RAF Lakenheath “Sky Full”

By Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs / Published November 09, 2017

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England –The grey English skies here were more diverse than usual today, as aircraft from all 48th Fighter Wing flying squadrons took flight.

An F-15C Eagle from the 493nd Fighter Squadron, prepares to land on the flight line at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. The 493rd FS currently has F-15C Eagles active in Lithuania, supporting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

This rare occasion was one of the few times this year HH-60G Pave Hawks from the 56th Rescue Squadron, F-15C Eagles from the 493rd Fighter Squadron and F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd and 494th FS were operating in the same airspace at once.

In the past year, Liberty Wing flying squadrons have supported deployments and training exercises across the globe.In fiscal year 2017, the 48th FW flying squadrons flew 8,823 sorties, which amounted to over 14,696 flying hours, a member of the 48th Operations Group said.

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, lands on the flight line at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. This year, the 492nd FS was named the winner of the David C. Schilling Award, which 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. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th Fighter Squadron, taxi on the flight line at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. This year, the two F-15E Strike Eagle squadrons also celebrated their 25th year of being at the Liberty Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

Col. Evan Pettus, 48th FW commander, said he appreciates the support from the local community during times of flying activity.“We have a great relationship with our host nation partners and community members,” he said. “They understand the importance of these operations, even when the skies get a bit louder than usual.”

The 492nd FS and its F-15E Strike Eagles recently 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 over 2,000 missions in support of U.S. Central Command operations.The squadron was also named the winner of the David C. Schilling Award, which 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.

The 493rd FS “Grim Reapers” are currently active in Lithuania, supporting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. The squadron also increased interoperability with U.S. allies during exercise Artic Challenge in Finland and Sweden earlier this year.Additionally, the squadron earned the coveted Raytheon Trophy for the fifth time in 10 years for performance across specified mission sets, exercise participation, inspection results and squadron and individual achievements.

The 494th FS deployed to Israel in support of exercise Juniper Falcon May 7 – 22, 2017.

The “Mighty Black Panthers” 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 year, the two F-15E Strike Eagle squadrons celebrated their 25th year of being at the Liberty Wing.

An F-15C Eagle from the 493nd Fighter Squadron, lands on the flight line at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. This year, 493nd FS earned the coveted Raytheon Trophy for the fifth time in 10 years for performance across specified mission sets, exercise participation, inspection results and squadron and individual achievements. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, takes off from the flight line for a training sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. The 492nd FS recently returned from a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez)

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