FighterSweep Fans, you can’t help but be a little excited when a B-Course graduates a new group of fledgling warriors. It truly doesn’t matter which MDS you’re talking about, either–Light Gray, Mud Hen, Viper, or Raptor. In this case, our congratulations go out to Class 15-ABH, which graduated this weekend from the 311th Fighter Squadron “Sidewinders” at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.
The Sidewinders are a part of the 54th Fighter Group, which is a geographically-separated unit (GSU) of the 56th Fighter Wing, which is headquartered at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. With the standup of the F-35 training units at Luke, the existing plan is for all F-16 training to migrate to Holloman. Class 15-ABH is only the second Viper B-Course to graduate since operations moved to Holloman last year.
The Sidewinders have been in the business of training Viper pilots since they were first equipped with Block 1, 5 and 10 F-16A/B Fighting Falcons in late 1982. In 1988, the 311th FS began receiving brand-new Block 42 F-16C/Ds to replace the A/B-models.
The Sidewinders were inactivated 1 April 1994, then reactivated in January 1995, again with Block 42s, to train Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, but were inactivated late September 1995. New life was breathed into the squadron in late 2014 as they prepared to stand up at Holloman, which brings us to the present day.
All of us at FighterSweep extend our very best wishes to Deuce, Fatham, Mowin, Shank, and the rest of their classmates as they leave the B-Course behind, moving on to their first operational assignments!