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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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492nd FS returns from deployment

Airmen and families await the return of the 492nd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 9. F-15E Strike Eagles and Airmen from the 492nd Fighter Squadron and supporting units across the 48th Fighter Wing returned from a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

By Master Sgt. Eric Burks, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — F-15E Strike Eagles and Airmen from the 492nd Fighter Squadron and supporting units across the 48th Fighter Wing have returned from a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

While deployed as the 492nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, the “Bolars” completed nearly 11,000 flying hours and over 2,000 missions while delivering nearly 4,500 precision-guided munitions in support of U.S. Central Command operations.

F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron return to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 9, following a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. While deployed, the “Bolars” completed nearly 11,000 flying hours and over 2,000 missions while delivering nearly 4,500 precision-guided munitions in support of U.S. Central Command operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Lt. Col. Jeremy Renken, 492nd FS commander, said it was an incredible deployment on many levels and allowed the F-15E to showcase its full capabilities.

“The squadron had multiple instances of pilots conducting air-to-air intercepts while their weapons systems officers were conducting strikes — not sequentially, but literally at the same time,” he said. “It’s a testament to not only the aircraft and aircrews, but also to the ammo troops, weapons troops, specialists, back shops, and crew chiefs who sent aloft our Strike Eagles and weapons systems that worked flawlessly when there was no margin for error.”

While the squadron was deployed, it was named the winner of the David C. Schilling Award for accomplishments in 2016.

The award, sponsored by the Air Force Association, recognizes “the most outstanding contribution in the field of flight” in the atmosphere or space, by an Air Force military member, Air Force civilian, unit, or group of individuals.

F-15C pilot reaches 4,000 flight hours

By Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver, 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. —

An F-15C Eagle pilot achieved an elite milestone of 4,000 flight hours Sept. 27 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Col. Brian “Spiderman” Kamp, Air National Guard advisor to the Air Force Warfare Center, hit the milestone after flying the F-15C over the last 28 years.

Col. Brian Kamp, Air National Guard advisor to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, sits in the cockpit of an F-15C Eagle September 27, 2017, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Kamp just hit the 4,000-hour mark flying an F-15C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia/Released)

“Although the 4,000-hour milestone was never a goal I was seeking, my passion for flying and instructing for the last quarter-century made reaching that mark inevitable,” said Kamp.

Kamp initially joined the Air Force to continue his family legacy after his father served 27 years in the Air Force and his grandfather fought in World War II on D-Day.

“I have been fortunate enough to be a pilot and instructor for this long,” said Kamp. “It’s a passion of mine especially when you see the students’ progress and improve once they understand a specific topic.”

Kamp said he uses his good and bad experiences as examples in the classroom for students to learn and grow from, because there are very few jobs that have very real risks and dangers.

Fortunately, Kamp has never had to eject after flying more than 3,000 sorties – but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had his fair share of close calls from being shot at in Desert Storm to having severe aircraft malfunctions and a mid-air collision.

Col. Brian Kamp, Air National Guard advisor to the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, displays his F-15C Eagle 4,000 flight-hours patch September 27, 2017, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Kamp has flown more than 3,000 sorties in an F-15C during his 28-year piloting career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan Garcia/Released)

“After that many sorties, only one percent of them were in-flight emergencies – but that’s still more than 30 in-flight emergencies,” said Kamp. “What we do as fighter pilots is inherently dangerous, and I’ve lost more than a dozen fellow F-15 brethren over the last 28 years just doing their jobs.”

With experience under his belt, Kamp plans to retire next March after 30 years with the Air Force.

“This milestone could not have happened without the professionalism and dedication of Eagle-Maintenance – it will be the culmination of my career,” said Kamp.

334 Fighter Squadron Pianos burned during Battle of Britain celebration

By Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs 

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. —

The 4th Fighter Wing celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The wing is able to trace its roots back to World War II, when seven American pilots volunteered to fight alongside the Royal Air Force and defend Europe against the German Luftwaffe.

