editor’s sat down and hashed out the Top 5 Fighter Det (Detachment) locations. We know we got it right from our perspective–but what about yours?

One of the best things about flying fighters: The Fighter Det. Getting away from home base and being able to concentrate on training, plus having a few beers (…or 7) with your squadron buddies on liberty is what it’s all about. Maybe the per diem helps out a little bit also.

A Fighter Det makes you a better aviator for several reasons: you’ve got to learn new course rules, you improve your flying skills in a different area, and most importantly you are concentrating on becoming tactical.

However, the best part is the camaraderie you build with your fellow aviators. Whether it is out at the O’Club for a post flight debrief and some beers or heading out to the local steak joint to play “credit card roulette”, the friendships you build while on Det last a lifetime.

So we present to you our “Official” Top 5 list of Fighter Det locations because we know you wanted to know, right?   Tell us where we got it right and where we got it wrong!

#5 RED FLAG–Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

A-10 Thunderbolt Red Flag, U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)
A-10 Thunderbolt Red Flag, U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

Old timers will know this Det by its original name of “COPE THUNDER”. RED FLAG-Alaska participants are organized into “Red” aggressor forces and “Blue” coalition forces. “White” forces represent the neutral controlling agency—their job is to control the mock war and ensure safety.

It’s a pretty realistic training environment with a variety of targets and threats. There are a full spectrum of missions, ranging from personnel recovery to penetrating an area with heavy anti-air defenses. Flying through the Alaskan wilderness in the Joint Pacific Range Complex is pretty awesome too.  Up to 70 jets can be in the same airspace at once during the height of the exercise.

At the end of the night, you might even find yourself balls deep in a CRUD match at the O Club.

#4 NAS New Orleans, LA

Bourbon Street, Credit:

The River Rattlers of VFA 204 may have one of the best jobs in the Navy: Flying F/A-18 Hornets as aggressors out of the Big Easy.