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Fallon Training Range critical to national security

Rear Admiral Rich Brophy

The Navy appreciates the continuous support from the people of Nevada who have witnessed decades of aviation training in Fallon, from World War II through Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and in the Middle East. Our naval aviators use the desert skies to learn critical warfighting skills necessary to defend our nation and preserve our way of life from those who would want to cause us harm. As technology and weapons development advance, our Navy training and tactics must also advance to meet and exceed the growing threat from our competitors like China and Russia. Today’s competition demands a larger training range.

Your Navy understands your concerns and will continue to work with key stakeholders – from the Native American tribes to local and state government, small businesses and homeowners, and recreational users – to ensure everyone understands the necessity of the expanded training range. I would personally like to thank all of those concerned citizens who participated in the Environmental Impact Statement process and offered input and information valuable to the regulators and the Navy.

Our way of life is being challenged and our naval aviators — like the generations of heroes before them – need realistic airborne training that cannot be honed in a simulator alone. Our naval aviators become the world’s best by flying and fighting their aircraft through the crucible of Nevada’s mountains and gorges that make up NAS Fallon.

Navy Fighter Weapons School — more famously known as “TOPGUN” — is proud to call Naval Air Station Fallon home. Fallon is the only facility where an entire naval air wing can conduct comprehensive training while integrating every element of air warfare into realistic fighting scenarios. Add to that the more than 300 clear flying days each year, the Navy’s longest runway, some of the most challenging ranges, and you have a premier combat training environment that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

We would not be expanding the range unless we had to. I can assure you that our Navy is doing everything we can to listen to our neighbors’ concerns. We are making every effort to address and protect historic sites, water rights, prevent wildfires and allow public access when feasible for hunters and recreational use. Public safety remains at the forefront of our training, as it has during the preceding 70 years, and we only limit access when and where absolutely necessary.

Our Fallon training ranges may be a long way from the nearest forward deployed aircraft carrier, but they are a vital part of our Navy’s readiness and lethality. We appreciate everyone’s continued support and I promise our Navy will continue to remain consistent, open and transparent throughout this process and into the future. You have my assurance that we will continue to work closely with our Nevada neighbors to ensure that Fallon, Nevada remains Naval Aviation’s Warfare Center of Excellence for decades to come.

Rear Admiral Rich Brophy is Commander Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center.