Strategic Air Command
SAC Bases:  Nellis AFB
Location: 8 mi. northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada
Home of: 99th Bomb Wing
Status:  Now home of AF Air Command Command Pilot Training Center
Links:  Nellis AFB Thunderbirds Web Site
Predator Thunderbirds
     Nellis AFB is an integral part of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command (ACC).  It is  known as the "Home of the Fighter Pilot." It is the Mecca of advanced air combat aviation training. The base's all-encompassing mission is accomplished through an array of aircraft: A-10, F- 15C, F- 15E, F16, RQ-1A Predator UAV, and HH-60 helicopters. Nellis' work force of approximately 10,000 military and civilian personnel make it one of the largest single employers in southern Nevada.  The base is located approximately 8 miles northeast from downtown Las Vegas in North Las Vegas covering more than 11,000 acres, while the total land area occupied by Nellis and its restricted ranges is more than 5,000 square miles. An additional 7,700 square miles of airspace north and east of the restricted ranges are also available for military flight operations.
      On Jan. 25, 1941, Las Vegas Mayor John L. Russell signed over the property to the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps for the development of a flexible gunnery school for the Army Air Corps.  The mission of the new school, the Las Vegas Army Air Corps Gunnery School (later re-named the Las Vegas Army Air Field (LVAAF)), was defined as "training of aerial gunners to the degree of proficiency that will qualify them for combat duty."
      The 57th Wing at Nellis AFB is responsible for a variety of flying activities at Nellis, such as Red Flag, which provides realistic training in a combined air, ground and electronic threat environment for U.S. and allied forces.    The USAF Weapons School provides Air Force graduate-level training for A-10, B-1, B-52, EC-130, F-15, F-15E, F-16, HH-60, RC-135, command and control operations, intelligence, weapons, academic, and flying courses.  The 57th Wing also plans and executes close air support missions, such as Air Warrior, in support of U.S. Army exercises and interoperability training with the Army.  
      The 57th Wing includes the Air Force's air demonstration team the Thunderbirds. The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, perform precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world. The squadron exhibits the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft. The Wing also oversees the operation and deployment of the
Predator, an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft.  The RQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system.  The Wing flies the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters in support of combat rescue as well as rescue in the Nellis Air Force Range Complex and nearby civilian communities. 
      The Air Warfare Center (AWFC), headquartered at Nellis, manages advanced pilot training and integrates many of the Air Force's test and evaluation requirements.
      The 99th Air Base Wing (ABW) had its beginnings as the 99th Bombardment Group in 1942 at Gowen Field, Ohio. In 1943, air operations moved to Algeria where the unit distinguished itself flying bombing missions against targets in Italy, Sardinia and Sicily. In 1943, the 99th aircrews moved to Italy and flew missions throughout Europe.  After a brief inactivation, the 99th was redesignated the 99th Bombardment Group from 1947 to its inactivation in 1949. The 99th was reactivated in 1953 as the 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, based at Fairchild AFB, Wash. Although the years brought several changes in name, equipment and mission along with a move to Westover AFB, Mass. In 1966, the organization operated until a second inactivation closed the doors again in 1974.
     In 1989, the 99th was reactivated, this time at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., as the 99th Strategic Weapons Wing. The 99th Wing became the 99th Tactics and Training Wing in 1993. In October 1995, the "99th Wing" deactivated and was reactivated at Nellis, as the 99th ABW and today it serves as the host wing for the base. It oversees the day-to-day operations of the base such as personnel, finance, civil engineering and supply. Three groups are assigned to the Wing: 99th Logistics Group, 99th Medical Group, and 99th Support Group. The Center was formally established in 1966 as the USAF Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, which concentrated on the development of forces and weapons systems that were specifically geared to tactical air operations in conventional (non-nuclear) war and contingencies.