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​Landing with the Las Vegas strip in the background, Maj. Carl Maymi, a U-2 pilot with the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron from Beale AFB, Calif, touches down on Nellis AFB, Nev., July 18, 2016. Air Force photo by TSgt. David Salanitri.

​A U-2 from Beale AFB, Calif., deployed to Nellis AFB, Nev., to participate in a Red Flag exercise this month for the first time in more than 20 years. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing regularly supports Red Flag, but typically the wing's U-2s fly from their home base in California. This time, however, pilots and maintainers got the chance to experience what it is like to operate from a “bare-base,” according to an Air Combat Command release. “We normally operate from already established forward operating locations,” U-2 Maintenance Superintendent SMSgt. David Hatch said in the release. “It’s a rare opportunity to come out and test this skill set. It’s like anything else, if you don’t use it, you lose it.” The U-2 will fly through the end of Red Flag 16-3 on July 29. As part of the exercise, the U-2 is practicing operating in contested and degraded operations, Hatch said.