“Fighting Cocks”

The 67th Fighter Squadron is located at Kadena AB, Japan.

The 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron converted to the F-15 Eagle on 29 Sep 79, changing their mission to air superiority. The 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron was the first squadron in Pacific Air Forces to fly the F-15.Since that time, the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron participated in major exercises throughout the Western Pacific and 67 FS birdsperformed air defense alert duties in the Republic of Korea and Northern Japan. Members of the squadron were part of the Pacific Air Forces William Tell ’82 team which won the prestigious air-to-air gunnery competition after a record-setting 14.8 hour deployment from Kadena Air Base to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In 1983, the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron was awarded the coveted Hughes Trophy for excellence in air superiority. This marked the third consecutive win for the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, a first in Air Force history. The 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron repeated as the Hughes Trophy winner in 1986 and 1989-the third win in the 1980’s thus garnering the title “Fighter Squadron of the Decade.” The 67th has continued that tradition into the 1990’s by taking 18th Wing Fighter Squadron of the Year honors in 1994, 1996, and 1998. Three more in the 21st century and counting..

group photo 67th tactical Fighter Squadron 1981


On F-15 from L to R. Sra Smick, Lt Crump, Capt. McCleary, Lt. Stedman, Lt. Hunsuck, Lt. Almand, Sgt Laysa, Lt. Adler, Capt Carrier, Capt Burke, Capt. Greene, Capt. Cardin, Capt Cloyd.  MIDDLE L to R. Capt Casey, Maj. Callen, Capt. Nacke, Capt. Dedrick, Capt. Cleaveland, Maj. Hallenbeck, Lt. Mitchell, Capt. Chilton, Mgst Hilburn, Lt. Sluder, Capt. Marshall, Maj. Taylor, Capt. Morrow, A1C Barnowski, Sgt Vellick, Sgt. Lovingood. KNEELING L to R. Lt. Col. Ridgeway, SrA Cook, Capt Wilson, Capt. Bumpas, Capt. Deptula, Capt. Schmidt. (photo donated by Wyatt Stedman)

On 1 Oct 91 the “Fighting Cocks” returned to their earlier designation as the 67th Fighter Squadron. The squadron has been a major contributor in the United States’ ability to achieve national military objectives in the Pacific. The “Fighting Cocks” regularly participate in bilateral and multilateral operations across the Pacific, which have significantly strengthened ties to regional allies. The 67th Fighter Squadron has helped keep the peace throughout the world with deployments to Japan, Australia, Alaska, Singapore, Thailand, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From October 1996 through January 1997, the 67th deployed to Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia in support of Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia. During this operation SOUTHERN WATCH deployment, the squadron flew over 1100 sorties and 3700 hours while enforcing United Nations resolutions and sanctions against Iraq. Most recently, the squadron returned from Incirlik AB, Turkey where it flew more than 140 sorties and 900 hours in support of Operation NORTHERN WATCH, again enforcing United Nations resolutions and sanctions against Iraq.

The 67th Fighter Squadron consists of a 380-plus person team that has continued to build on the tradition begun in January of 1941. The 67th Fighter Squadron has achieved a level of readiness and combat capability that is unsurpassed. “Fighting Cocks” are ready to fly and fight anywhere and anytime. . . now, and into the next century.


Group photo of the “Fighting Cocks”  1982.(photo donated by Wyatt Stedman)

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67th FS heads to Malaysia for bilateral exercise

by Staff Sgt. Jason Lake
18th Wing Public Affairs

11/3/2009 – KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — Nearly 100 Airmen from the 67th Fighter Squadron are heading to Malaysia to participate in a joint exercise with the Royal Malaysian Air Force next week.

Eight of the squadron’s F-15 Eagles will represent the U.S. Air Force during Cope Taufan at Butterworth Air Force Base, Malaysia, Nov. 9-20. Cope Taufan is a live-fly exercise that involves dissimilar basic fighter maneuver training and dissimilar air combat tactics training with the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s fourth generation fighters – the F/A-18D Hornet and MiG-29 Fulcrum.

Lt. Col. Rob Novotny, 67th FS commander, said the Airmen from his unit look forward to building relationships with their Malaysian counterparts as they practice everything from visual maneuvers to large force employment.

“Bilateral training is nothing new to this squadron,” explained Colonel Novotny. “We’ve trained with the Greece, Australia, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Spain…there’s very few we haven’t had a chance to work with.”

According to Pacific Air Forces officials, the exercise allows for an exchange of techniques and procedures to enhance interoperability and cooperation between U.S. and Malaysian Airmen. It also provides training for participating aircrew and maintenance personnel.

“This is a great opportunity – training against another fourth generation fighter aircraft,” explained Capt. Brett Vanderpass, 67th FS pilot who plans to fly wingman during the exercise. “The fact that we get to train against the MiG-29 is pretty awesome.”

Pacific Air Forces has conducted exercises with the Royal Malaysian Air Force since the early 1980s. Although the 67th FS participated in Cope Taufan in 2006, Colonel Novotny said this will be the first exchange between the Malaysians and his current team.
“We’ll be training with and against the Malaysians,” he said. “It’s a give and take relationship and we’re excited to do it.”

