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Nellis celebrates 75 years in Las Vegas valley

Nellis Air Force Base, the home of the Thunderbirds is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

In 1941 the outpost that would become Nellis was called Las Vegas Army airfield. It consisted of a runway and a cluster of small buildings. But within weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the base became a beehive of activity.

Forty thousand men were trained to operate the machine guns inside the bubble like turrets of the B-17.

Jerry White is the base historian.

"You've got the tail gunner, two waist gunners, you've got the ball turret runner here, a little guy, had to be to fit in there," White said.

The training of short, but courageous men who could fit inside the ball turrets was so important, Ronald Reagan and 5-foot-6-inch Burgess Meredith filmed a classic recruiting film on base.

"You know Pee Wee, you look like you'd fit inside of the fish bowl," Reagan said... Read More

NTSB: Pilot turned failing jet to desert before Nellis crash

Investigators say a civilian contractor pilot who ejected from a Vietnam War-era military jet near Nellis Air Force Base last month steered the failing aircraft toward the desert before it crashed.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot reported the Douglas A-4K Skyhawk lost power approaching a runway before he parachuted safely away Aug. 18. Officials said he wasn't seriously injured.

The pilot wasn't identified by the military or his employer, Draken International of Lakeland, Florida.

Company chief executive Sean Gustafson declined Tuesday to comment.

The NTSB preliminary report says the aircraft crashed and burned about a mile north of Nellis. No one on the ground was injured.

The pilot was returning after portraying enemy aircraft in an air combat role-playing exercise over the Nevada Test and Training Range... Read More

Nev. Board of Education unanimously approves reorganization plan

The Nevada Board of Education has voted unanimously in favor of a dramatic plan to shift the balance of power from a central office to the more than 300 schools in the Clark County School District.

Proponents of the reorganization plan approved Thursday say it's important for Nevada to act boldly, arguing the status quo hasn't improved the state's bottom-ranking public school system.

The plan fine-tuned over the past 14 months calls for an "empowerment" model that gives principals and their volunteer boards control over about 80 percent of the money flowing to their schools.

Critics scrutinized the details of the plan, asking whether it will distribute resources equitably. A panel of 12 legislators still must approve the final regulations that passed Thursday. That vote is expected on Sept. 9... Read More

Four injured in military helicopter crash

Four military members sustained minor injuries following a helicopter crash Thursday night. Nellis Air Force Base officials say the crash happened at approximately 10 p.m. at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed during a training mission. The crew members were treated at a local medical facility.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

8 News NOW will have more information as it becomes available.... Read More

Aircraft crash reported near Nellis AFB

Nellis Air Force Base reports a civilian contractor aircraft crashed in the northeast part of the valley Thursday morning.

The crash happened near Sloan Lane and N. Las Vegas Boulevard at approximately 7:40 a.m.

Nellis Air Force Base officials say the pilot works for Draken International and has more than two decades of fighter pilot experience and had just finished a combat training exercise that lasts around an hour and a half when he self ejected from theTA4K Skyhawk aircraft.

According to retired Lt. Col. Scott Poteet, the pilot was returning to the base when he crashed. The pilot did suffer minor injuries and was being treated at the hospital on Nellis AFB.

Draken pilots are civilian contractors who role-play with the trainees by pretending to be enemy pilots... Read More

Body found at Nellis Air Force Base

Authorities are investigating the body of a man who was found dead on site at the Nellis Air Force Base.

Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz said Wednesday that the body was found about 6:40 a.m. Tuesday in a dirt lot near the golf course on the southern end of the base.

The Clark County coroner's office said the man hasn't been identified yet and the cause of death hasn't been determined. Kleinholz said it's unclear if the man had any connection to the base.

Las Vegas police were called to help investigate, though the department said they're waiting for a cause of death to determine if foul play may be suspected... Read More

Advisory Committee approves preliminary reorganization plan, 27 revisions for CCSD

The Advisory Committee unanimously approved the preliminary reorganization plan and 27 revisions for the Clark County School District.

The committee spent numerous hours Tuesday in a meeting trying to figure out how to reorganize CCSD.

Under the proposed plan, each school would be independently run, and instead of the superintendent, the principal, a team of teachers, and parents would be in charge of hiring and budgeting.

There's no concrete answer on exactly how much it will cost to make the transition.

"It will put pressure on the legislature to address inadequate funding for the school system next session," said Michael Roberson,, Nevada State Senator for District 20. "We do need to invest more in education in Southern Nevada."

Some of the amendments also state that parents who join organizational teams won't be protected from lawsuits. Plus, only middle school and high school students will be able to join organizational teams... Read More