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Nevada County People

Nevada County People

Blaz working with High-tech aircrafts at Beale

The Union staff



James Blaz, a 2000 graduate of Nevada Union High School, has a unique job: He’s an avionic technician at Beale Air Force Base.

Blaz, the son of Joseph and Melody Blaz of Penn Valley, is a member of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, responsible for the Air Force’s high-altitude reconnaissance mission. He has more than five years of military experience. Blaz also earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Sierra College.




Blaz is an Air Force staff sergeant. He troubleshoots, maintains, launches and recovers Global Hawks, unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that can fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet and provide high-quality images of more than 40,000 nautical square miles within 24 hours.

“Being stationed here is great,” Blaz said about the Beale Air Force Base, located about 25 miles west of Grass Valley, just south of Smartsville in Yuba County. “I am 15 minutes from home, and I get to work on cutting-edge technology with the Global Hawk. The surrounding area is full of things to do.”

Airmen at Beale work with both the Global Hawk the U-2, a manned reconnaissance aircraft that flies at an altitude of 70,000 feet and up.

“They are frontline reconnaissance aircraft seeking out those who want to do harm to the United States and our allies,” Blaz said. “The Global Hawk is also a platform to prove autonomous flight for military use.”

His father also is active in area veterans organizations and led this year’s Memorial Day ceremonies at Memorial Park in Grass Valley.

To offer suggestions for profiles in Nevada County People, contact Staff Writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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