CREECH AIR FORCE BASE
Creech Air Force Base (formally Indian Springs Air Force Base and Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field) is located one mile northwest of the community of Indian Springs, Nev., and about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas. In the 70 years since it’s construction, it has continued to prepare Airmen for direct combat and support in service to our nation.
While initially constructed to serve as a support center, Creech AFB has grown into a center of operations reaching far beyond Nevada. Today, with the emergence of UAV technology, Creech AFB has shifted it’s focus to global remotely piloted aviation missions.
Creech also continues to serve as the aerial demonstration training site of the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, and to engage in daily Overseas Contingency Operations as the home base of remotely piloted aircraft systems which fly missions across the globe.
- Creech Air Force Base was established in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
- Initially a “tent city” training camp, by March 1942 efforts began to construct fixed facilities.
- The Army constructed regular facilities by the end of 1942, and by early 1943 the camp was used as a base for air-to-air gunnery training.
- The base went on standby status early 1946, and was inactivated by the beginning of 1947.
- It reopened in January 1948 in response to the onset of the Cold War.
- Creech gained its first permanently assigned Air Force unit in 1950.
- The base was made into an auxiliary field in August 1951
- It was transferred to the Air Research and Development Command in July 1952, and realigned under the Air Force Special Weapons Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- By June 1956, it became a primary air demonstration practice site.
- A detachment of UH-1n helicopters in the 70s and 80s was the only aircraft unit assigned to Creech.
- In December of 1996, the first flight of the RQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft at the airfield.
- The base was officially redesignated as Creech AFB on June 20, 2005, in honor of Gen. Wilbur L. Creech, commander of Tactical Air Command from 1978 to 1984, and Vietnam and Korea veteran.
- By March of 2007, the arrival of the first MQ-9 Reaper at Creech marked another milestone in the base’s growing fleet of remotely piloted aircraft.
Creech Air Force Base, Nev., is the home to the famed “Hunters” of the 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing. The base also hosts the operations of the 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron and 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron, and those of the Air Force Reserve’s 78th Reconnaissance Squadron and Nevada Air National Guard’s 232d Operations Squadron.
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE
Nellis Air Force Base (formally Las Vegas Air Field) is located approximately eight miles northeast of Las Vegas. While the base itself covers more than 14,000 acres, the total land area occupied by Nellis (including its restricted ranges) is about 5,000 square miles. There is an additional 7,700 miles of restricted airspace north and east of the base available for military flight operations. Nellis is an advanced combat aviation focal point, and accomplishes it’s mission through training a wide array of aircrafts. The Air Force base employs approximately 9,500 military and civilian personnel, ranking it among the largest single employers in Southern Nevada.
- Nellis began as the Las Vegas Army Air Field in late 1941.
- The base hosted the Army Air Corps Flexible Gunnery School, starting B-17 gunnery training in early 1942.
- In 1944, B-17 co-pilot training was added.
- During World War II, more than 600 gunners and 215 co-pilots graduated from the school every five weeks.
- In March 1945, B-17 co-pilot training was cancelled in favor of B-29 gunnery training.
- After the end of the war, the base was placed on temporary standby status, closed in January 1947.
- The base was redesignated as Las Vegas Air Force Base in 1949, in honor of Lieutenant William Harrell Nellis. Lt Nellis. Lt Nellis, a P-47 pilot from southern Nevada, was killed in action Dec. 27, 1944, while a combat mission during the Battle of the Bulge.
- Although initially an advanced pilot training base, Nellis became a F-86 flight training and gunnery for qualified pilots.
- During the Korean War, the training received at Nellis AFB allowed the United States to retain air superiority. The education pilots received was directly responsible for the 14-1 kill ratio of the F-86 against the superior MiG-15.
- With a 1958 transfer from Air Training Command to Tactical Air Command, the mission transitioned from initial aircraft qualification and gunnery training to advanced, graduate-level weapons training.
- The USAF Tactical Fighter Weapons Center was activated in 1966.
- In 1975, Red Flag air-to-air exercises were started.
- In 1990 Green Flag-West air-to-ground training mission moved to Nellis AFB.
Today, as part of the USAF Warfare Center (USAFWC), units at Nellis continue to provide training for composite strike forces that include every type of aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, along with air and ground units of the Army, Navy, Marines and air units from allied nations. Nellis is also responsible for operational test and evaluation, as well as tactics development.