WESP 494 2014-1s

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This website contains the story behind the world’s best ” interceptor”  and “deep interdiction” fighter. 

There are numerous great site’s about the F-15 so why another site? Well most site are great photo gallery’s and contain the history and development of the F-15. What they miss is the story behind the F-15. The training, exercises and Operations. The history of the squadrons that operate or haven flown with the F-15.

An F-15C Eagle from the 122nd Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Louisiana Air National Guard, takes off during Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 24, 2016. Red Flag 16-4 conducted exercise missions to train pilots in a highly contested environment with coalition partners. (U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Frank Miller)

An F-15C Eagle from the 122nd Fighter Squadron, assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Louisiana Air National Guard, takes off during Red Flag 16-4 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 24, 2016. Red Flag 16-4 conducted exercise missions to train pilots in a highly contested environment with coalition partners. (U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Frank Miller)

It is a site that is far from complete, so any contributions like Stories, Info etc. is more than welcome. Please contact the webmaster via the “contact me” page.

Each squadron history page is different from the other. Such as the 461 FS which contains a whole lot of extra information about the development of the F-15E. Take a look for yourself, and I hope you enjoy it.

SOUTHWEST ASIA - An F-15 Eagle taxis prior to a training sortie Feb. 22, 2012. The 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed from Kadena Air Base, Japan, flies with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Their mission is both deterrence as part of the defense of the Arabian Gulf, and training with partners in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Arian Nead)

SOUTHWEST ASIA – An F-15 Eagle taxis prior to a training sortie Feb. 22, 2012. The 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed from Kadena Air Base, Japan, flies with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Their mission is both deterrence as part of the defense of the Arabian Gulf, and training with partners in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Arian Nead)

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142nd FIGHTER WING PARTICIPATES IN EXERCISE VIGILANT SHEILD 2017

Participants of Exercise Vigilant Shield 2017, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, pose for a group photo Oct. 21, 2016. During this exercise, forces supporting North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will deploy and conduct air sovereignty operations in the far north and the high Arctic demonstrating the ability to detect, identify and meet possible threats in some of the most remote regions in the world. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Participants of Exercise Vigilant Shield 2017, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, pose for a group photo Oct. 21, 2016. During this exercise, forces supporting North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will deploy and conduct air sovereignty operations in the far north and the high Arctic demonstrating the ability to detect, identify and meet possible threats in some of the most remote regions in the world. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/24/2016 – YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES — Touching down in a C-5 Galaxy loaded with people and cargo, members of the 142nd Fighter Wing arrived in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to snow, bitter temperatures and a warm welcome, to participate in Exercise Vigilant Shield 2017, October 17-21.

F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for Exercise Vigilant Shield 2017, Oct. 17, 2016. Vigilant Shield 17 represents a unique opportunity to practice and hone joint interoperability and cooperation skills between Canada and the United States in order to protect borders as well as national interests. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).

F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing arrive in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for Exercise Vigilant Shield 2017, Oct. 17, 2016. Vigilant Shield 17 represents a unique opportunity to practice and hone joint interoperability and cooperation skills between Canada and the United States in order to protect borders as well as national interests. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).


The Vigilant Shield 2017 Field Training Exercise is an annual exercise sponsored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and led by Alaskan NORAD Region, in conjunction with Canadian NORAD Region and Continental NORAD Region, who undertake field training exercises aimed at improving operational capability in a bi-national environment.

Bringing approximately 65 members, four F-15 Eagles and 119,450 pounds of equipment to the Northwest Territories, the 142nd Fighter Wing was greeted by a host of support from the Canadian Mission Support Element as well as multiple U.S. military forces at Yellowknife, making it truly a joint exercise.

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).


This year’s exercise built on previous years’ training successes when deploying air assets and personnel to the far north to exercise sovereignty operations in North America’s northern aerospace and in the high Arctic. Vigilant Shield provides crucial training opportunities for numerous military personnel with a variety of aircraft and assets from Canada and the United States to improve interoperability and to demonstrate NORAD’s ability to defend North America.

The exercise provided the opportunity not only to deploy troops, jets and equipment to a forward location, but also to operate in a climate much different than the 142nd Fighter Wing’s home of Portland, Oregon.