Members of the 334th Fighter Squadron sing together while a fellow Eagle plays their decorated piano during the 4th Fighter Wing Battle of Britain celebration, Sept. 15, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Seven pianos were decorated with designs which highlighted each squadron’s past and present. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton)

Annually, the 4 FW honors the volunteer pilots and the RAF during a Battle of Britain celebration and piano burning event.

There are many stories as to how the piano burning tradition began.One of the more followed stories told is about a pilot who was also a gifted pianist. He would play in the officer’s mess after their missions. One day he did not return from his mission. In his honor, the RAF squadron took the mess piano outside and burned it.

“To this day, in the RAF, if we ever lose somebody or they pass away in service, the mess piano will get dragged outside and burned,” said RAF Squadron Leader Christopher Rugg, foreign exchange officer.

Rugg is an exchange officer currently stationed with the 4 FW. The program allows for one member of the RAF and one member of the United States Air Force to exchange for a three year period. “We have quite close ties,” said Rugg. “It is an exchange of ideas and people.”

This year seven pianos were burned during the Battle of Britain ceremony, Sept. 15, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The seven pianos were donated and decorated by squadrons on base to be part of the piano burning ceremony.“The ‘heart of the volunteer’ resides in today’s Airmen of the 4th Fighter Wing, much as it did with those American volunteers in the Royal Air Force,” said Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander.

Pianos burn in a fire to honor the lives lost during the Battle of Britain in World War II, Sept. 15, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Seven squadrons on base each decorated a piano in respects to their units’ heritage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton)

The 334th Fighter Squadron was one of the squadrons who took part in the Battle of Britain piano painting event. Members of the 334th faced challenges with the piano painting process, including their piano being pilfered by another squadron.

“Our piano was obtained by another squadron in good spirits, but it kind of put us in a bind,” said Capt. Sean Hoefer, 334th FS student pilot.Even though their piano was taken, the squadron found and re-painted another piano before the Battle of Britain event.The Eagles rallied together and painted a once wooden baby grand piano into a bright blue showcase.

“Our piano has the names of all former 334th members who have been killed in action,” said Hoefer.He added their piano painting design highlighted the squadron’s past and present.“We emphasized Don Allen, a former 334th Eagle maintainer and all of the nose art he did for morale in WWII,” said Hoefer. The piano sat on display at the squadron until its fiery fate at the 2017 4 FW Battle of Britain celebration.

“It’s important to remember your heritage,” said Rugg. “It gives you a basis to keep your culture going, it shapes you into more than just a collection of people.”The evening featured guest speakers including Rugg, a four-ship F-15E Strike Eagle flyover, piano burning and the unveiling of the F-15E Strike Eagle heritage aircraft with an anniversary paint scheme.

391st Fighter Squadron demonstrates new radar system

By Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — The 391st Fighter Squadron demonstrated a new advancement to its systems for the first time at RED FLAG-Alaska 17-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, July 31st – August 11, 2017.

F-15E Strike Eagles belonging to the 391st Fighter Squadron sit on the flightline at Eielson Air Force Base, Idaho, August 8, 2017. Airmen from the 391st from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho demonstrate their tactical prowess during Red Flag Alaska 17-3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong/Released)

“This is the first time we’re going to showcase in an operational squadron the APG-82s, so our newest radar,” said Lt. Col. Robert Olvis, 391st Fighter Squadron commander. “It’s an (Active Electronically Scanned Array) Radar, 6.5 billion dollar investment in the F15-E and the 391st Gunfighters are the first to showcase that in an operational squadron.”

This radar allows the F-15E Strike Eagle to detect, identify and track multiple air and surface targets simultaneously.

“(With) Mountain Home, in particular the Strike Eagle, it’s been fantastic,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Warner, 80th Fighter Squadron operation deputy commander. “They’ve done some upgrades to the Strike Eagle which allow us over the data link to be able to communicate with them a little bit better (has) been pretty cool.”

