was relocated from the original location in the south central part of the Naval Air Station grounds to the far southwest corner. At the new SAGE radar site, the squadron used an AN/FPS-35 search radar that replaced the AN/MPS-7 set in 1963. In 1964 an AN/FPS-6 height-finder radar was added. In addition to the main facility at NAS Fallon, the squadron operated a remote AN/FPS-14 Gap Filler site: Gabbs, NV: 38°46′28″N 118°01′17″WAround 1965, Fallon became an FAA/ADC joint-use facility; the AN/MPS-14 radar was retired in 1969. In the early 1970s, the AN/FPS-35 was replaced with an AN/FPS-66A. Over the years, the equipment at the station was upgraded or modified to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information gathered by the radars; the 858th Radar Sq was inactivated and replaced by the 858th Air Defense Group in March 1970.
The upgrade to group status was done because of Fallon AFS' status as a Backup Interceptor Control master control center site. BUIC sites were alternate control sites in the event that SAGE Direction Centers became disabled and unable to control interceptor aircraft; the group was inactivated and replaced by the 85
Project Shoal was an underground nuclear test that took place on October 26, 1963 within the Sand Springs Range 30 miles southeast of Fallon, Nevada, in a granite formation of the range. The site was selected because its earthquake activity afforded a basis for seismic signal comparisons. Project Shoal was part of the Vela Uniform program sponsored jointly by the U. S Department of Defense and the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Vela Uniform was directed toward locating and identifying underground detonations; the objective of Project Shoal was to detonate a nuclear device underground in an active seismic area so that seismic traces for the test and prior earthquakes could be compared and differentiated. The test was performed on October 26, 1963, it involved detonating a 12-kiloton nuclear device in granitic rock at a depth of 1,211 feet below ground surface. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Energy
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America. It spans nearly all of Nevada, much of Oregon and Utah, portions of California and Wyoming, it is noted for both its arid climate and the basin and range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than 100 miles away at the summit of Mount Whitney. The region spans several physiographic divisions, biomes and deserts; the term "Great Basin" is applied to hydrographic, floristic, physiographic and ethnographic geographic areas. The name was coined by John C. Fremont, based on information gleaned from Joseph R. Walker as well as his own travels, recognized the hydrographic nature of the landform as "having no connection to the ocean"; the hydrographic definition is the most used, is the only one with a definitive border. The other definitions yield not only different geographical boundaries of "Great Basin" regions, but regional borders that vary from source to source.
The Great Basin Desert is defined by plant and animal communities, according to the National Park Service, its boundaries approximate the hydrographic Great Basin, but exclude the southern "panhandle". The Great Basin Floristic Province was defined by botanist Armen Takhtajan to extend well beyond the boundaries of the hydrographically defined Great Basin: it includes the Snake River Plain, the Colorado Plateau, the Uinta Basin, parts of Arizona north of the Mogollon Rim; the Great Basin physiographic section is a geographic division of the Basin and Range Province defined by Nevin Fenneman in 1931. The United States Geological Survey adapted Fenneman's scheme in their Physiographic division of the United States; the "section" is somewhat larger than the hydrographic definition. The Great Basin Culture Area or indigenous peoples of the Great Basin is a cultural classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas and a cultural region located between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
The culture area covers 400,000 sq mi, or just less than twice the area of the hydrographic Great Basin. The hydrographic Great Basin is a 209,162-square-mile area. All precipitation in the region sinks underground or flows into lakes; as observed by Fremont, streams, or rivers find no outlet to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. The region is bounded by the Wasatch Mountains to the east, the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges to the west, the Snake River Basin to the north; the south rim is less distinct. The Great Basin includes most of Nevada, half of Utah, substantial portions of Oregon and California and small areas of Idaho and Mexico; the term "Great Basin" is misleading. The Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake, the Humboldt Sink are a few of the "drains" in the Great Basin; the Salton Sink is another closed basin within the Great Basin. The Great Basin Divide separates the Great Basin from the watersheds draining to the Pacific Ocean; the southernmost portion of the Great Basin is the watershed area of the Laguna Salada.
