RAF Lakenheath celebrates 25 years of Strike Eagles

By Airman 1st Class Eli Chevalier, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published February 21, 2017

Airmen come and go, and deployment locations change, but over the last quarter of a century, one thing has remained constant at RAF Lakenheath: the combat air power projected throughout Europe and Africa from the 48th Fighter Wing’s F-15E Strike Eagles.

The first F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing lands at RAF Lakenheath Feb. 21, 1992. In the last 25 years, the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons have supported combat operations in locations including Iraq, the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya, and have participated in exercises at more than 20 nations around the world. (Courtesy photo)

First touching down on the Liberty Wing’s runway Feb. 21, 1992, the F-15E has enjoyed 25 years of flying in East Anglia. The 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons are the only two Strike Eagle squadrons in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.

Col. Evan Pettus, 48th FW commander, said the 25th anniversary is a special milestone.

“This milestone is a reminder of the breadth and depth of the U.S. commitment to our partners and allies in NATO,” he said. “The Strike Eagle was our Air Force’s most modern machine when it landed at RAF Lakenheath 25 years ago, and it’s been upgraded continuously ever since. Today’s F-15E is far more lethal than ever before.”

While assigned to RAF Lakenheath, the Strike Eagle squadrons have supported combat operations in locations including Iraq, the Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya, and have participated in exercises at more than 20 nations around the world.

This F-15E Strike Eagle was the wing’s new flagship upon its arrival at the 48th Fighter Wing, Feb. 21, 1992. F-15E Strike Eagles have enjoyed 25 years of flying in East Anglia while assigned to the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadrons at RAF Lakenheath. (Courtesy photo)

“The F-15E will be with us for years to come, and it will continue to play a key role in ongoing combat operations,” Pettus said. “Soon, RAF Lakenheath’s F-15 units will be complimented by two squadrons of fifth generation F-35s, making the Liberty Wing even more capable of delivering decisive airpower to our nation and its allies.”

Lt. Jordan Carr, 67th Fighter Squadron pilot, living his dream

By Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen, 18th Wing Public Affairs / Published February 13, 2017

As a fifth grader growing up in Arkansas, all Jordan Carr could think of was becoming a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

Now 1st Lt. Jordan Carr, 67th Fighter Squadron pilot, has finally achieved his childhood dream.

“We had to do a newspaper article about what we wanted to do for our future career,” said Carr. “I wrote about how when I grew up, I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. From then on, I thought, ‘Ok, now everything I do, I can work toward this and always have a goal, even if it’s super long-term and I’m only a fifth grader, I can make it happen.’”

Throughout all of this time, over 16 years, Carr had support from his family, especially his two older brothers who have successful Air Force careers.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jordan Carr is a fighter pilot with the 67th Fighter Squadron. As a fighter pilot, Carr assists with maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. Carr has wanted to be a fighter pilot since he was in the fifth grade. Now, almost 16 years later, Carr has finally achieved his childhood goal of becoming a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen/Released)

“It’s impossible to stay the course 100% of the time, so having supportive parents and great role models in my life played the most vital role,” said Carr. “Staying engaged in competitive activities also helped me along the way.”

Carr further stated the guidance and encouragement provided by his family and role models kept him on his path to becoming a fighter pilot.

Carr graduated from the University of Arkansas’ Air Force ROTC program in 2013.

Now, he’s a fighter pilot who’s living out his childhood dream and is living proof of how long-term goals can be achieved.

“It feels great knowing if you set a goal, anything is possible,” said Carr. “Much like any other career, achieving the initial title is just the beginning and now you essentially have a license to learn. Every day is a constant reminder that you can learn something new, polish a skillset, or focus on a weak point in order to better yourself and others.”

As a reminder of his childhood goals, Carr’s mother kept the article from his childhood to the present day.

“When I came out here, my mom framed the newspaper article from fifth grade,” said Carr. “I’m living the dream. There are a lot of fun things about being a fighter pilot. It’s exhilirating to fly fast and be tactically minded during the flight, but it’s also a lot of hard work.”

In addition to flying, Carr monitors several additional duties. Although it’s hard work, Carr commented he enjoys his job and finds it rewarding.

“Carr’s most notable characteristic is his positivity,” said Capt. Gregory Schroeder, 67th FS weapons officer. “He’s never pessimistic and his positive demeanor influences everybody else. He works with maintainers frequently and is a great wingman.”

