USAF Mission Employment Phase 2012

December 1st, as darkness fell over Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, the familiar sound of fighter aircraft firing up could be heard across the base. Aircraft of all shapes and sizes were gearing up for a nighttime launch during the biannual exercise known as the Mission Employment (ME) Phase. ME Phase is the capstone graduation event for the five and a half month Fighter Weapons School. This year’s graduating class 12B, conducted the majority of their sorties after nightfall, with only two taking place during the day.

During the nine day exercise, over 100 aircraft, along with cyber and space assets, filled the skies over the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is the United States Air Force’s premier training area. With more than 12,000 square miles of airspace, and 2.9 million acres of land, the Weapons School is able to conduct a wide variety of scenarios that includes over 1,900 possible targets, and a simulated enemy force that is second to none in the world.

This particular Weapons School class also saw the graduation of the first (JTAC) Joint Terminal Attack Controllers Advanced Instructors. These graduates are experts in the entire spectrum of joint air-ground integration and terminal attack control operations. In addition to almost every aircraft in the United States Air Force’s arsenal, support was received from a diverse group of units.


Notable supporting participants in Class 12B’s ME phase were:

-9th Reconnaissance Wing with U-2, RQ-4 and MC-12 aircraft

-21st Space Wing

-21st Special Tactics Squadron

-614th Air and Space Operations Center

-91st and 315th Network Warfare Squadron

-JTAP (Joint Tactical Air Picture) part of JIAMDO (Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense)-

-Patriot Missile System and HIMARS(High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)

-53rd Signal Battalion

-USN AEAWS (Airborne Electronic Attack Weapons School) EA-6Bs and E/A-18Gs


I would like to congratulate the newest graduates of Nellis AFB’s Fighter Weapons School and thank them for their service to our country.

I would also like to thank SA Jack Sanders, A1C Timothy Young, and the entire 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office for their hospitality. I would like to extend special thanks to MSgt. David Miller for his willingness to go out of his way to provide me with the incredible opportunity to cover our nations finest warriors in action.

Photos by Steve Lewis

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