When all is said and done, all things must come to an end. Many units across all branches of service have stood down, and it has never been easy for any of us to watch, much less be a part of. Given my proximity to Luke Air Force Base and my love for the Viper, witnessing firsthand the number of fighter squadrons dwindling from its heyday to a shadow of its former self has been bittersweet.
For those of us here at FighterSweep, we have had the privilege of meeting a number of people from the squadron, covering various career milestones for some, as well as the final graduating class of the 308th Fighter Squadron, the “Emerald Knights,” based at Luke.
We witnessed the last group of brand-new Viper Drivers to walk through the halls of the squadron building and climb into 308th jets. For most it passes without even a thought, but this is a unit that has been moved to history, and what a fine group of Instructor Pilots and students it was. On one of our recent visits, we were introduced to one such B-Course student, “Stack.”
He’s a wiry guy who spoke to us very candidly about his life before the Air Force, as well as his joys, triumphs, and struggles while learning to fly the mighty Viper. He is also a bit of a visual artist, responsible for putting this fantastic video together, and he understands the full weight of being in the final graduating class of the 308th FS Emerald Knights. FighterSweep went along as the students stepped to their aircraft, taxied out to EOR, and rocketed into the night sky for the last parts of their B-course syllabus.
To an outsider with a love of U.S. military aviation and its rich, rich history, there aren’t really any words to describe how it feels watching the final anything. One thing is for sure, however: Stack did a hell of a job on this video and sends the 308th out on a high note. We hope you enjoy the video and you think of Knights past and present and the things they have brought to the fight.
A huge thank you to SHOCK, Mach, Chip’n, Mickey, HAK, Fire, Stack, BODHI, and all of the other people who were beyond hospitable with us. We are very grateful.