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.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

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...
 




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>