The Great Basin's longest and largest river is the Bear River of 350 mi, the largest single watershed is the Humboldt River drainage of 17,000 sq mi. Most Great Basin precipitation is snow, the precipitation that neither evaporates nor is extracted for human use will sink into groundwater aquifers, while evaporation of collected water occurs from geographic sinks. Lake Tahoe, North America's largest alpine lake, is part of the Great Basin's central Lahontan subregion; the hydrographic Great Basin contains multiple deserts and ecoregions, each with its own distinctive set of flora and fauna. The ecological boundaries and divisions in the Great Basin are unclear; the Great Basin overlaps four different deserts: portions of the hot Mojave and Colorado Deserts to the south, the cold Great Basin and Oregon High Deserts in the north. The deserts can be distinguished by their plants: the Joshua tree and creosote bush occur in the hot deserts, while the cold deserts have neither; the cold deserts are higher than the hot, have their precipitation spread throughout the year.
The climate and flora of the Great Basin is dependent on elevation: as the elevation increases, the precipitation increases and temperature decreases. Because of this, forests occur at higher elevations. Utah juniper/single-leaf pinyon and mountain mahogany form open pinyon-juniper woodland on the slopes of most ranges. Stands of limber pine and Great Basin bristlecone pine can be found in some of the higher ranges. In riparian areas with dependable water cottonwoods and quaking aspen groves exist; because the forest ecosystem is distinct from a typical desert, some authorities, such as the World Wildlife Fund, separate the mountains of the Great Basin desert into their own ecoregion: the Great Basin montane forests. Many rare and endemic species occur in this ecoregion, because the individual mountain ranges are isolated from each other. During the last ice age, the Great Basin was wetter; as it dried during the Holocene, some species retreated to the higher isolated mountains and have high genetic diversity.
Other authorities divide the Great Basin depending on their own criteria. Armen Takhtajan defined the "Great Basin floristic province"; the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency divides the Great Basin into three ecoregions according to latitude: the Northern B
Wendover Air Force Base
Wendover Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force base in Utah now known as Wendover Airport. During World War II, it was a training base for B-24 bomber crews, it was the training site of the 509th Composite Group, the B-29 unit that carried out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, Wendover was used for gunnery range and as a research facility, it was closed by the Air Force in 1969, the base was given to Wendover City in 1977. Tooele County, assumed ownership of the airport and base buildings in 1998, the County continues to operate the airfield as a public airport. A portion of the original bombing range is now the Utah Test and Training Range, used extensively by the Air Force with live fire targets on the range. Wendover Air Force Base's history began in 1940, when the United States Army began looking for additional bombing ranges; the area near the town of Wendover was well-suited to these needs. Though isolated, the area was served by the Western Pacific Railroad, many of its citizens were employed by the railroad.
Construction of the base began on 20 September 1940 and on the range on 4 November 1940. Wendover Air Base became a subpost of Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City on 29 July 1941. By that time a total of 1,822,000 acres had been acquired for the base and associated gunnery/bombing range 86 miles long and 18 to 36 miles wide. Ranchers protested the loss of their grazing land, which they claimed would wipe them out and cost the state of Utah $1.5 million annually. They took their complaints to Governor Henry Hooper Blood, but the War Department pressed on with the development of the bombing range; the first military contingent arrived on 12 August 1941. To provide water, a pipeline was run from a spring on Pilot Peak to the base. With the entrance of the United States into World War II, Wendover Field took on greater importance, it was gunnery range. On March 1942 the Army Air Force activated Wendover Army Air Field and assigned the research and development of guided missiles, pilotless aircraft, remotely controlled bombs to the site.
The new base was serviced by the Ogden Air Depot at Hill Field. In April 1942, the Wendover Sub-Depot was activated and assumed technical and administrative control of the field, under the Ogden Air Depot; the Wendover Sub-Depot was tasked to requisition and issue all Army Air Forces property for organizations stationed at Wendover Field for training. By late 1943 there were 17,500 military personnel at Wendover. Construction at the base continued for most of the war, including three 8,100-foot paved runways, taxiways, a 300,000-square-foot ramp, seven hangars. By May 1945 the base consisted of 668 buildings, including a 300-bed hospital, swimming pool, chapel, bowling alley, two movie theatres, 361 housing units for married officers and civilians. Wendover's mission was to train heavy bomb groups; the training of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator groups began in April 1942, with the arrival of the 306th Bomb Group flying B-17s. From March 1942 through April 1944, Wendover AAF hosted twenty newly formed B-17 and B-24 groups during one phase of their group training.
