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January 18, 2013

A family legacy flying the EC-130

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Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Captain Alexander Cuevas, pilot 43 Electronic Combat Squadron, and his father Lee Cuevas pose for a photo in the cockpit of an EC-130 Jan. 3. Alexander and Lee Cuevas have both flown the EC-130 throughout their careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josh Slavin)

Capt. Alexander Cuevas, 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron, performed his fini-flight in the EC-130 here Jan. 4.

His service here at D-M is part of a legacy he shares with his father, Lee Cuevas, who flew the EC-130 with the 41st Electronic Combat Group during his Air Force career.

“Flying the same aircraft as my dad is intriguing because I never expected to be able to fly this aircraft in the first place,” Captain Cuevas said. “It’s a real treat because I can talk to my dad and we can share stories. It’s fun to have that connection.”

Lee Cuevas flew the EC-130 during the Cold War.

“The plane should fly the same as far as I know,” Lee Cuevas said. “They do have better electronics than we had back then.”

Though they have shared experiences flying the same aircraft, the missions they completed in them are very different.

“My dad flew during the cold war era, so he was focused on training to fight Russia,” Captain Cuevas said. “With me, I’ve been focused on anti-terrorism missions and flying in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it’s a big difference in how our capabilities are utilized.”

Since his dad has more flying experience under his belt, Captain Cuevas often asks him for advice.

“One of the main things he’s always told me is that there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old and bold pilots,” Captain Cuevas said. “Always be safe up there and weigh your risks because flying a plane is dangerous in itself.”

As the resident family EC-130 expert, Lee Cuevas knows the wisdom that comes with experience.

“You have to ask the old pilots about certain situations so you can learn as you go,” Lee Cuevas said. “Every time you go up it’s a different situation and a different learning experience.”




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