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.


 
 

 
140805-F-LW839-135cropped

Ramping up …

An F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter prepares to land Aug. 5 at Luke Air Force Base. This is the fifth F-35 aircraft currently assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron with more on the way before the end of the year.
 
 
Airman 1st Class 
JAMES HENSLEY

Nursing fellows take on trauma training

Airman 1st ClassJAMES HENSLEY Chief Master Sgt. John Mazza, 56th Fighter Wing command chief, and Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander, congratulate the 56th Medical Group nurses who graduated from the Critical Care and Eme...
 
 
Courtesy photo

First generation Marine has passion for sport

Courtesy photo Cpl. Mauricio Sandoval, Bulk Fuel Company Charlie NCO in charge of administration, holds his daughter, Yaretzy, 1. When military personnel take the oath to serve their country, they enlist to serve a purpose grea...
 

 
Senior Airman 
MARCY COPELAND

Lt. Gen. rolls out F-35 program priorities during all call

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Lt. Gen Christopher Bogdan, F-35 Lightning II program executive officer held an all-call Aug. 5 on Luke Air Force Base. The general spoke to Thunderbolts about the F-35 program and priorities. Lt. Ge...
 
 

Air Force News – August 15, 2014

Florida The 45th Space Wing supported Space Exploration Technologies’ successful launch of their Falcon 9 rocket carrying the AsiaSat 8 satellite, which was built for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited to serve Asia, the Middle East and Australia. Guatemala Airmen from the Arkansas Air National Guard are working alongside their Guatemalan air force counterparts as...
 
 

People First – August 15, 2014

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, click on the link in the title of each story. Job performance now big factor...
 




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