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Veterans Reporter: Aviation Nation’s return upcoming opportunity for Nye

Good news for Air Force veterans and aviation fans in general. After abandoning in 2015 what had become a favorite annual event in Nevada, this year Nellis Air Force Base will again host Aviation Nation.

Last year’s cancellation was due to financial cutbacks in federal spending. But now things have seemingly turned around and Washington has located marketing cash under its mattress. (I wish they would tell me the secret of doing that!)

Pahrump, Tonopah, and Nye County in general will have an opportunity to be directly involved in the event and could garner some some positive public relations.

At a lunch several weeks ago sponsored by the Civilian Military Council of Southern Nevada, spokesman Robert Jones announced that the air show and open house event is scheduled for Veterans Day weekend, November 12-13. Planning is still in the beginning stages, but the official overall theme will be to honor “75 Years of Air Power in Southern Nevada.”

Jones said that Aviation Nation has been, and this year will continue to be, the largest free event in the Silver State. He added that in 2014, 176,000 attendees were counted and a majority of those individuals were tourists.

This year, the plan calls for 200,000 guests, with a strong economic impact on the community.

“Nellis (and nearby Creech Air Force Base) grew with the community,” Jones explained. He said the financial impact of the facilities each year totals in the millions of dollars, and the air show amplifies the entire region to those who visit from other states.

This year local governments will have the chance to host historical displays at the show and hand out promotional information about their cities and city events.

Displays will need to be staffed and fully self-contained, and will be housed inside one of the hangars on the field where the entire event will take place.

Hopefully, Nye County cities will consider taking advantage of the opportunity to present the positive aspects of their towns to thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Jones outlined some of the events that will be included at the show: Thunderbird flights, Navy tactical demonstrations, pyrotechnics, static displays, drone demonstrations, a kids’ zone, planes, including the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-35 and F-22 Super Raptor and vintage warbirds.

Jones said the 75th anniversary theme will honor the dynamic history of American air power and will stress three of the current missions of the Air Force — “Testing, Tactics and Training.” For information on planning a display, local communities can email gerald.white@us.af.mil.

SECURITY DEFICIT: Finding funds to produce Aviation Nation is welcome news. But some groups contend that America’s military spending to defend and safeguard the credibility of its security commitments is lacking.

In a RAND Corporation “Rethink Series,” the organization wrote that the U.S. requires significant and sustained increases in security investments due to recent developments in what it calls a “world of emerging dangers.”

The group writes that Russia has become a neighborhood bully, a restless China is building up its military and North Korea continues to play a nuclear guessing game.

And lest we forget, the Islamic State continues to create havoc in the Middle East.

“The United States is under-investing in defense and other instruments of national influence just when they are most needed,” states RAND.

For more information, go to www.rand.org/t/RB9870.

Chuck N. Baker is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Every other Sunday he discusses veterans’ issues over several Lotus Broadcasting AM radio stations in Southern Nevada.

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