Background and HistoryDuring the height of World War II, Las Vegas Army Airfield was established by the USAAF. Manufactured by Boeing, the B-17 Flying Fortress was heavily used in the training missions at the airfield. Hundreds of pilots executed successful gunnery operations in this heavy bomber. By the end of the war, the B-40 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator were introduced into the lineup. In 1948, the airfield was officially renamed Las Vegas Air Force Base as part of restructuring of the USAAF. The P-51 Mustangs were among the first fighter jets that saw action at the renamed base. By the end of the 1940s, the base expanded with the opening of the Aircraft Gunnery School. In 1950, Nellis Air Force Base was renamed in honor of a fighter pilot who perished in the infamous Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Since then, the venue has trained pilots for various foreign American engagements, including in Korea and Vietnam. During the Cold War, the facility was also an important command center for some of the nation's most powerful aerial squadrons. Some units that were deployed at the base in the 1960's include the 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing and 4525th Fighter Weapons Wing. The 4477th Tactical Evaluation Flight enjoyed a 15-year run between the middle of the 1970's and 1990.
The BaseNellis Air Force Base is home to the Thunderbirds Museum, which celebrates the rich heritage of a squadron that has been active since the 1950s. Part of the 57th Wing of the United States Air Force Warfare Center, this air demonstration unit has fascinated spectators for generations. Click to book your Las Vegas tours. As you enter the museum, you'll walk through the VIP Room, which has a large mural featuring all of the Thunderbirds models that have been used to date. The main exhibit galleries include information on some of the first team members of the squadron. You'll also see various awards that have been claimed by the Thunderbirds throughout the years. Of course, the exhibits also have miniature models of popular jets that have been used by the squadron since the early days. You'll need to pass rigorous security checks to access the base and other facilities that are open to the public for tours or educational activities. The Department of Defense conducts extensive background checks on every person who'd like to pass through the gates of this large military installation. Nellis Air Force Base also hosts the annual Air and Space Expo, which attracts large crowds from all over the nation. Free to the public, this event features the famous Thunderbirds jets. You'll see some fascinating aerial tricks and maneuvers performed by the legendary squadron. From loops and barrels, the Thunderbirds smoothly execute incredible stunts in the air. Shuttle buses transport spectators between the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the official viewing grounds for the expo. Some of the performers in the Air and Space Expo include the Red Eagles, Arrow Electronics, F-22 Demo, Texas Flying Legends and Wings of Blue. Click to book your Las Vegas tours.
Visiting Nellis Air Force BaseNellis Air Force Base is located just a few miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. North Las Vegas Boulevard links the base with Downtown Las Vegas. Additionally, Interstate 15 has exits near this major Air Force installation. The visitor's center is located inside Building 696 along Fitzgerald Boulevard.
Location: 4700 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 89191
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