Local

March 28, 2014

Luke 1 highlights open house success, F-35 mission

Tags:
Capt. TRISTAN HINDERLITER
56th Fighter Wing public affairs

Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, speaks at a commander’s call March 21. He discussed the recent open house and the new F-35 Lightning II mission. He also told Luke Airmen he was pleased with how the wing is meeting his expectations concerning mission, leadership and community.

At a series of commander’s calls on March 21, Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, discussed the recent open house, the new F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter mission, and gave Airmen his assessment of how things are going in the wing.

The March 15 and 16 open house was a tremendous success, he said, and the estimated attendance of 360,000 people easily shattered the previous record of 250,000.

“I could not be happier with how you all did,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work by a lot of people, and we did a great job of putting it on.”

The two-day open house and air show was the first in three years, since last year’s event was cancelled due to sequestration and budget constraints. Due to similar concerns this year, Luke was one of just three bases in Air Education and Training Command to have an open house in 2014.

The price tag in appropriated funds was approximately $285,000, Rothstein said. The event, however, returned about $250,000 back to the base in the form of nonappropriated funds, which subsidize 56th Force Support Squadron activities such as the library, hobby shop, Club Five Six, as well as the base pool – which the general said would be reopening this year.

Overall, the event was well worth it, Rothstein said.

“We got 360,000 people to be able to understand airpower,” he said. “More important, they had the opportunity to understand the great Airmen we’ve got, and to see their pride and professionalism. I think the return on investment was priceless.”

One of the big highlights of the open house was Luke Air Force Base’s first F-35 Lightning II, which arrived on March 10, and was available for the public to view as a static display on the ramp. The jet is the first of 144 F-35s – a total of six squadrons – that will eventually be assigned to the base.

“This is a big turning point for Luke,” the general said of the new F-35 mission. “This is a pivot. It’s not a sharp turn, but it’s a pivot that’s going to set the path for many years to come. Much like we’ve been flying F-16s at Luke for the last 30 years, I think we’ll be flying F-35s for at least that long as well. You’re here during that pivot, which I think is pretty cool.”

The base is expecting approximately 16 F-35s by the end of 2014, he said. There will also be F-35 partner nations and foreign military sales units training at Luke, similar to the two FMS F-16 squadrons currently at the base.

While F-35 flight operations will be starting soon, the next significant milestone will be when the base is ready to start training F-35 pilots, Rothstein said. An important step to be able to do that will be finishing construction of the Academic Training Center, which will house 12 high-tech F-35 simulators as well as briefing rooms and classrooms for instructors and students. The facility is on track to be completed in the fall of 2014.

“I hope by about this time next year, we will be formally training F-35 pilots, as we do in the F-16 now,” the general said.

Rothstein also gave Airmen his assessment of how the wing is meeting his expectations concerning mission, leadership and community – on the whole, very well, he said. He emphasized the importance of supervisors taking the time to mentor their Airmen and said the wing as a whole should reduce its tobacco usage, but he said that overall he was very pleased.

“Thank you for what you do for our nation,” he said. “Thank you for what you do for our Air Force and for this wing. I’m so proud and privileged to serve with you, to stand alongside you and to get the chance to lead you. I get to see the amazing things you do each and every day, and it fills my heart with pride.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
square

Luke conducts first F-35 training deployment

Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis prior to take off April 15 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Ten F-35s from the 61st Fighter Squadron were sent to Nellis for th...
 
 

The gift of leadership

Gen. Mark Welsh III may have said it best, “Leadership is a gift. It’s given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it.” As the people of this nation give their children up to serve in the armed forces we as leaders need to be ready to lead them as they are...
 
 

Have faith in Air Force system

Throughout our Air Force careers, we have all received extensive training covering the Air Force core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. We talk about them on a daily basis in one capacity or another using them as buzz words to drive our point home or steer a...
 

 

Sidewinders fly missing-man formation

A missing-man formation flyover took place at the Air Force Academy Cemetery April 14, to honor a fallen Airman whose remains were repatriated and laid to rest. Pilots from the 311th Fighter Squadron of the 54th Fighter Group from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, flew it. Capt. Richard Chorlins, U.S. Air Force Academy class...
 
 

Birth of a flagship

Courtesy photo An F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility just before its first flight March 31. This jet is one of several Lightning IIs destined for Luke Air Force Base in the near future after flight testing. Tail number 5056 is scheduled to be the 56th Fighter...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

Days of Remembrance There will be a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Luke Air Force Base Chapel sanctuary. The Hiding Place exhibit will be on display 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 1 in the chapel annex. AFA golf tournament The 16th Annual Air...
 




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