THREE COAST AVIATION
Naval Air Station Fallon
Naval Air Station Fallon, located in northern Nevada's high desert, is the United States Navy's premier tactical aviation training facility. In the mid 1990s when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission transferred NAS Miramar to the Marine Corps, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (TOPDOME) moved to Fallon. They combined with the Naval Strike Warfare Center (STRIKE U) which was already based at Fallon to eventually become the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC). NAWDC provides training and development through the use of F/A-18C/D Hornets, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and MH-60S Seahawk helicopters.
Fighter Squadron Composite 13 (VFC-13) also made the move from Miramar to Fallon in April 1996 and transitioned to the F-5E/F Tiger II. The 'Fighting Saints' provide dissimilar adversary training for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and even the Canadian Forces.
Thanks to a very friendly public affairs team, I have been fortunate to visit the base multiple times since 2019. Morning sessions feature a tour of the ramp, full of beautifully painted aggressor aircraft belonging to both NAWDC and VFC-13 and hopefully a visiting Carrier Air Wing. Then in the afternoon, photographers are taken to the threshold of Runway 13R/31L, the longest runway in the Navy at a length of 14 005'.