F-15 Eagle pilot Capt. James Hastings, 123rd Fighter Squadron, said the weather in the Northwest Territories provided a chance to work through “new aspects of mission planning and execution that doesn’t happen at home.”

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs).


Chief Master Sgt. Dan Conner, 142nd Maintenance Group and Non-commissioned Officer in Charge of the 142nd Vigilant Shied deployment, said participating in Vigilant Shield “helps us exercise the machine, moving all of our equipment and people into another location and ensuring that we are capable of operating.”

The men and women of the 142nd Fighter Wing wrapped up their portion of Vigilant Shield with the successful launch of their homeward bound F-15 Eagles.  For Master Sgt. Joshua Combs, 142nd Maintenance Group, it was his first deployment as a 1st Sgt. where he was able to truly see the valuable and concrete training this exercise provided.

“The highlight of the trip was seeing the jets take off, being able to move all of the equipment and all of the personnel, get set up, get the aircraft here and seeing our maintainers happy, and looking forward to doing what they were trained to do,” said Combs.  “I have to say that I am spoiled on this trip, it has been absolutely perfect.”

Col. Steven Early, 144th OG reaches the 3,000 flight hour milestone.

Two U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighters assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. return to base. One of the pilots (right), U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early, 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15 Aug. 18, 2016. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

Two U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighters assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. return to base. One of the pilots (right), U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early, 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15 Aug. 18, 2016. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early (left), 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15C Eagle fighter Aug. 18. Col. Early is congratulated by Maj. Russ Piggott, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, after the sortie was complete. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early (left), 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15C Eagle fighter Aug. 18. Col. Early is congratulated by Maj. Russ Piggott, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, after the sortie was complete. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early, 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15C Eagle fighter Aug. 18. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

U.S. Air Force Col. Steven Early, 144th Operations Group commander, reached a milestone in his flying career at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. by hitting the 3,000 flight hour mark in the F-15C Eagle fighter Aug. 18. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Chris Drudge)

 

Reapers, Griffins complete Estonia FTD

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the 493rd Fighter Squadron, see-off F-15C Eagle pilots assigned to the 194th EFS after completing a multilateral flying training deployment at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 26, 2016. Aircraft and personnel from the U.S., Sweden, Finland, the U.K. and Estonia participated in flying training exercises to build interoperability and focus on dissimilar air training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the 493rd Fighter Squadron, see-off F-15C Eagle pilots assigned to the 194th EFS after completing a multilateral flying training deployment at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 26, 2016. Aircraft and personnel from the U.S., Sweden, Finland, the U.K. and Estonia participated in flying training exercises to build interoperability and focus on dissimilar air training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

By Senior Airman Erin Trower, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published September 03, 2016

ÄMARI AIR BASE, Estonia — U.S. Air Force and allied partners completed a multilateral flying training deployment in Estonia Sept. 2.

The FTD served to enhance unit readiness and interoperability.

The 493rd Fighter Squadron ‘Grim Reapers’, based out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, and the 194th Expeditionary Flying Squadron ‘Griffins’, from the California Air National Guard in Fresno, flew alongside allied nations to enhance capabilities and to equally demonstrate their commitment to European security and stability.

“It was a tremendous opportunity for the Griffins to train and integrate with the Reapers,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th EFS commander. “The amount of instructor time and the amount of support we got from the 493rd was top shelf.”

The Reapers and Griffins participated in the FTD with Estonian, Swedish, Finnish and U.K. aircraft and personnel throughout the duration of the FTD to focus on dissimilar air training and to test their capabilities against each other. According to Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, bringing the five nations together to train effectively, took time, but was well worth the effort.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle pilot, left, stands with U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 26, 2016. The 194th and 493rd participated in a multilateral flying training deployment to build interoperability through air assurance training with allies and partners. The 194th EFS is assigned to the California Air National Guard in Fresno, and the 493rd FS is assigned to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle pilot, left, stands with U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 26, 2016. The 194th and 493rd participated in a multilateral flying training deployment to build interoperability through air assurance training with allies and partners. The 194th EFS is assigned to the California Air National Guard in Fresno, and the 493rd FS is assigned to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

“When you start out with a new team with a bunch of members who have never worked together, there’s that awkward phase where you’re not very good working together and performance is low,” he said. “We are always trying to get to know each other and find out what each group’s strengths and weaknesses are, and, once that happens, the team performs very well together.”