The Second Air Force organized bombardment training into three phases. In the first, training focused on the individual crew members. In the second, training involved the whole crew; the third and final phase saw the group's crews training together, with formation flying and practice combat missions. Until the end of 1943, each phase of training was conducted at a different base. Heavy Bomb Groups Trained at Wendover Army Air Base In April 1944, the role of Wendover Army Air Base changed with the arrival from Louisiana of P-47 fighters of the 72nd Fighter Wing; the program ended in September. In June 1943, preparations began for the operational use of atomic bombs. Although not as suitable for the atomic mission as the British Avro Lancaster with its cavernous 33-foot bomb bay, Major General Leslie R. Groves, Jr. the director of the Manhattan Project, General Henry H. Arnold, the Chief of United States Army Air Forces, wanted to use an American plane, if this was at all possible, so the Boeing B-29 Superfortress was chosen though it required substantial modification.
The modification project was codenamed Silverplate, but this codename came to identify the training and operational aspects of the program as well. Arnold selected Lieutenant Colonel Paul Tibbets, an officer with a distinguished combat record in Europe and North Africa, who had expert knowledge of the B-29 as one of its test pilots, to form and train a group to deliver atomic bombs. Tibbets chose the Wendover over Great Bend and Mountain Home, Idaho, as the location for his training program, it was remote, good for secrecy and security, but within reasonable distance by air from the Manhattan Project's Site Y, at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the Salton Sea Naval Auxiliary Air Station, where bombing tables for the mission would be prepared. The base was given the code name "Kingman", became the Manhattan Project's Site K; the activity to assemble and flight test prototype bombs was named "Project W-47". On 14 September 1944, the 393d Bomb Squadron arrived at Wendover from its former base at Fairmont Army Air Base
Dugway Proving Ground
Dugway Proving Ground is a U. S. Army facility established in 1942 to test biological and chemical weapons, located about 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah and 13 miles south of the 2,624 sq mi Utah Test and Training Range forming the largest overland special use airspace in the United States. Dugway Proving Ground is located about 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, in southern Tooele County and just north of Juab County, it encompasses 801,505 acres of the Great Salt Lake Desert, an area the size of the state of Rhode Island, is surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges. It had a resident population of 795 persons as of the 2010 United States Census, all of whom lived in the community of Dugway, Utah, at its extreme eastern end, it is 13 mi south of the 2,624-square-mile Utah Test and Training Range and together they form "the largest block of overland contiguous special use airspace measured from surface or near surface within the continental U. S.". The transcontinental Lincoln Highway passed through the present site of the Dugway Proving Ground, is the only section of the old highway closed to the public.
At least one old wooden bridge over a creek still stands. The name Dugway comes from a technique of digging a trench into a hillside to create a flat surface along which a wagon can travel. Dugway's mission is to test United States and Allied biological and chemical weapon defense systems in a secure and isolated environment. DPG serves as a facility for US Army Reserve and US National Guard maneuver training, US Air Force flight tests—mostly from nearby Hill Air Force Base in Clearfield. DPG is controlled by the United States Army Evaluation Command; the area has been used by Army special forces for training in preparation for deployments to the War in Afghanistan. In 1941, the US Army Chemical Warfare Service determined it needed a testing facility more remote than the US Army's Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland; the CWS surveyed the Western U. S. for a new location to conduct its tests, in the spring of 1942, construction of Dugway Proving Ground began. Since its founding, much of Dugway Proving Ground activity has been a guarded secret.
Testing commenced in the summer of 1942. During World War II, DPG tested toxic agents, chemical spray systems, biological warfare weapons, fire bombing tactics, antidotes for chemical agents, protective clothing. During 1943 the so-named German Village and Japanese Village set-piece domestic "hamlets" were built at Dugway, for practice in the fire-bombing of homes of the types in urbanized areas of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire's Home Islands. In October 1943, DPG established biological warfare facilities at UTTR's range telemetry and tracking radar installation, an isolated area within DPG known as the Granite Peak Installation. DPG was phased out after World War II, becoming inactive in August 1946; the base was reactivated during the Korean War, under Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Speers Ponder, in 1954 was confirmed as a permanent Department of the Army installation. In October 1958, the United States Army Chemical Center, moved the U. S. Army Chemical and Radiological Weapons School to Dugway Proving Grounds.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Project Bellwether -- a study of weaponized, mosquito-spread infections -- was based at DPG. From 1985 to 1991, Dugway Proving Ground was home to the Ranger School's short-lived Desert Training Phase, it was first known as the Desert Ranger Division until redesignated the Ranger Training Brigade's 7th Ranger Training Battalion in 1987, taught students basic desert survival skills and small unit tactics. The program was moved back to its original site at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1991, where it was deactivated in 1995. On September 8, 2004, the Genesis, a NASA spacecraft, was directed to impact into the desert floor of the Dugway Proving Ground because the topsoil there is like talcum powder, or moondust, would cushion the troubled spacecraft's impact; the Genesis spacecraft's accelerometer had been installed backwards, which caused the spacecraft to malfunction upon re-entry to Earth's atmosphere preventing the planned air retrieval. On January 26, 2011, Dugway Proving Ground was placed on lockdown.