Carr enjoys working with maintainers because it provides him with an opportunity to share his enthusiasm about his job.

“One of my favorite parts of the job is being able to share it with others,” said Carr. “When we do incentive flights for the maintainers, you’re able to showcase what their hard work is going toward. It’s an awesome way to thank them.”

Carr said he also enjoys sharing information about his job with his family.

“It’s always fun to tell them what’s going on,” said Carr. “Especially when my two older brothers speak the language (of being a pilot) and we can talk about the nature of the work and the fun things about it.”

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jordan Carr, 67th Fighter Squadron pilot, gives a thumbs-up as he leaves refueling hot pits during a surge operation Jan. 11, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During surge operations, pilots make stops at hot pits to have their aircraft refueled to continue sortie production. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen/Released)

Carr mentioned even though his job is fun, he is constantly studying and perfecting his skill.

“The 18th Wing is successful because Airmen like 1st Lt. Carr are not satisfied with the status quo,” said Capt. Robert Hendrick, 67th FS assistant director of operations. “He has spent long hours during the week and many weekends at the squadron preparing for training missions and ensuring the rest of the squadron has the tactical tools to succeed.”

Hendrick further commented Carr’s dedication helps the 67th FS maintain a tactical edge and contributes to 18th Wing mission success.

“There are a lot of little cogs that make up the big picture,” said Carr. “I think it’s easy to get tunnel vision, so it’s important to step back and realize we’re all part of a team. No community is better than another. Remaining humble keeps our (Eagle) team performing at a high level while encouraging positive integration with other units.”

Congratulations to Lt. Col. Paul Shamy, 123rd Fighter Squadron, reaching 2000 flying

Lt. Col. Paul Shamy, 123rd Fighter Squadron, reaches 2000 flying hours during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Feb. 7, 2017, credit USAF photo

Nellis F-15’s ‘odometer’ hits 10,000 flight hours

Aircraft 83-3014, an F-15 Eagle, sits on the flightline after reaching 10,000 flight hours during a sortie at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 25, 2017. The aircraft is the first F-15 assigned to a Nellis AFB unit to hit the 10,000 hour milestone. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika)

Maj. Cody Clark, 433rd Weapons Squadron F-15 pilot, is greeted by Airman 1st Class Thatcher Gore, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Eagle Maintenance Unit crew chief, after a sortie in which aircraft 83-3014 hit 10,000 flight hours at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 25, 2017. Although the Air Force’s F-15 fleet is more than 30 years old, only a handful of the C/D/E aircraft are believed to be in the 10,000 hour club. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika)

Airman 1st Class Thatcher Gore, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Eagle Maintenance Unit crew chief, performs a postflight check on an F-15 Eagle after the aircraft hit 10,000 flight hours during a sortie at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 25, 2017. To get the aircraft to 10,000 flight hours, more than 100,000 maintenance hours have been put in by maintenance professionals like Gore for the last 30 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika)

142nd Fighter Wing action at Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise part II

An F-15 Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, launches from the Air Dominance Center during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

An F-15 Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, prepares for flight during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Lt. Col. Aaron Mathena, 123rd Fighter Squadron commander, prepares for flight during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing participate in the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

An F-15 Eagle assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing, launches from the Air Dominance Center during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Savannah, Ga., Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Four F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing pass over head as they return from a training mission during the Sentry Savannah 17-2 exercise, Jan. 30, 2017. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

 

142nd Fighter Wing participate in Sentry Savannah 17-2

30-01-2017. Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing participate in Sentry Savannah 17-2 at the Air Dominance Center, Savannah, Ga. Sentry Savannah is a joint aerial combat training exercise hosted by the Georgia Air National Guard, and is the Air National Guard’s largest Fighter Integration, air-to-air training exercise encompassing fourth and fifth generation aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photos 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)

(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)

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

F-15 Eagles assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing taxi for a training mission from the Air Dominance Center, Savannah Ga., Jan. 28, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

F-15 Eagles assigned to the 142nd Fighter Wing launch for a training mission from the Air Dominance Center, Savannah Ga., Jan. 28, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

The 104th Fighter Wing Eagles have landed at Tyndall AFB

21-01-2017 source USAF news (104 FW facebook)

The Eagles have landed! The 104th Fighter Wing will train with live missiles over next few weeks at Tyndall Air Force Base where their skills and weapons systems will be put to the test. The Airmen are deployed to the 53d Weapons Evaluation Group to ensure the weapons systems are tested against targets that simulate operationally representative threats in a realistic environment.

