Many thanks to my friend Al Stern for the heads up on this yesterday morning. I didn’t hear any aircraft arrive yesterday but I wasn’t around the radios all day and lightning forced the disconnection of the radios for much of the afternoon. I’ll post more information when I hear them start flying.
by Robin DeMark
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/5/2011 – SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — Fourteen F-15E Strike Eagles and 227 Airmen from the 4th Fighter Wing will deploy Aug. 6 to an unfamiliar airfield at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Savannah, Ga., and execute training missions within 24 hours of arrival.
The 333rd Fighter Squadron Lancers F-15E Formal Training Unit deployment is a joint, total force integration training for student pilots and weapons system officers. They will conduct combat tactics training over the ocean and on restricted bombing ranges along the Georgia and Florida coast. The training team will also include instructors and maintenance personnel from the 414th Fighter Group Air Force Reserve.
“The 4th Fighter Wing is responsible for training Combat Air Force (CAF) pilots and WSOs to take the F-15E to combat in support of U.S. national strategy and defense,” said Lt. Col. Jefferson O’Donnell, 333rd Fighter Squadron commander. “It’s our job to prepare them for a mission that includes deploying to, and employing from, unfamiliar places and taking the fight to the enemy.”
Joint force training utilizes F-15C Eagles from the Florida ANG. These fighter jets participate as blue air (the good guys) and red air (the bad guys). Seymour Johnson’s F-15E Strike Eagles will also execute close air support missions with Army rotary wing assets and a wide variety of weapons systems on the ground. Seymour Johnson students will operate in a two or four-ship formation with the lead jet flown by an instructor pilot with a student WSO and the wingman flown by a student pilot with WSO instructor.
“Our aircrew train with weapons controllers, joint terminal attack controllers and aircrew from other weapons systems,” O’Donnell said. “This training ensures total force and joint mission success in wartime by enhancing tactical expertise through integration with our primary missions.”
Prior to training in Savannah, students flew F-15Es in airspace and ranges within 300 miles of Seymour Johnson. They also received 200 hours of academics in the F-15E Basic Course, more than 40 high-fidelity simulator missions and flew more than 40 training sorties in the F-15E. Upon graduation, they are assigned to one of six operational F-15E squadrons located at Seymour Johnson, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, or with the Royal Air Force in Lakenheath, England. Some graduates are set to deploy for global combat operations within six months of completing the training program at Seymour Johnson.
“Being familiar with home station comforts and procedures, it’s much easier to focus on the complexity of generating jets, planning and executing missions, recovering jets and debriefing,” O’Donnell said. “But we don’t fight wars from home, we deploy. Training like an expeditionary force exposes students and all Airmen to every aspect of sustaining and executing the mission on the road, including planning for meals and physical fitness.”
Historically, the Lancers have provided the highest quality F-I5E aircrew to operational squadrons in support of combatant commander objectives. The 333rd FS is the largest Formal Training Unit in Air Combat Command and Lancer instructors are among the most experienced in the CAF.