Al Vogel, a public affairs specialist for the installation, would only say that the lockdown began at 5:24 p.m. Employees were not allowed to leave, those coming to work were not allowed in. Vogel said there were no no damage and no threats reported at the proving ground. There were about 1,200 to 1,400 people at Dugway, it was announced that the lockdown was in response to the temporary loss of a vial containing VX nerve agent. The lockdown was lifted on January 27 following recovery of the material; the incident was described as a mislabeling problem. Dugway Proving Ground was home to the High Resolution Fly's Eye Cosmic Ray Detector, which discovered the first Ultra-high-energy cosmic ray. Dugway is home to several radio telemetry and tracking radar sites which track national flight assets during flight tests at UTTR. Activities included aerial nerve agent testing. According to reports from New Scientist, Dugway was still producing quantities of anthrax spores as late as 2015, more than four decades after the United States renounced biological weapons, shipping the material to military bases and military contractors around the globe.
There were at least 1,100 other chemical tests at Dugway during the time period of the Dugway sheep incident. In total 500,000 lb of nerve agent were disp
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U. S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches, it has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force. The U. S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, established during the American Revolutionary War and was disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter.
The U. S. Navy played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers, it played the central role in the World War II defeat of Imperial Japan. The US Navy emerged from World War II as the most powerful navy in the world; the 21st century U. S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in strength in such areas as the Western Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, it is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward deployments during peacetime and respond to regional crises, making it a frequent actor in U. S. foreign and military policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy; the Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations is the most senior naval officer serving in the Department of the Navy.
The mission of the Navy is to maintain and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The U. S. Navy is a seaborne branch of the military of the United States; the Navy's three primary areas of responsibility: The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy; the development of aircraft, tactics, technique and equipment of naval combat and service elements. U. S. Navy training manuals state that the mission of the U. S. Armed Forces is "to be prepared to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations in support of the national interest." As part of that establishment, the U. S. Navy's functions comprise sea control, power projection and nuclear deterrence, in addition to "sealift" duties, it follows as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, with it, everything honorable and glorious.
Naval power... is the natural defense of the United States The Navy was rooted in the colonial seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors and shipbuilders. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own Massachusetts Naval Militia; the rationale for establishing a national navy was debated in the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned the ocean-going schooner USS Hannah to interdict British merchant ships and reported the captures to the Congress. On 13 October 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. S. Navy; the Continental Navy achieved mixed results.
In August 1785, after the Revolutionary War had drawn to a close, Congress had sold Alliance, the last ship remaining in the Continental Navy due to a lack of funds to maintain the ship or support a navy. In 1972, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, authorized the Navy to celebrate its birthday on 13 October to honor the establishment of the Continental Navy in 1775; the United States was without a navy for nearly a decade, a state of affairs that exposed U. S. maritime merchant ships to a series of attacks by the Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U. S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U. S. Revenue-Marine, the primary predecessor of the U. S. Coast Guard. Although the USRCS conducted operations against the pirates, their depredations far outstripped its abilities and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 that established a permanent standing navy on 27 March 1794; the Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797, the first three were brought into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, USS Constitution.