The pilots practiced various tactics and offensive and defensive counter-air operations to enhance their readiness, while building resilient relationships with each other and the participating forces.

“What this FTD provides us is building trust with other countries around Europe,” Zumwalt said. “Getting together, finding out our roles and building relationships to build that trust.”

The FTD supported Operation Atlantic Resolve in an effort to demonstrate the U.S.’s commitment to NATO, allied partnerships, and European security. More than 300 Airmen participated in the FTD to make the routine rotational deployment a successful operation.

U.S. Air Force Airmen stand for a group photo in front of a 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 30, 2016. Approximately 300 personnel deployed to Amari AB to support a flying training deployment. The squadron trained with other air forces, including Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and the U.K., in focus of building interoperability and strengthening allied partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airmen stand for a group photo in front of a 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle at Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Aug. 30, 2016. Approximately 300 personnel deployed to Amari AB to support a flying training deployment. The squadron trained with other air forces, including Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and the U.K., in focus of building interoperability and strengthening allied partnerships. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Trower/Released)

Mad Hatters support Noble Arrow

By Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron here, launched sorties as they began participation in Noble Arrow 16, Oct. 8.

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 11. The training prepares all air forces allocated to the NATO Response Force 2017 and offers similar training opportunities for participating, non-NRF, air units. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron takes off for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 11. The training prepares all air forces allocated to the NATO Response Force 2017 and offers similar training opportunities for participating, non-NRF, air units. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

Noble Arrow is a NATO air exercise conducted with Portugal and the U.K. to provide force integration and combat readiness preparation through varied air-to-air, air-to-surface and air-to-sea scenarios while strengthening allied force interoperability.

“We conduct training with our Allies and partners on a regular basis. These flying exercises improve interoperability between our defense forces and NATO Allies and partners,” said 1st Lt. Tristan Stewart, 492nd FS pilot. “NATO exercises like Noble Arrow assure our Allies that core capabilities are actively being trained to enhance the overall readiness of the alliance.”

The air exercise is being held in conjunction with exercises Joint Warrior, Noble Mariner and Unmanned Warrior, which combined ensure component capabilities to conduct NATO Response Force missions.

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron prepare to launch for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 18. These combined training exercises increase cooperation in training, and further strengthens interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron prepare to launch for a sortie in support of Noble Arrow 16 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England Oct. 18. These combined training exercises increase cooperation in training, and further strengthens interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield)

Noble Arrow 16 increases cooperation in critical training, and further strengthens our interoperability with NATO Allies in order to meet challenges as a unified force, demonstrating U.S. commitment to European stability and security.

Two milestones with one bird

By Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published August 22, 2016

When the announcement came through the radio that F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 would land in 10 minutes, Airmen of the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance and 335th Expeditionary Fighter squadrons prepared to celebrate a historic moment, Aug. 16, 2016.

The F-15E was the first to achieve 12,000 flying hours and the pilot, Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, attained a career milestone at the same time; reaching 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service.

Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, and Capt. Matthew, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, prepare to disembark from F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after a milestone flight at an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. The jet attained 12,000 flying hours and Brandon achieved 3,000 flying hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, and Capt. Matthew, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, prepare to disembark from F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after a milestone flight at an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. The jet attained 12,000 flying hours and Brandon achieved 3,000 flying hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

“I have been lucky to have the privilege of flying this outstanding combat warhorse for over 16 years,” Brandon said. “Each one of those 3,000 hours, and 12,000 hours for the jet, represent countless hours from our Air Force team. As Strike Eagle aircrew, we are privileged to put bombs on target as a culmination of unbelievable efforts by thousands of others.”

The effort put into the maintenance and care of the jet has resulted in an impressive 26 year history since its commission in 1990, which has earned it the nickname “America’s Jet” within the unit, according to Chief Master Sgt. Roosevelt, 380th EAMXS STRIKE superintendent.

The aircraft has deployed 17 times in support of combat operations, to include operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Roosevelt said. It was during Operation Desert Storm that “America’s Jet” dropped a GBU-10 laser-guided bomb on an enemy helicopter in the only recorded F-15E air-to-air combat kill.

