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.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Crossing over: Enlisted to officer

Courtesy photo Second Lt. Shaun Chaplain, 56th Comptroller Squadron flight commander, surveys his surroundings at an unnamed deployed location when he was still an enlisted member. From a technical sergeant in cyber operations,...
 
 

Air Force News – July 31, 2015

California The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force is in the process of testing the F-35A Lightning II’s newest munitions asset, a four-barrel Gatling gun that fires 25 mm rounds known as the GAU-22/A. Unlike the Marine Corps and Navy variants, the GAU-22/A is integrated internally to the F-35A.   Bulgaria More than 100...
 

 

People First – July 31, 2015

SecAF addresses priorities at Aspen Security Forum Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James discussed her top national and homeland security issues, as well as current personnel challenges, during a Q-and-A session with Fox News at the sixth annual, three-day Aspen Security Forum in Colorado July 24. Regarding her perspective of the current top U.S....
 
 
Johnny Saldivar

Roberson takes command of AETC

Johnny Saldivar Lt. Gen Darryl Roberson, Air Education and Training Command commander, speaks during the AETC change of command ceremony Tuesday at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Roberson is a command pilot who has mor...
 
 

Payday lenders prey on Airmen

Loans can be very useful in life. From paying off bills to moving expenses, loans can help Airmen out when they need it. Sometimes Airmen are attracted to a less than ideal option of obtaining cash other than getting a traditional loan. What they may not realize is that going to a place that offers...
 




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>