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.


 
 

 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

56th FW has new mission

Senior Airman Devante Williams Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, left, 56th Fighter Wing commander, and Charles Lilly, right, lithograph artist, present the new 56th Fighter Wing lithograph May 21 during the 56th FW change of mission cer...
 
 

Develop your replacement

Although it might be a hard pill to swallow in today’s self-esteem charged, participation-trophy society, we are all replaceable. I often say of the Air Force’s perpetual personnel moves, we are all transitional employees so we should subscribe to the “hit by a bus” theory of leadership development. In other words, if you don’t show...
 
 

Balance

It is obvious, since the beginning of time, society in general has become more and more advanced. Today’s Air Force is absolutely no exception. As Airmen our mission is simple — to fly, fight and win. However, when we look at the essence of what each one of us do in the Air Force, that...
 

 
Senior Airman James Hensley

A mother’s right …

Senior Airman James Hensley Senior Airman Marcy Copeland, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, closes a curtain to the nursing room May 13 at the 56th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center on Luke Air For...
 
 

News Briefs May 29, 2015

Leadership Gold Members of the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence are visiting Luke to present Dr. John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold, which grows leaders and fosters teamwork, at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Navy Operational Support Center, Bldg. 300, Room 412. The event is open to all military and civilian service members...
 
 

35 senior airmen graduate ALS

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 35 senior airmen May 14 from class 15-4. The award winners are: John L. Levitow Award: Noah Bolton, 56th Operations Support Squadron Distinguished graduates: Jared Clark, 56th OSS; Jacob Gagnon, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron; and Rodney Yolangco, 56th OSS Commandant’s Award: Jared Clark, 56th OSS Academic Achievement...
 




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