Senior Airman Bradley, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, apply a 12,000 flying hour decal to the side of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after its milestone flight in an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. During the same flight, Brandon also achieved a career milestone of 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

Senior Airman Bradley, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, and Lt. Col. Brandon, 335th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, apply a 12,000 flying hour decal to the side of F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487 after its milestone flight in an undisclosed location, Aug. 16, 2016. During the same flight, Brandon also achieved a career milestone of 3,000 flying hours after 25 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Samantha Mathison)

The commemorative star decal on the side of the aircraft has served as a visual reminder of the event ever since, and now the jet has earned another milestone decal signifying the achievement of 12,000 flying hours.

“To reach this milestone it required almost 30 years of performing safe, compliant and efficient aircraft maintenance,” Roosevelt said. “12,000 hours is huge for a fighter, because Airmen actually get to see, feel and hear their impact to the mission, and understand how what they do is important.”

What makes this jet even more unique is that this milestone and the last one of 10,000 flying hours were both accomplished in deployed locations during operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve, he said.

The 380th EAMXS crew chiefs deployed with “America’s Jet” from Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., and whether home or abroad, this aircraft is their pride and joy, according to Master Sgt. Richard, 380th EAMXS lead production superintendent.

“All of our aircraft have different temperaments, so to speak, but America’s Jet consistently outperforms all of our other jets,” Richard said. “We work hard to keep our aircraft in the air, so the 12,000 hour milestone is a testament to all of the maintainers who’ve kept her flying. That’s why we call her America’s Jet; because she is full of grit and fortitude, the embodiment of the American spirit, and has demonstrated this in every major conflict since Desert Storm.”

335th FS Strike Eagles reached 12,000 flight hour

Lt Col. Brandon Johnson, 335th Fighter Squadron commander, disembarks an F-15E Strike Eagle after returning from deployment, Oct. 12, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. During the deployment, Johnson’s aircraft reached its 12,000 flight hour milestone on Aug. 16, while Johnson also recorded his 3,000th flight hour during the same sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

Lt Col. Brandon Johnson, 335th Fighter Squadron commander, disembarks an F-15E Strike Eagle after returning from deployment, Oct. 12, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. During the deployment, Johnson’s aircraft reached its 12,000 flight hour milestone on Aug. 16, while Johnson also recorded his 3,000th flight hour during the same sortie. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Shawna L. Keyes)

4th FW F-15E Strike Eagles kicks off Razor Talon

Several F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft prepare for takeoff during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is a low-cost, large-force training exercise for joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

Several F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft prepare for takeoff during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is a low-cost, large-force training exercise for joint East Coast tactical and support aviation units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

An F-15E Strike Eagle waits to taxi to the runway during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is an initiative developed by Seymour Johnson AFB to allow joint integration and training opportunities for every branch of the armed forces.

An F-15E Strike Eagle waits to taxi to the runway during Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Razor Talon is an initiative developed by Seymour Johnson AFB to allow joint integration and training opportunities for every branch of the armed forces.

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Lt. Col. Paul Jeffords, 336th Fighter Squadron pilot, boards an F-15E Strike Eagle to participate in Razor Talon, Oct. 21, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The training mission marked Jeffords’ final flight for the 336th FS as he will take over as commander of the 4th Operations Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Miranda A. Loera)

 

 

 

 

194th Fighter Squadron deploy to Atlantic Resolve

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, communicates with Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during a preflight inspection at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 194th Fighter Squadron pilot, communicates with Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, during a preflight inspection at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert and Airman 1st Class Michael Bowen, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, conduct a preflight inspection on an F-15 Eagle at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Colbert and Airman 1st Class Michael Bowen, 144th Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs, conduct a preflight inspection on an F-15 Eagle at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15 Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

  A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing takes off at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15s from the 144th FW to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)


A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing takes off at the Fresno Air National Guard Base June 22, 2016. The USAF deployed six F-15s from the 144th FW to Europe demonstrating continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