F-15E Strike Eagles belonging to the 391st Fighter Squadron sit on the flightline at Eielson Air Force Base, Idaho, August 8, 2017. Airmen from the 391st from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho demonstrate their tactical prowess during Red Flag Alaska 17-3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Armstrong/Released)

The APG-82 AESA radar is designed to offer adaptability to changing targets and builds off the multirole-mission capability of the F-15E Strike Eagle.

“It allows the Strike Eagles to continue to do what they’re designed to do,” said Capt Zachary Zimmerman, 391st Fighter Squadron weapons system officer. “To fight our way in, drop precision ordinance and fight our way out in a high-density, near-peer air-to-air and air-to-ground threat environment.”

The APG-82 AESA radar allows the F-15E Strike Eagle to bridge the gap between the fourth and fifth generation fighting force. It can better integrate allowing the entire force to become more effective in combat.

493 FS Eagles safeguard Baltic sovereignty

 ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania — The Eagle is a combat proven, tactical fighter designed to permit the U.S. Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield. It can penetrate rival defenses and outperform and outfight any current opposing aircraft, giving NATO the strategic access critical to meet Article 5 commitments and to respond to threats against its Allies and partners.

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle aircrew member from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron responds to an alert scramble notification at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Sept. 4, 2017.The 493rd EFS pilots routinely track, intercept and interrogate aircraft operating in Baltic airspace who are non-responsive to local air-traffic controlled communication or operating without an official flight plan. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

“Big picture, we’re ensuring our strategic partnership with our Baltic allies by protecting the sovereign skies above the Baltic states,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Clint Guenther, 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron detachment commander. “Our contingent is on alert twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to ensure we are fulfilling that commitment.”

What makes the F-15C uniquely suited for the Baltic Air Policing mission is its capability to detect, acquire, track and intercept opposing aircraft while operating in friendly or rival-controlled air space? The 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilots can detect and track aircraft and small high-speed targets at distances beyond visual range down to close range, and at altitudes down to treetop level.

“When the Combined Air Operations Center, monitoring the Baltic skies in Germany identifies an aircraft that is not squawking [talking to regional air traffic control] or on a registered flight plan, they notify the wing operations center here in Siauliai, who alerts us to respond,” Guenther said. “From that moment, we are airborne within fifteen minutes of that notification to interrogate that aircraft.”

F-15C Eagles can be configured with air-to-air weaponry such as the AIM-120 advanced medium range air-to-air missile on its lower fuselage corners and the AIM-9L/M Sidewinder or AIM-120 missiles on two pylons under the wings, along with an internal 20mm Gatling gun in the right wing root, allowing it to provide all-weather, day or night air superiority and air-to-ground precision capability

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Preserving the integrity of allied airspace in peacetime by air policing remains a vital task and an important demonstration of the collective political will and resolve of all NATO nations; operations such as this are critical to the defense of NATO allies, their national interests and are a solid financial investment in Europe’s collective security.

NATO stands with its Baltic allies in maintaining a Europe that is safe, secure and prosperous. To date, seventeen NATO countries have shared the air policing mission in the Baltic region since operations began in April 2004.

493 FS assumes lead of NATO Baltic Air Policing mission

By Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published August 31, 2017

ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, Lithuania — The United States Air Force assumed control of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the Polish air force during a hand-over, take-over ceremony at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 30, 2017.

A Polish F-16 pilot taxis to park after completion of a Baltic Air Policing sortie at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 30, 2017. NATO Air Policing is a peacetime collective defense mission, safeguarding the integrity of the NATO Alliance member’s airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Approximately 140 Airmen and seven F-15C Eagles deployed to Lithuania as part of the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

