Air Force

November 1, 2013

Legendary squadron reactivated

Tags:
STEPHEN DELGADO
Thunderbolt staff writer

Col. John Hanna, left, 56th Operation Group commander, unfurls the 61st Fighter Squadron banner with incoming commander Lt. Col. Michael Ebner, during the reactivation ceremony Oct. 25. The 61st FS will be Luke Air Force Base’s first squadron to fly the F-35A Lightning II.

Luke Air Force Base marked an important milestone last week when it stood up its first F-35 unit, the 61st Fighter Squadron, at a ceremony on Oct. 25.

Lt. Col. Michael Ebner assumed command of the squadron, which traces its lineage to World War II and received distinction as the first fighter squadron in the European theater to score more than 100 victories.

More than 150 people attended the ceremony, which was held at Club Five Six. The guest list was highlighted by Brig. Gen. Michael Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, and Col. John Hanna, 56th Operations Group commander, who was the presiding officer.

The 61st FS, which was inactivated most recently in 2010, will be the first squadron at Luke to fly the F-35A, which is the Air Force’s newest fighter jet. The first jet is expected to arrive early next year, and a total of 16 to 18 jets are scheduled to be at Luke by the end of 2014.

In his opening remarks, Hanna praised the incoming commander, Lt. Col. Michael Ebner, for his leadership and skill as a pilot.

He added that after all the cutbacks involving fighter squadrons and aircraft inventories since the mid-1980s, it was a good feeling to reactivate a squadron instead of shutting one down.

Hanna presented the squadron guidon to Ebner, signifying Ebner’s assumption of command.

Ebner said the 61st FS will stand ready to accomplish any mission.

“I’m proud to be part of a squadron with such a rich history,” he said. “Our work is just beginning. We will train the finest F-35 pilots in the world, and it’s vital that we work as a team to do that.”

Ebner called on the memory of one the 61st FS’s most illustrious pilots, Col. Francis Gabreski, who was the top fighter ace in the European theater in World War II and a fighter ace in the Korean War.
Gabreski is only one of seven pilots to be an ace in two wars.

Ebner said he was privileged to have been one of the pilots in the flyover at Gabreski’s memorial service in 2002.

Ebner’s previous assignment was as 33rd Operations Support Squadron and 58th FS director of operations at Eglin AFB, Fla.

At the conclusion of his remarks, Ebner cited the squadron’s motto:
“I’m a top dog — bring it on.”




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>