Due to his strong posture on having a strong standing Navy during this period, John Adams is "often called the father of the American Navy". In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. From 18
Tonopah Test Range
The Tonopah Test Range is a restricted military installation located about 30 miles southeast of Tonopah, Nevada. It is part of the northern fringe of the Nellis Range. Tonopah Test Range is located about 70 miles northwest of Groom Dry Lake, the home of the Area 51 facility. Like the Groom Lake facility, Tonopah is a site of interest to conspiracy theorists for its use of experimental and classified aircraft; as such, it is not the focus of alien enthusiasts, unlike its neighbor. It is used for nuclear weapons stockpile reliability testing and development of fusing and firing systems, testing nuclear weapon delivery systems; the airspace comprises restricted area R-4809 of the Nevada Test and Training Range and is used for military training. The Tonopah Test Range is owned by the United States Department of Energy and is managed by Sandia National Laboratories, a division of Honeywell International, which operates the Tonopah Test Range under an Air Force permit with the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The range is part of the Great Basin Desert and lies within the Cactus Flat valley, consisting of horst and graben geology. It is flanked by the Cactus Peak hills to the west and the Kawich Peak to the east, home of Silverbow, one of the largest mining ghost towns in Nevada; the vegetation consists of black sagebrush and creosote bush. It holds a sizable wild horse and burro population monitored by the Bureau of Land Management. Common denizens of the TTR include the gray fox, pronghorn and mule deer, along with the native birds sage thrasher, sage grouse, sage sparrow. One of the primary facilities on the TTR is a large airfield, consisting of a 12,000-foot runway and numerous hangars. About five minor abandoned airfields exist throughout the TTR which were used during World War II by units based at Tonopah Army Air Field. Only Mellan Airstrip, 11 miles southeast of Tonopah Test Range Airport, survived past the 1960s, upgraded to a 5,000-foot concrete runway. A US Air Force assessment published in 2000 indicated it was a minimally adequate airfield, used to support tactical C-130 and C-17 training.
About six miles north of the airfield is a large housing area called Mancamp. It contains about 50 twin-level dormitories. A recreation center houses a bar, a library, game room, weight room, Olympic size indoor pool, racquetball courts, a two-lane bowling alley, a barbecue pad, an ATM. There is an athletic track, tennis courts, softball fields. Just outside Mancamp a small civilian compound existed, but was dismantled by 2000. Google Earth imagery indicated that Mancamp's streets were renovated sometime between 2003 and 2007. Operations by Sandia are controlled at the TTR Operations Control Center, just southeast of the main airfield, which houses the range safety officer, test director, key engineers. Activities are monitored with video, high-speed cameras, radar tracking devices. Though nuclear weapons have never been detonated on the TTR, the 1963 test Project Rollercoaster involved the destruction of four weapons, which caused some plutonium to be dispersed into the soil north of Antelope Lake.
In the early 20th century the region was used for mining and some grazing. Early maps from the 1930s indicated a roadway connecting the towns of Caliente and Tonopah via Rachel, which ascended Cedar Pass and crossed through the northern part of the future Tonopah Test Range. In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed the establishment of a US Army Air Corps training range in this area. During the 1950s, weapons design research had been conducted at the Salton Sea testing base, but haze problems forced the Department of Energy to seek another location; the Tonopah Test Range was withdrawn from public use in 1956 and testing began in 1957 for United States Department of Energy weapons programs. For most of its life, the range was administered by Sandia National Laboratories. In 2008 the National Nuclear Security Administration proposed to move its facilities on the Tonopah Test Range to White Sands Missile Range, a move that local and state politicians say would cost the area jobs and lost revenue.
From 1979 to 1988, Tonopah hosted a MiG air combat training program code named Constant Peg. The brainchild of Colonel Gail Peck, the program was run by the 4477th Test & Evaluation Squadron, "Red Eagles", allowed American aircrews the opportunity to fly – and to fly against – the fighter aircraft of their Cold War rivals. Constant Peg was formally declassified on November 15, 2006, though it had been discussed by name in various media since the mid-1980s. At the height of the operation, the Red Eagles flew 14 MiG-21 Fishbeds and 9 MiG-23 Floggers, had operated the MiG-17 Fresco until 1982, when the type proved too dangerous to continue flying. Between July 1979 and its final sortie in March 1988, 5,930 aircrew were exposed to Constant Peg. F-117s of the 4450th Tactical Group operated from Tonopah in secret from 1982 through 1989 while the program was still classified. During this period Mancamp was connected to the airfield by shuttle bus service, while the airfield in turn was connected to Nellis Air Force Base by between five and twenty Key Air Boeing 727 and/or Boeing 737 flights per day from Nellis to Tonopah.
The airfield was serviced by one or two JANET Boeing 737 flights daily, which were from McCarran International Airport and served Sandia National Laboratories employees. In early 1991, Key Air lost the contract and the service was taken over by Am