“I’m excited as a NATO Air Chief and I’m excited as a U.S. citizen to welcome the 493rd from the 48th Fighter Wing, an F-15C squadron to serve the next rotation of Baltic Air Policing,” said Gen. Tod D. Wolters, NATO Allied Air Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander. “It is the U.S.’ fifth opportunity to rotate and serve the region, and I know that all of our maintainers, operators, mission supporters and that beautiful F-15C will do whatever it takes over the next 120 days to protect the beautiful sovereign skies above Lithuania.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cody Blake, 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron detachment commander, accepts the key to the Baltic Air Policing mission from Polish air force Lt. Col. Piotr Ostrouch during the official Baltic Air Policing hand-over, take-over ceremony at Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Aug. 30, 2017. The 493rd EFS is slated to lead the Baltic Air Policing rotation through the end of the 2017 calendar year. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

NATO Air Policing is a peacetime collective defense mission, safeguarding the integrity of the NATO Alliance member’s airspace. The principle of collective defense is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. It remains a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance.

“We know that all of NATO stands alongside us in defense of our shared values and principles,” said Vytautas Umbrasas, Vice Minister of Lithuania’s National Defence.
Baltic Air Policing is part of NATO’s “Smart Defense” model that incorporates allied nations, conducting operations through shared capabilities and coordinated efforts to effectively accomplish missions.

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

“I speak on behalf of every U.S. Airman here, when I say that it is our honor to protect and defend the sovereignty of the Baltic borders,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cody Blake, 493rd EFS detachment commander.

This is the U.S. Air Force’s 5th rotation serving as the lead for the NATO mission. The 493rd EFS is slated to continue its current rotation through the end of the 2017 calendar year.

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Brig. Gen. Cornish conducts final flight at Kadena AB

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Barry Cornish, 18th Wing commander, and members from Team Kadena pose for a group photo June 29, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Cornish conducted his final flight as the 18th WG commander and celebrated the moment with his family and close friends of Team Kadena. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

550th Fighter Squadron “Silver Eagles” reactivated

By Staff Sgt. Penny Snoozy, 173rd Fighter Wing

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. —

The active duty Air Force detachment based here is now officially designated as the 550th Fighter Squadron following an activation ceremony at Kingsley Field, July 21, 2017.

In 2014, the detachment was activated as a part of the Total Force Integration (TFI), which brought active-duty Airman to Kingsley Field for the first time. They were originally designated as Detachment 2, 56th Operations Group.

“As a combined operations, maintenance, and support squadron, the 550th ‘Silver Eagles’ will be one of the largest squadrons in Air Education and Training Command,” said Lt. Col. Brad Orgeron, the squadron commander.  “Together the 550th Silver Eagles and the 173rd Fighter Wing will continue to produce the best air-to-air F-15C pilots for the Combat Air Force.”

U.S. Air Force members from the 173rd Fighter Wing and 550th Fighter Squadron, stand at attention as the Detachment 2 flag is rolled up during an activation ceremony, July 21, 2017, at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The active duty Air Force detachment assigned to Kingsley Field, previously Detachment 2, is now officially designated as the 550th Fighter Squadron. 550th Fighter Squadron members will continue to fall under the command of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Penny Snoozy)

550th Fighter Squadron members will continue to fall under the command of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., but will operate out of Kingsley Field alongside the Oregon Air National Guardsmen.

The TFI is designed to bolster Kingsley’s mission with additional Air Force active duty Airmen stationed at the Air National Guard base in order to increase the number of pilots trained in a given period of time.

TFI is an acronym used to describe a military organization which has both reserve and active component members working side-by-side in the same organization for a common mission.

The TFI was initiated after the Chief of Staff of the Air Force directed increased production of F-15C pilots. To achieve this goal the Air Force recognized the need for additional aircraft and manpower at the 173rd Fighter Wing, the sole F-15C training base for the USAF.

Currently, nearly 100 active-duty Airmen belonging to the 550th Fighter Squadron reside in the Klamath Basin.

