Well FighterSweep fans, we’ve made it through another week, and now it’s time for our weekly review of reheat!
Today we’re taking a look at the flying tennis court, the mighty F-15 Eagle. More specifically, an Eagle from the 19th Fighter Squadron, the Gamecocks. These days the Gamecocks call Hickam Field in Hawaii home (sounds unbearable to me) and employ the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor (again, unbearable) as part of the Pacific Air Forces’ 15th Wing.
Before they moved south though, the 19FS flew the F-15 out of Elmendorf Air Force Base. Now known as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or simply JBER, this sprawling super base in Anchorage, Alaska, now hosts a large roost of its own Raptors – among many other US assets.
From 1994 until 2010, the 19FS operated the F-15 in the air superiority mission, earning the coveted Raytheon Trophy in 2009 – the squadron’s last full year of Eagle operations.
By June 2010, JBER was well into the drawdown of the F-15. Fortunately, before the final jets left, a pair of two-seat D-model Eagles remained to fly some of the last missions as seen in this weeks Burner Friday image. The Eagle stayed low down the length of the runway, the lush green forest surrounding the base providing a backdrop that made the zone 5 fire from those Pratt & Whitney F100s stand out even more.
With the move of the 19FS, it ended a longstanding era of F-15 operations – both light gray and dark – at the Alaskan base. The 12FS “Dirty Dozen” had already lost their flying mission and left the base, and the 90FS had already converted to the F-22. Eagles had been flying top cover from JBER since the early 1980s, but the end was in sight for the Eagle’s tenure in Alaska.
The last F-15 mission for the 19FS occurred only 3 months after our Burner Friday pic, and the 19FS did us all a solid by bringing their last F-15 Eagle mission to life in the video below as they tour the Last Frontier. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible sights (and obviously the SOUND) of a dream flight – flying an F-15 around Alaska!