“The 104th Fighter Wing will receive dissimilar air combat training with the Canadian F-18s as well,” said Maj. Brett “Dutch” Vanderpas. “It is very possible in any future combat operations we would be fighting alongside other countries and other types of aircraft and you never want the first time to be in combat. It is invaluable training we do not get very often back home.”

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114th Fighter Squadron training flying dissimilar air combat training with the Airzona ANG at Tucson IAP.

U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles from the 173rd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, manuever out to the runway in preperation for a training flight at Tucson, AZ January 10, 2017. The 173rd FW spent two weeks training with the Arizona ANG flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

U.S. Air Force Captain Patrick Odell, 173rd Fighter Wing F-15 instructor pilot, debriefs, Master Sgt. James Whaling, 173rd Maintenance Operations Center, on his exact landing time following a training flight at Tucson, AZ January 7, 2017. The 173rd FW spent two weeks training with the Arizona ANG flying dissimilar air combat training with their F-16s. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

Gunfighters: Innovating Since the Beginning

By Senior Airman Connor J. Marth, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published January 09, 2017

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho —

The 391st and 389th Fighter Squadrons are playing pivotal roles in Operation Inherent Resolve, the Air Force’s current mission in the Southwest Asia region. More than 800 Airmen from the two squadrons spent the better part of 2016 downrange supporting the world’s leading airpower in the war on terror. Inherent Resolve isn’t their first rodeo; however, these two squadrons were among the first fighters to deploy in Operation Enduring Freedom after the terror attacks on 9/11.

An F-15E Strike Eagle, assigned to the 366th Fighter Wing, taxis at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, October 5th, 2016. The multi-role 4 genertation aircraft has been active in the region for more than 20 years.(Courtesy Photo)

With a specific focus on striking terrorist networks in Afghanistan, Enduring Freedom allowed the Gunfighters to leap into a territory that would push them to new heights as a premier fighter wing.

“After the attacks, the entire [366th Fighter Wing] went into a threat-con Delta and we were postured to fly home-defense missions over areas in the Pacific Northwest,” said Col. David Moeller, Assistant Pacific Command Commander and a former pilot assigned to the 391st. “About a week after, we started receiving deployment notices to Afghanistan. I deployed on October 12th, 2001 only a few weeks after the attacks.”

Moeller explained the U.S. response efforts were fast and powerful. These decisive movements stretched the Air Forces boundaries to meet the needs of the force. Daily flying missions lasted from 10-15 hours, mission preparations lacked a comfortable amount of information and the aircrew often relied on impromptu decision making in the skies. The lack of instruction and precedent allowed the aircrews to set new bars for what defined the F-15.

“As a squadron, I would say we performed better than we had expected [in Enduring Freedom],” Moeller said. “A lot of the tactics and techniques we were performing were new. Talking to a guy on the ground and providing them close air support wasn’t something F-15s had typically done.”

The 391st and 389th Fighter Squadrons paved the way for single-role aircraft to evolve into more capable resources on the battlefield just as the original Gunfighters did in the Vietnam War.

“The old textbooks used to say the Strike Eagle didn’t perform close air support. None of the pilots had been trained to do that sort of thing, but it had to be done,” said Lt. Col. Joel Pauls, 391st Fighter Squadron commander. “For comparison, when my squadron last deployed, three months beforehand we started a very focused training plan where we did nothing but what we were expected to perform down range. At the start of Enduring Freedom, there just wasn’t time to do that.”

Without the necessary time to train their people and research their area of operation, Moeller and his fellow pilots had to think on the fly.

An F-15E Strike Eagle, assigned to the 366th Fighter Wing, taxis on a runway at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, October 5th, 2016. Previous models of the F-15 are assigned air-to-air roles; the “E” model has the capability to fight its way to a target over long ranges, destroy enemy ground positions and fight its way out. (Courtesy Photo)

 “It’s pretty amazing what people like Col. Moeller and his group of Gunfighters did to change the way the Strike Eagle was used downrange,” Pauls said. “If you compare what we do now to what the Tigers did back then, it’s pretty remarkable. When the nation needed them to step up, they did, and they did so very well.”

18 years later, the 389th and 391st are still answering their nation’s call in Southwest Asia, but they operate differently than before.

