Nellis AFB: Fightertown USA

ThunderbirdsSan Diego’s MCAS Mirimar has long been known as “Fightertown USA”. But with all due respect to the Navy and Marine Corps, I’ve always considered Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas to be the true Fightertown.

For one thing, Nellis home of the both the Thunderbirds and the USAF Weapons school. In addition, it hosts a seemingly unending series of large scale multi-service and multi-national training exercises under the Red Flag and Green Flag monikers. These exercises cover huge expanses of the Nevada desert and frequently include participation by our allies. To the best of my knowledge, the operation at Nellis is far larger than anything going on at Miramar.

When I lived in Las Vegas, I’d often go up to the auxillary field at Indian Springs and watch the Thunderbirds practice. It must be exciting to live up there. You’d have a recurring free airshow with no crowds.

Anyway, fellow pilot and professional photographer Dean Siracusa (who runs the photo agency and also directs a lot of automotive commercials) was in Las Vegas for the fourth annual International Symposium of Aviation Photographers and spent some time shooting pictures at Nellis AFB. He’s graciously allowed me to post them for your enjoyment:

F18 HornetThunderbirds

ThunderbirdsF16 Falcon

F22 RaptorF22 Raptor

If you’d like to see the full collection of 22 photos, it’s available here.

  4 comments for “Nellis AFB: Fightertown USA

  1. carolyn
    March 28, 2004 at 2:12 pm

    awesome pictures… Hope mike has a chance to see…

  2. Maurice(Moss)
    May 29, 2004 at 2:09 am

    briefly, I am looking for information about spectating at Red Flag(Nellis).
    More to the point, I am looking for aviation enthusiasts/friends to travel there next October 2004.
    More to follow/rsvp

  3. Robert
    December 8, 2004 at 2:23 pm

    Having been stationed at NAS Miramar and having been apart of that great base known as Fighter Town USA I would have to disagree with your point of view. When Miramar was nickednamed Fightertown USA it was home to Top Gun and all Pacific Fleet Fighters. It was home to the greatest airplane of all time the F-14 Tomcat. Now that the Marines are there Fightertown no longer exists.

  4. Alfred
    November 2, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    I really miss Fightertown. It was home to one of the best pilots and jets, like the F-14 Tomcat. I feel the great loss of this great place. I would really like to recieve emails from an X-pilot of Top Gun at Miramar just for some info on how it was like to train there and how would you compare it to Top Gun the movie. Thanks.

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