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.”

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