2,000 hours in flight

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

2/26/2016 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — The 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, Lt. Col. John Stratton, earned his 2,000 flying hours patch Feb. 26.

Lt. Col. John Stratton, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, center, poses with Col. Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander, left, and Col. David Eaglin, 48th FW vice commander, after earning his 2,000-hour flying patch in the F-15C Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 26, 2016. More than 30 friends, family members and fellow Airmen gathered to celebrate Stratton’s achievement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)

Lt. Col. John Stratton, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, center, poses with Col. Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander, left, and Col. David Eaglin, 48th FW vice commander, after earning his 2,000-hour flying patch in the F-15C Eagle at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 26, 2016. More than 30 friends, family members and fellow Airmen gathered to celebrate Stratton’s achievement. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Erin R. Babis)


A crowd of more than 30 of Stratton’s friends, family members and fellow Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing gathered as he pulled up to the protective aircraft shelter in his F-15C Eagle.

“My first flight in the F-15C Eagle was on Aug. 4, 1999,” Stratton remarked, asking that no one tell him how old they were back then. “Therefore, it’s taken almost 17 years to reach this milestone.”

As his wife, Tara, headed out to the PAS to greet her husband, she echoed his sentiment of the amount of time it has taken to accomplish 2,000 flying hours.

“I’m excited for him,” Tara said. “He’s been working toward this for a long time now.”

Col. Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander, who has known Stratton for a while, presented him with the 2,000-hour flying patch. Stratton saw Novotny earn his 2,000-hour flying patch when they were stationed together in the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

“We first met when he was assistant director of operations,” Novotny explained. “We were in the same squadron together, and I was the commander. Now, to see him leading the 493rd, it’s been really cool to see his success over his career. 2,000 hours! That’s a lot of flying in the F-15C. The sorties are short, and so that’s a lot of experience. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to. It’s really cool to see people get their 2,000-hour patches.”

“I am honored to have my wing commander, who has earned 2,000 hours in the Eagle, to put my 2,000-hour patch on as a squadron commander,” Stratton said.

Portland fighter pilot reaches 3,000 flying hours in F-15

by Capt. Angela Walz
142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/19/2016 – PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. — Colonel Adam “Khan” Sitler joined an elite group of fighter pilots to reach 3,000 flight hours in an F-15 Eagle, Feb. 18 at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon. Sitler, an F-15 instructor pilot and the 142nd Operations Group Commander, crossed that threshold during a routine training mission here. He is the 99th pilot on record with Boeing as having achieved 3,000 flying hours in an F-15.

Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Operations Group Commander, poses for a photo with the pilots of the 123rd Fighter Squadron upon returning from his flight marking 3,000 hours in the F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Col. Adam Sitler, 142nd Operations Group Commander, poses for a photo with the pilots of the 123rd Fighter Squadron upon returning from his flight marking 3,000 hours in the F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shelly Davison, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)


“Each and every sortie takes a team effort. No one reaches an aviation milestone on their own,” Sitler said. “I’m the beneficiary of countless hours of toil on the part of the most professional aircraft maintainers in the world. They deliver not just safe, but fully mission capable aircraft that I’m privileged to fly,” he said.

As the 142 OG Commander, Col. Sitler leads more than 375 personnel in the execution of the F-15 mission defending the Pacific Northwest, worldwide deployments supporting national objectives, and domestic operations activities as directed by the Governor. He has flown more than 50 combat missions and 250 combat hours in Operation Allied Force and Operation Southern Watch.

“He’s a great fighter pilot, an extraordinary leader and mentor to our junior pilots, and an overall asset to the Air Force and the Oregon Air National Guard,” said Col. Donna Prigmore, 142nd Fighter Wing Vice Commander. “Khan epitomizes the National Guard motto of ‘always on mission.’ It’s because of people like him that the Air National Guard is always ready, always there,” Col. Prigmore said.

Sitler speaks passionately about his Air Force job and the Air National Guard mission. “It takes continual practice to be ready to provide air superiority at any time, at any place.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that for every hour spent in the air, at least five or more hours are spent on the ground planning, preparing, briefing, and debriefing each and every sortie.  The American people expect us to be ready, and we’re ready to live up to that demand,” he said.

Colonel Sitler was commissioned in May 1996 after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Upon completion of Undergraduate Pilot Training and F-15 Training, he was assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom. He served as a Combat Mission Ready Wingman, Flight-Lead, Mission Commander and Instructor Pilot.

In 2001, Col. Sitler was assigned to the 71st Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. He served as a Combat Mission Ready Instructor Pilot and Weapons Officer after completing the United States Air Force Weapons School in 2003. In 2004 he was assigned to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where he served as the Chief of F-15 Projects.

Sitler separated from active-duty Air Force in January of 2007 and joined the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard. He has served as Squadron and Wing Weapons Officer, Flight Commander, Squadron Operations Officer, Wing Consolidated Unit Inspection Project Officer, and Fighter Squadron Commander.

Gunfighters participate in Combat Archer and Hammer

by Senior Airman Jeremy L. Mosier
366th Fighter Wing/ Public Affairs

2/25/2016 – MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — Over 200 airmen returned to Mountain Home AFB after participating Combat Archer and Hammer from Jan. 25 to Feb. 12 at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

Combat Archer and Hammer, a Weapons System Evaluation Program, combines the live air-to-air missile firing of Combat Archer and the air-to-ground bomb drops of Combat Hammer.

An F-15E Strike Eagle drops a laser guided bomb during the exercise Combat Archer and Hammer at Tyndall AFB, Florida. More than 200 hundred airmen from Mountain Home AFB attended this exercise. (Courtesy Photo)

An F-15E Strike Eagle drops a laser guided bomb during the exercise Combat Archer and Hammer at Tyndall AFB, Florida. More than 200 hundred airmen from Mountain Home AFB attended this exercise. (Courtesy Photo)


“I feel the TDY was a tremendous success,” said Maj. Peter Yule, 389th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. “It took a tremendous team effort to get all the jets, personnel and associated cargo out of town and then back again. But, everyone went above and beyond to make it happen.”

Performing this TDY not only took the coordination of many squadrons across the 366th Fighter Wing, but also the assistance from fellow airman with Travis AFB who provided airlift, Yule explained.

“It was a great feeling to see how many people were involved in a direct hit,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Brosnan, 389th Fighter Squadron weapons system operator. “The integration of the wing coming together to support this TDY was huge.”

The dropping of 55 bombs, missiles and the 243 sorties flown for Combat Archer and Hammer took the efforts of many different Air Force specialties. Aircrew, flight doctors, aviation resource management, aircrew flight management, weather and a number of other career fields from maintenance to include crew chiefs, ammo and maintainers attended this event.

For many of the aircrew members this was their first time firing live missiles at drone targets.

“To say we are going to go out and simulate this is great, but there is no replacement for actually getting to go out and do it with the real thing and see the effects immediately,” Brosnan said. “There’s just no replacement for training with the actual weapons that we are going to deliver when we go to combat.”

Not only was it the real thing for the pilots and WSOs, Combat Archer and Hammer gave maintainers and members of logistics the opportunity to deliver and attach the bombs to an aircraft before takeoff and see it comeback with nothing.

“Everyone, from maintenance, to operations, to logistics walked away from the TDY better than we were before we went,” Yule said. “The experience gained will contribute greatly to the 389th FS and 366th FW as a whole to be able to provide superior combat airpower in support of the U.S. and its interests, anywhere, anytime.”

493rd FS, NATO allies develop lasting, effective partnerships during Real Thaw

by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/23/2016 – BEJA AIR BASE, Portugal —
More than 100 Airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing reported to Portugal to train with Portuguese, Belgian, Danish, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish and other NATO ally forces, Feb. 22 – March 3.

Real Thaw is a Portuguese-led, large joint and combined forces exercise that trains participating forces on a vast range of battlefield missions sets. Forces participating will execute training missions aimed to merge and fully employ different platforms covering defensive and offensive counter air operations, high value air assets protection and close air support.

Brig. Gen. Barros Ferreira, Portuguese air force director of operations, speaks to U.S. Airmen as well as NATO and other ally forces during the opening ceremony for Real Thaw 2016 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Feb. 21, 2016. RT16, taking place from February 22-March 3, is an exercise planned and conducted by the Portuguese air force, under the aegis of its Air Command, who are responsible for training and readying the operational units, through air operations in the defense of national interests, as well as through the participation in military operations in several international cooperation frameworks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

Brig. Gen. Barros Ferreira, Portuguese air force director of operations, speaks to U.S. Airmen as well as NATO and other ally forces during the opening ceremony for Real Thaw 2016 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Feb. 21, 2016. RT16, taking place from February 22-March 3, is an exercise planned and conducted by the Portuguese air force, under the aegis of its Air Command, who are responsible for training and readying the operational units, through air operations in the defense of national interests, as well as through the participation in military operations in several international cooperation frameworks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be here in Portugal,” said Lt. Col. Rob Fowler, 493rd Fighter Squadron operations supervisor. “We’re excited to be here working side by side with our NATO allies honing our joint air inoperability as well as tactical skills.”

Aircraft participating in the exercise include NATO E-3A aircraft, F-15C Eagles from the 48th FW, C-130J Super Hercules from the 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as well as other partner aircraft.

“Real Thaw gives us the opportunity to train and learn from other countries experiences,” said “Buzzer,” 301st Portuguese Air Base 5 F-16M pilot. “Here we are able to effectively learn how to use each other’s assets and how to play together if there is ever a time we come together in a deployed theater.”

“Working with our NATO allies is crucial to joint inoperability.” Fowler said. “It’s a good opportunity to plan, train and execute these missions in a non-combat location so we’re prepared if the day comes and we deploy with our ally forces.”

Participating in exercises like Real Thaw are an important component to remaining “Forward, Ready, Now,” for the 48th FW.

Real Thaw offers training opportunities for Liberty Airmen to train and hone operational skills in a non-combat zone.