Eagle pilot soars past 2,000 hours in the F-15

2/14/2009 – Lt. Col. Robert Novotny, 67th Fighter Squadron commander, taxis his F-15 back to its parking spot after completing a local training mission Feb. 12 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. On this mission, Colonel Novotny became one of only four pilots at Kadena to have surpassed 2,000 flying hours in the F-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell Cannady)


Lt. Col. Robert Novotny, 67th Fighter Squadron commander, receives a congratulatory fire hose shower upon his return from a local training mission Feb. 12 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. On this mission, Colonel Novotny became one of only four pilots at Kadena to have surpassed 2,000 flying hours in the F-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell Cannady)   


Lt. Col. Robert Novotny, 67th Fighter Squadron commander, receives congratulations from Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, 18th Wing commander after both men completed a local training mission Feb. 12 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darnell Cannady) 

67th FS participates in Red Flag Nellis

by Staff Sgt. Kenya Shiloh
18th Wing Public Affairs

10/29/2008 – NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Deterring the enemy, protecting friendly forces and completing the mission are just a few of the tasks pilots assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron accomplish while participating in Red Flag 09-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The 67th Fighter Squadron along with several other Air Force units throughout the United States and Allied countries battled adversaries from the 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons in a realistic combat training exercise covering more than 1,500-square miles of the Nevada test and Training Range Oct. 20-31.

Approximately 80 aircraft departed Nellis around the clock flying training missions. F-16 Fighting Falcons from Greece and Singapore and EF-18 Hornets from Spain flew with U.S. aircraft such as the F-15s Eagle, A-10 Thunderbolts, KC-135 Stratotankers and the U-2 Dragon Lady participating in the first Red Flag of the fiscal year.

“There were some growing pains training with our allies the first few days,” said Lt. Col. Lt. Col. Robert Novotny, 67th FS commander. “There’s cultural issues, language barriers, proficiency issues, experience level differences, however, tactics-wise, we’re pretty similar. This training helps us integrate our differences and work together as a team.”

This exercise also provides the 67th FS with a different training environment to improve their tactics.

“At Kadena, we don’t have to worry too much about ranges,” said Lt. Col. Michael Bibeau, 67th FS director of operations. “We go 150 miles out over the water to run our sorties. We don’t have much of an issue with obstacles; but we also don’t have the benefit of flying over mountains and down low where threats are really going to be. We have to take advantage of these opportunities because we just don’t have them back home.”

Colonel Novotny hopes the unit can endure some the stress of flying realistic combat operations on a 24-hour basis against a very robust and capable threat. The unit will also have the opportunity to exercise their surface to air missile defense and determine the best way to integrate their tactics around those threats since they are considered to be the worst type of threats in modern-day warfare to date.

“Collectively as a team, we get a no-kidding evaluation of how the squadron is doing,” Colonel Novotny said. “I hope that we can learn what our strengths and weaknesses are so that when we leave Red Flag we know where to focus our training when we get back to our home station. As director of operations, Colonel Bibeau can see where we need to focus our training and academics plans and what kind of sorties we need to fly. As a commander, I can determine whether we need to come to more exercises like this or focus our resources in a certain area and evaluate our experience level as a squadron.”

After the completion of Red Flag, the unit heads to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to participate in the Weapons System Evaluation Program, more commonly known as Combat Archer. WESP evaluates the air-to-air weapon system capability of combat aircraft in the Air Force.

“It’s a long time on the road but it helps us pack up our squadron and deploy like we would in an actual conflict as opposed to just going away for two weeks,” Colonel Bibeau said. “By the time resources start going dry and people are getting home sick, you’re already on your way home. This way, things are spread out a little bit.”

So far, the 67th FS commander believes the squadron is doing well as a whole. He said based on the fact that they are a very young squadron; the unit is improving on a daily basis in this challenging situation.

“We had a rough start,” Colonel Novotny said. “The aggressors are tough, their electronic attack is tough and they’ve given us a tough problem to solve but you know what, we’re getting better. We’re better today than we were on Monday and we’re improving every day.”

67th FS heads to Misawa for training with JASDF

by Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
18th Wing Public Affairs

7/25/2008 – KADENA AB, Japan — Members of Kadena’s 67th Fighter Squadron will participate in a week-long exercise with their Japanese Air Self Defense Force counterparts at Misawa Air Base July 23 through 30 as part of the Aircraft Training Relocation Program. 67 FS misawa 2008

(F15C Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron prepare for takeoff July 23 for a one-week exercise in Misawa Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon)

During this training the 67th FS will team-up with JASDF Mitsubishi F-2’s and F-4 Phantoms from the 3rd Wing to learn from one another on a tactical level and strengthen the U.S.-Japanese alliance, said Lt. Col. Robert Novotny, 67th FS commander.

The ATR program allows Kadena pilots to conducting dissimilar air combat training at various bases throughout Japan. The goal of the initiative is to increase interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese Air Forces while helping to reduce the noise impact on local communities surrounding certain U.S. bases in Japan, including Kadena. The ATR program is one of several key transformation initiatives spelled out in the 2006 United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation.

“Dissimilar Air Combat Training is the best training F-15 pilots can receive,” said Colonel Novotny. “Fighting another unit with a different weapons system and attempting to beat their strategy is the closest we can come to actual combat.”

The colonel said it has been five years since the 67th Fighter Squadron conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom which is why this type of training is important to maintain readiness.

“Deployed training opportunities such as the Misawa ATR, help us keep our air superiority skills razor sharp. ”

Those skills will be the focus of the training, not only for members of the 67th, but for the JASDF participants as well, said Colonel Ronald Banks, 18th Operations Group commander.

“This training is important when it comes to integrating with our Japanese counterparts and hosts in an effort to fulfill the mission,” he said. “The more we train with them, the better integration we can have in times of conflict. These exercises are designed to further that integration and training.”

“Since our ‘adversary’ in this exercise is actually our alliance partner, we provide them the same training,” he said. “Collectively we compare our results and ultimately become a more cohesive and more competent fighting force.”

Members of the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit will also be participating in the exercise, as they work side-by-side with JASDF maintainers and compare notes.

When the exercise ends, both parties will have gained from having exercised and practiced together, said Colonel Banks.

“A lot of this particular exercise is helping the Japanese pilots improve their skills,” he said, “while at the same time working to improve our relationship with the Japanese.”