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.


 
 

 
Grace Lee

Pilot saves six Marines earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor

Grace Lee Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal onto Capt. Aaron Cavazos, 61st Fighter Squadron weapons officer, Jan. 16 in Club Five Six at Luke Air Force Base. Cavazos was...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to fight the Nazis, Airmen...
 
 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are rapidly approaching. We expect...
 

 
Courtesy Photo

Chrach saves lives, earns recognition

Courtesy Photo Tech. Sgt. Steven Bruner, 56th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and Chrach, 56th SFS MWD, pose for a photo in Afghanistan during their 2012 deployment. Chrach was recently awarded the 12th A...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Civilian answers AF call, gets dream job

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Kristina Inocencio, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, measures the distance from the tree to the building Jan. 15 during survey training at Luke Air Force Base. One of Inocencio’s ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin