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Threat operator works 30 years on range

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE -- Working on one of the largest ranges in the Air Force can be a daunting task, but for one Air Force contractor, it has become a way of life.

Gene Staples has worked on the 2.9 million acre Nevada Test and Training Ranges for the last 30 years and continues to do so to help the units who train on one of the Air Force's most active ranges, get the proper experience needed to accomplish their missions overseas.

"We are the Department of Defense's custodian for the NTTR and ensure all training, testing and tactics development are world class," said Col. John Montgomery, 98th RANW commander. "Mr. Staples is one of the many threat operators who have worked on the range and have dedicated time to making sure the pilots who operate on the NTTR are trained properly."

Mr. Staples is an experienced threat operator on the range who helps create a more authentic training environment for the Weapons School and Red Flag exercises.

"I like knowing I am making a difference," said Mr. Staples. "I have been here long enough to notice a difference in the strategies used by pilots in the Air Force because of soothe knowledge they gained from threat operators and am proud to be part of that."

Mr. Staples works for the 98th Range Wing, which helps provide simulated threats for all Red Flag and U.S. Air Force Weapons School missions that happen on the range. The 98th RANW is also in charge of monitoring and providing realistic threats for more than 40,000 sorties throughout the year.

Mr. Staples's dedication to the Air Force and the people on the NTTR has been an inspiration to all his co-workers and has affected Air Force training for the better.

"Hopefully if god is willing I will be able to continue working on this range for the next 30 years," Mr. Staples said. "Making a difference in how we defend our country has been one of the most thrilling and proud things I've ever done.

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