It’s that time again, FighterSweep Fans! Welcome to another edition of Burner Friday. ‘Tis a day we dedicate to all things jet noise and Mach diamonds–regardless of what aircraft type is dispensing them!

Today we bring you a photo of a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle from the 389th Fighter Squadron “Thunderbolts,” a component of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

This particular jet, powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney F-100-PW-220 engines, is departing Mather Airport in Sacramento, California for the trip home at the conclusion of the California Capital Airshow.

The 389 FS is comprised of more than seventy Airmen and has over twenty aircraft in its stables. The squadron is responsible for sustaining combat readiness to conduct a variety of short-notice contingency operations worldwide.

A Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada during a Red Flag VUL in early 2012.
A Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle takes off from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada during a Red Flag VUL in early 2012.

The aircrew train to and maintain world-class proficiency in a vast array of combat missions: close air support, interdiction, defensive counter-air, and time-sensitive targeting–to name just a few.

The 389th flew in the European Theater during World War II from March of 1943 to May of 1945, employing the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt as part of the 366th Fighter Group. Their next major combat operations occurred in Southeast Asia from March 1966 to October 1971, flying the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.

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After transitioning for a period of time to the F-111 Aardvark as a formal training unit from September 1979 to June of 1991, the T-Bolts returned to the CAF flying the Block 52 F-16CJ as a Wild Weasel unit beginning in 1992. Over the next several years, they rotated aircraft and personnel to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Southern Watch, as well as close air support missions  as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

A T-Bolt pilot and WSO walk back for debrief at the conclusion of a Red Flag VUL in early 2012.
A T-Bolt pilot and WSO walk back for debrief at the conclusion of a Red Flag VUL.

In 2007, the command transitioned to the Strike Eagle, and the most current combat deployment was back to Afghanistan in 2011. They’re the smallest Mud Hen squadron in the entire Air Force, but maintain a very talented and experienced group of airmen. That, combined with excellent leadership, make the T-Bolts a competent, capable force ready to answer the call of duty.

T-Bolts Rule!