“We expect everyone involved to leave a better version of themselves. Everyone; pilots, maintainers and anyone participating, we all need to leave here with a better understanding of joint air inoperability and having become more tactically proficient to keep the 48th FW and our NATO allies, ‘Forward, Ready, Now”, Fowler said.

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron sits on the flightline alongside Portuguese F16M during Real Thaw 2016 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Feb. 21, 2016. Real Thaw offers training opportunities for Liberty Airmen to train and hone operational skills in a non-combat zone. RT16, taking place from February 22-March 3, is an exercise planned and conducted by the Portuguese air force, under the aegis of its Air Command, who are responsible for training and readying the operational units, through air operations in the defense of national interests, as well as through the participation in military operations in several international cooperation frameworks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 493rd Fighter Squadron sits on the flightline alongside Portuguese F16M during Real Thaw 2016 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Feb. 21, 2016. Real Thaw offers training opportunities for Liberty Airmen to train and hone operational skills in a non-combat zone. RT16, taking place from February 22-March 3, is an exercise planned and conducted by the Portuguese air force, under the aegis of its Air Command, who are responsible for training and readying the operational units, through air operations in the defense of national interests, as well as through the participation in military operations in several international cooperation frameworks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

Red Flag 16-1 comes to an end

Red Flag 16-1: Eagles on Patrol

F-15C Eagles assigned to the 131st Fighter Squadron at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., and the 194th Fighter Squadron at Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif., wait to refuel beside a KC-135 Stratotanker during a Red Flag 16-1 training mission on Feb. 11, 2016. The concept of Red Flag was developed by Maj. Moody Suter to simulate the first 10 combat missions pilots would face. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Burt Traynor)

by Senior Airman Jake Carter
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

2/16/2016 – NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — Red Flag 16-1, came to an end on Feb. 12 with aircrews and support personnel from around the world participating in the best training that simulates a deployed environment.

Red Flag, which was initiated in 1975, and is run by the 414th Combat Training Squadron’s where the mission is to maximize the combat readiness, capability and survivability of participating units by providing realistic training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while providing for a free exchange of ideas between forces.

Included with U.S. forces in this exercise, the Royal air force from the United Kingdom as well as the Royal Australian air force partakes in the training to test their skills against some of the best in the world in air, space and cyberspace.12658001_946478945421054_457855789049444956_o

An F-15C Eagle assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif. launches at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. as part of Red Flag 16-1, Feb. 9 2016. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise which involves the Air Forces from the U.S. and its allies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

“Red Flag is one of the largest training exercises that we do as an Air Force.,” said Col. Derek France, Red Flag Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “It involves all services, coalition partners and it happens on the Nevada Test and Training Range where you get around 130 aircraft and squadrons from all over that come together for a three-week exercise where they train at the highest level of combat.”

During 2016, the 414th CTS plans on hosting four exercises where new participants will come to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada to receive training that they can use in a deployed location.

“It’s a golden opportunity, a truly national treasure when you combine the range, the adversaries that we train on both air and ground, add the cyber effects that are in play and bring everything together,” France said.

A key part for Red Flag exercises is teamwork, where the exercise aims to have all units from around the world work together during a mission.

“We have been able to have U.S. members on Australian jets, Australian and British members on U.S. jets where we all work together,” said Capt. Benjamin Matchett, Offutt AFB 55th Operations Group tactical coordinator, who is participating in his second Red Flag exercise. “Really seeing how each coalition partner works independently and how we work together, its fairly unique.”

Staff Sgt. Joe Kerse, Offutt AFB 97th Intelligence Squadron special signals operator who is participating in his first Red Flag exercise, understands how teamwork plays a role.

“It’s been very eye opening dealing with different assets in a way I haven’t had a chance to before,” said Kerse. “Before, we might have worked with the British or the Australians, it’s never been this close or we have never had the ability to fly on the same jets or work in the same area and be able to share that knowledge amongst another.”

With coalition partners working together during the exercise, France wants crews prepared by the time the head down range.

“One of the goals for this exercise is that that first combat experience seems pretty tamed compared to Red Flag,” France said. “If we are doing that right, then Red Flag is hitting the mark.”

The integration of coalition partners from around the world is an important factor in a Red Flag exercise, as it offers a realistic battlespace in which U.S. and allied warfighters work together towards a set of common objectives.

12697282_947481158654166_2899326771615009938_o

A variety of aircraft assigned to various units from the U.S. and allied nations prepare for takeoff during Red Flag 16-1, Feb. 10, 2016. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise which gives the participants an opportunity to train to fight and win together in a peacetime environment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Klynne Pearl Serrano)

“You get units that come in and do their jobs very well,” France said. “But now, they do their jobs and realize how they integrate and the synergies that are involved and how they can fly, fight and win across all of the domains. It’s pretty awesome fun to see.”

Red Flag 16-2, which is slated to begin Feb. 29, is a two week exercise that aims to continue training crews in air, space and cyberspace.

the new Eagle Country

I am in the middle of a transition from the old Eagle country to the new form. Changing each page by hand. This will take some time, bear with me and keep checking in thanks for visiting.

Skytrailer.com Contents

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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