An Airman from the 550th Fighter Squadron reveals the new squadron patch during an activation ceremony, July 21, 2017, at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The active duty Air Force detachment based out of the Kingsley Field, previously known as Detachment 2, is now officially designated as the 550th Fighter Squadron. 550th Fighter Squadron members will continue to fall under the command of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Penny Snoozy)

494 Fighter Squadron “Panthers” Pride of Juniper Falcon

By Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Uvda Air Base, Uvda, Israel — Twelve F-15E Strike Eagles along with 262 Airmen attached to the 48th Fighter Wing, 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England deployed to Israel in support of exercise Juniper Falcon from May 7 – 22, 2017.

The 494th conducted Defense Counter Air integration training with the Israeli Air Force designed to improve Israel’s qualitative military edge through air readiness; while building on the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Israel.

“This exercise was important for the 48th Fighter Wing because it gave us an opportunity to train with an important partner that we don’t always get to train with,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Evan Pettus, 48th Fighter Wing commander. “We were able to build upon our interoperability as a force and increase our confidence that we can employ together cohesively should the need ever arise.”

Three F-15I Ra’ams await clearance to launch for a sortie in support of exercise Juniper Falcon May 8, at Uvda Air Base, Israel. Juniper Falcon 17 represents the combination of several bi-lateral component/ Israeli Defense Force exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. These exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

These training sorties, which focused on air interoperability, gave the 494th “Mighty Black Panther” pilots the chance to take part in flying operations unique to the region; allowing them to become more familiar with the airspace that their Israeli allies are charged to protect.

“It’s important to continue these types of exercises because, one of the great strengths of our Air Force is to be able to work with our partners and increase our interoperability and mutual understanding of each other’s tactics,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Alfaro, 494th Fighter Squadron detachment commander.

An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, taxis for a sortie in support of exercise Juniper Falcon May 8, at Uvda Air Base, Israel. Juniper Falcon 17 represents the combination of several bi-lateral component/ Israeli Defense Force exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. These exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Juniper Falcon 17 represents the combination of several bi-lateral component/ Israeli Defense Force exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. These exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces. Juniper Falcon, together with Juniper Cobra (held during opposite years), is part of the annual exercise continuum between United States European Command and the IDF.

Airmen assigned to the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, make a final pre-flight inspection of an F-15E Strike Eagle in support of exercise Juniper Falcon May 8, at Uvda Air Base, Israel. Juniper Falcon 17 represents the combination of several bi-lateral component/ Israeli Defense Force exercises that have been executed annually since 2011. These exercises were combined to increase joint training opportunities and capitalize on transportation and cost efficiencies gained by aggregating forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

493 Fighter Squadron receives Raytheon Trophy

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

ROYAL AIR BASE LAKENHEATH, England — The coveted Raytheon Trophy was awarded to the 493rd Fighter Squadron, May 13, during a celebration at the Duxford Imperial War Museum, England.

Every year, fighter squadrons across the Air Force are judged on their performance across specified mission sets, exercise participation, inspection results, and squadron and individual achievements.

“It is truly an honor for the Grim Reapers to receive this award,” said Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd FS commander. “I have never been a part of an ops and maintenance team that works this well together, and I am extremely proud of the Gold Team’s dedication to accomplishing our mission every day.”

During 2016, the 493rd FS provided 4,858 flying hours throughout the various deployments and exercises they led or participated in.

“Air Superiority is the sole and only purpose of the Grim Reapers, and tonight we are here to celebrate the fact that they are the undisputed best in the world at that calling,” said Col. Evan Pettus, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

The squadron displayed teamwork and dedication to the mission during a grand total of 190 days in 11 allied countries, and by executed 146 days of deployed flying operations while integrating with 22 allied air forces.

“Every day I witness the Grim Reapers pouring their hearts and souls, their sweat and tears into this most sacred of missions,” Pettus said. “[They] are truly our nation’s sword and shield, its sentry and avengers.”

This marks the 5th time the 493rd FS has earned this recognition in 10 years.

The Raytheon trophy was presented to the 493rd Fighter Squadron during a celebration at the Duxford Imperial War Museum, England, May 13. The 493rd FS received the trophy as the U.S. Air Force’s top fighter squadron, and previously won the award in 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)