Students complete F-15E Strike Eagle training at D-M

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Giovanni Sims

Approximately 50 new pilots from the 334th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., participated in a training course at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Jan. 8-20, 2017.

The purpose of this two week training course is to teach student pilots and weapons systems officers what it’s like to deploy in a war-like scenario.

This training is the capstone to the nine month basic course, said Capt. Andrew Lawler, 334th FS F-15E instructor pilot. From here, pilots will be assigned to operational squadrons at Seymour Johnson AFB, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, or Royal Air Force Lakenheath.

The pilots were accompanied by approximately 165 maintenance crew members including crew chiefs, electricians, and avionics and ammunition troops.

“One team, one fight,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Sperry, 334th Aircraft Maintenance Unit flight line expeditor. “Every maintainer is out here during launch and recovery to accomplish the mission. We ensure aircraft availability for aircrew so they graduate their B-Course pilots on time and have a successful TDY.”

The F-15E Strike Eagle has a two-part role performing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An array of avionics systems allows the F-15E to fight at lower altitudes.

“The mission of this training is to teach self-escort and surface attack tactics,” Lawler said. “They will learn how to fight their way into a target area with the F-15 Strike Eagle as well as other airborne assets, drop bombs on time and fight out with zero losses.”

D-M’s locality to military ranges and vast air space provides an optimal training environment for the new pilots.

It’s good for the pilots to get immersed in the different challenges of coming to a new base with local area procedures and seeing new airspace, Lawler said. When they deploy, it will be just like the challenges they’ll face here as well as the challenges of being down range in a combat environment.

The students will leave D-M to return to Seymour Johnson Saturday and are scheduled to graduate Jan. 27.