SOUTHERN UTAH — If you’re one of the many Southern Utahns wondering where the recent shakes, rattles and booms are coming from, your answers may be found in the sky. The reverberation many have been experiencing is the result of Nellis Air Force Base flying operations, military exercises and weapons training.
More than 75 percent of all live munitions used by the United States Air Force for training are dropped on the Nevada Test and Training Range west of St. George.
Judy Clayton reported hearing and feeling “booms” and “shakes” Wednesday in her home on Stone Cliff in St. George.
“Windows and wall hangings rattled a little at the same time,” Clayton said in an email to St. George News. “I’m from California and sensitive to earthquakes, but haven’t heard of any reports of mild earthquakes.”
St. George News reader Samantha Merrill said she saw two military planes flying low in the sky in Washington County Monday and was able to capture a picture of one of them.
According to Nellis Air Force Base officials, taking place this month is a Joint Forcible Entry Exercise defined as a U.S. Air Force Weapons School large-scale air mobility exercise in which participants plan and execute a complex air-land operation in a simulated contested battlefield.
Participants in this exercise must show the ability to synchronize aircraft movements from geographically-separated bases, command large formations of dissimilar aircraft in high-threat airspace, and tactically deliver and recover combat forces via air drops and combat landings on an unimproved landing strip.
Also taking place this month is Advanced Integration – the graduation exercise for the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, which takes place twice a year.
The Advanced Integration exercise involves the planning and execution of every aspect of air and space combat operations, with units converging over the Nevada Test and Training Range for a wide variety of missions, Air Force officials said.
From 100 feet above the ground to twice the speed of sound, Nellis Air Force Base, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, conducts advanced combat training, performs operational test and evaluation, and develops tactics.
Nellis Air Force Base is one of the largest fighter bases in the world. Aircraft from Nellis operate on the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is the largest contiguous air and ground space available for peacetime military operations in the free world.
The range occupies 2.9 million acres of land, 5,000 square miles of airspace which is restricted from civilian air traffic over-flight and another 7,000 square miles of military operating area which is shared with civilian aircraft.
The 12,000-square-nautical mile range provides a realistic arena for operational testing and training aircrews to improve combat readiness. A wide variety of live munitions can be employed on targets on the range.
Many communities in southern Nevada see and hear Nellis aircraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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