Air Force

May 31, 2013

Cactus Squadron keeps close ties to base

Lt. Col. JON WHEELER
310th Fighter Squadron Commander

The 310th Fighter Squadron hosted 25 members of the famed Cactus Squadron for a commander’s call May 13 at Luke Air Force Base.

Retired Lt. Gen. Peter Vogler, former chief of staff of the German air force and current Cactus Squadron commander, visited and toured Luke and dedicated the new Cactus Starfighter Conference Room in the 310th FS.

The Cactus Squadron traces its roots back to 1957 when the U.S. Air Force started training German air force and navy pilots to fly fighter jets here at Luke. The first training class included several of the German aces of World War II including Eric Hartmann, the leading ace of the war. The training program marked the first step to rebuilding the Luftwaffe during the height of the Cold War. This program continued for 26 years training more than 2,500 German pilots until the program ended in 1983. The bulk of that training was conducted flying the Lockheed Martin F-104 Starfighter. During this unique period of Luke history, the U.S. and German training partners developed an unexpectedly deep friendship.

In 2000, then Air Combat Command commander Gen. John Jumper and Vogler signed a “decree of honor” which established a formal association between the 63rd FS and the Cactus Squadron. In 2009, this association was formally transferred to the 310th FS. There are 45 local members of the Cactus Squadron who participate in several events throughout the year to educate Luke members about this unique part of our shared history.

During the commander’s call, Vogler spoke of the importance of this history stating, “Germany and the United States have a significantly deeper relationship because of the personal bonds that were built by this program. We must keep these relationships alive.” The Cactus Squadron then presented a description of the program to the current class of students in the Top Hats.

The 310th FS was proud to host Vogler and used the opportunity to dedicate their conference room to the program. The room includes the original decree, books, pictures and several parts from the F-104 including a front canopy, an ejection seat and a full wing.

Every student who trains in this squadron and visitors will get a glimpse into an extremely unique part of Luke’s history. They will hear the story of how enemies became partners, partners became allies and allies became friends. This room helps tell that story.

In addition to maintaining an ongoing relationship at Luke, the Cactus Squadron actively supports the Phoenix community through annual donations to six local charities. Charlie Boettcher, leader of the Cactus Squadron’s local chapter said, “We feel compelled to give back to the community that embraced us so many years ago.”

The U.S. and German friendship is alive and well.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Fitness center gets Xtreme makeover

Courtesy graphic Above is an architectural rendering of the changes to the outside of the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center. Renovations also include a remodel of most of the interior. The project will take place over t...
 
 

People — Air Force’s greatest asset

As I reflect on almost 25 years of military service, I find it easy to remember my assignments, the multiple jobs I’ve had and duties I have performed. I have served on four continents and for four presidents. Within that same time period, our nation has been in numerous campaigns ranging from operations Desert Storm...
 
 

Character, good or bad, will be passed on

Your character is who you are when no one is watching. At the same time, your character is who you are when everyone is watching. Your character is the sum of your morals and values and the quality of your character is of the utmost importance when leading others. In addition to your own values...
 

 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

History gets paint job

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY James Bridges and Hayden Yager, civilian contractors, prepare the F-104C Starfighter static display for painting Aug. 12 in the Luke Air Force Base Airpark. The static displays in the airpark will be ...
 
 

News Briefs August 29, 2015

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will begin an active-shooter exercise between 8 and 10 a.m. Thursday. It is expected to continue throughout the day. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruption of...
 
 
Tech. Sgt. 
BARBARA PLANTE

944th Airmen live life as military couple

Tech. Sgt.BARBARA PLANTE Staff Sgt. Adam Jenkins and Senior Airman Cassandra Jenkins, 944th Logistics Readiness Squadron, are a dual-military couple and work together as maintainers in the refueling vehicle maintenance shop. St...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>