“Today’s operations are much more intelligence driven,” Moeller said. “We are more efficient at allocating aircraft for specific missions and we have become more effective at being able to hit the right targets.”

Pauls explained the U.S.’ presence in Southwest Asia has changed from an active invading military force to a behind-the-scenes coercion factor. The U.S.’ current goal is to build up the native militaries in the region to be able to self-sustain and control their own environments.

“[The Air Force] has gotten very good at sustained operations in the Middle East,” Pauls said. “A lot of repetition has allowed us to become more efficient and accurate as a community.”

A community that has been fighting together since the beginning.

“The Gunfighters were kind of the go-to wing in the opening stages of Enduring Freedom,” Moeller said. “They were the ones immediately delivering airpower over Afghanistan and they are still delivering that airpower today

Bold Tigers tear up the skies at Tyndall AFB during Checkered Flag 17-1

By Senior Airman Dustin Mullen, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published December 06, 2016

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The 366th Fighter Wing from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, deployed 16 F-15E Strike Eagles and more than 300 Airmen to Tyndall AFB to participate in Checkered Flag 17-1 Dec. 5-16.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, from the 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, sits empty on the flightline at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Dec. 5, 2016. The F-15E is taking part in Checkered Flag 17-1, which gives several units the chance to train together, build relationships and form a more air dominant team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Checkered Flag is a large-force exercise that gives several legacy and fifth-generation aircraft the chance to practice combat training together in a deployed environment.

“While I have no doubt any two fighter squadrons in the Air Force could effectively integrate and succeed in combat operations; pre-deployment training, like Checkered Flag, makes us that much more lethal,” said Lt. Col. Joel Pauls, 391st Fighter Squadron commander.

To assist in augmenting the realism of the exercise, Mountain Home brought the 391st Fighter Squadron, known as the Bold Tigers. The 366th Fighter Wing lives by their motto of preparing mission-ready gunfighters to fight and win today’s war and the next.

“During the next two weeks we’ll get training opportunities we don’t get at home,” Pauls said. “These experiences will make us more combat capable.”

The F-15s play a large role in the success of Checkered Flag.

“We have [most of the current operational fighter models] in the Air Force participating in Checkered Flag, and we’ll get to plan, brief, execute and debrief with them. I think that’s when you really learn about integration,” Pauls said. “You never know when a crisis is going to erupt in the world and our nation will need us to be ready deal with it.”

The F-15E is a capable multi-role fighter, and the 300 Bold Tigers involved in the exercise are passionate about the mission, Pauls said. “Great Airmen are what make the F-15E so capable, and I’m lucky to be surrounded by them.”

The exercise also gives members of the 391st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron invaluable experience as they are forced to adapt to the stress of a deployed location, and still remain at top proficiency.

“We get the opportunity to work with, load and handle live munitions, which are inherently more dangerous,” said Master Sgt. Shannon Wadas, 391st AMXS lead production superintendent. “Here, we are training as if we were going to go to war. The bottom line is we are a warfighting operation, and the only way to train is to actually do, and we get to do here.”

In a simulated deployed environment like Checkered Flag, units must also deal with a new set of challenges.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Morgan Cisna, an F-15E Strike Eagle crew chief with the 391st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, inspects the underside of an F-15E before takeoff at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Dec. 5, 2016. The F-15Es are taking part in Checkered Flag 17-1, a large scale total force integration exercise that gives legacy and fifth-generation aircraft a chance to train together in a simulated deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

“At the moment, we don’t have all of our jets and equipment, and we’re trying to fly an aggressive schedule while we’re here,” Pauls said. “Obviously this increases our risk to flying a bit. Having said that, we have an awesome operations and maintenance leadership team, and I have no doubt those leaders will find a way to maximize our training while we’re here.”

But even with those challenges, the 391st FS can count on familiar faces such as the 55th Fighter Squadron from Shaw AFB, South Carolina, to help maximize mission success.

“The 391st FS and 55th FS have been linked since Red Flag in July 2015,” Pauls said. “We deployed together from fall 2015 to spring 2016, flying [Operation Inherent Resolve] combat operations, and now we’re at Checkered Flag together. Before flying our first sorties here at Tyndall we already have a level of trust and familiarity.”

Members of Mountain Home are working toward extending that same level of trust and familiarity to all of the units here at Checkered Flag 17-1.