Schmidt eclipses 3,000 hours on final F-15E flight

By Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations and pilot, and Maj. Timothy Foery, 334th FS weapon systems officer, take off for a flight in the F-15E Strike Eagle June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt was completing his final flight in the aircraft, also surpassing 3,000 hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations and pilot, and Maj. Timothy Foery, 334th FS weapon systems officer, take off for a flight in the F-15E Strike Eagle June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt was completing his final flight in the aircraft, also surpassing 3,000 hours during the same flight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

Lt. Col. Eric Schmidt, 334th Fighter Squadron director of operations is sprayed down by friends and family members following his final F-15E Strike Eagle flight June 17, 2016, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Schmidt eclipsed 3,000 hours in the Strike Eagle and was greeted by many to celebrate the occasion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Chuck Broadway)

 

 

Crushing It: 48th FW breaks sortie record

by Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — When the 48th Fighter Wing set out to fly more than 1,000 sorties during what was dubbed ‘Big March’, a total of 1,220 sorties were scheduled, in anticipation of flight cancellations due to bad weather.

But, the 48th FW exceeded expectations and flew a staggering 1,238 sorties, toppling the previous record of 938 sorties flown in August 2015.

Maintainers at the 48th FW pushed tool carts up to a mile and a half to the protective aircraft shelters and hangars where the jets and helicopters awaited them. Aircrew suited up and settled into their aircraft, ready for another day of flying. Utilizing only 20 days during the month of March, Liberty Airmen pushed their limits and surpassed records, launching more than 1,200 sorties.

“We crushed the record, but that wasn’t the goal,” stated Col. Scottie Zamzow, 48th Operations Group commander. “The goal was to sharpen the sword; stress the machine, so that when we were done, we were more combat ready than when we started.”

Airmen assigned to the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final maintenance checks on 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 7, 2016. The 48th Fighter Wing flew a record-breaking 1,238 sorties during the month of March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Airmen assigned to the 748th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron perform final maintenance checks on 493rd Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagles at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 7, 2016. The 48th Fighter Wing flew a record-breaking 1,238 sorties during the month of March. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

 The surge operations resulted in more than crushed records. March’s success directly impacted the wing’s capabilities, but required the determination of every Airman involved.

“The epitome of ‘Forward, Ready, Now’ is what we’ve just accomplished,” explained Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Stewart, 48th Maintenance Group superintendent.

“We’re talking about refueling 1,200 sorties; we’re talking about tracking 1,200 sorties,” Stewart continued, in regards to the increased workloads for the 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 48th Operations Support Squadron, respectively. “Airmen on the flightline, that may have turned a wrench five times on one specific job in six months, got to do it five times in one month because we were flying that many sorties.”

Stewart’s pride in the MXG’s ability to step up and achieve more than had been expected, shone through as he spoke of the great boost to morale that resulted from the sense of accomplishment the Airmen could now own, and how it improved communication and leadership skills. However, he also noted that those benefits were secondary. The primary focus was the combat readiness of the aircrew.

Every aircrew member is required to meet certain standards, but one young lieutenant’s accomplishment during the surge operations stuck out to Lt. Col. Connor Blackwood, 48th OG deputy commander. The lieutenant wanted to hone a tactical skill that would allow him to gain an advantage against enemy aircraft, and Blackwood had six sorties in two days to teach him.

“The first day he didn’t get it, but by the second day, about the second flight, it finally clicked and he was able to stay behind me and get in position to take the shot,” Blackwood recounted. “Something that would have taken six months to accomplish under normal training conditions took only two days. You bet, for that lieutenant, that meant everything! Now he is going to be a better Wingman.”

Blackwood remarked that the pilot’s goal didn’t have anything to do with a lofty desire to break a sortie record, but had been to realize his own capabilities and improve his ability to perform as a pilot.

Broken records were a side note compared to the accomplishments across the groups involved in sortie operations according the MXG and OG leadership.

“We are all Liberty Airmen,” Zamzow said. “Whether you’re an aviator, a controller in the tower, a maintainer or a refueler, we love to fly aircraft, we love to fix aircraft, we love to control aircraft, and we love to fuel aircraft. You let us do our primary job, and we’re going to love it, and we’re going to have a good time.”

The results of Big March mean one thing: the Liberty Wing is postured to do anything, anywhere in the world. ‘Forward, Ready, Now’. It was just another day at RAF Lakenheath.