56th Training Squadron
Mission: Train the world’s greatest F-35 and F-16 pilots by providing peerless instruction, virtual training and training systems management.
Demographics: There are 14 officers, eight civilians and 201 contract employees.
Commander: Lt. Col. Michael Dunn
Director of operations: Lt. Col. Rhett Hierlmeier and Maj. Matthew Brockhaus
Responsibilities: Provides 97 percent of the Air Force’s F-16 and soon F-35 pilots and almost one-half of all the Air Force’s fighter pilots each year. It conducts the world’s finest instruction in aircraft systems, air-to-air, air-to-ground, suppression of enemy air defenses fundamentals, special missions, and high performance aircraft physiology. Additionally, the TRS manages all lesson content, courseware, aircrew training devices, graduation evaluation program, and the 56th Fighter Wing’s programmed flying training for eight F-16 training syllabi consisting of more than 24,400 hours and 18,000 aircraft sorties per year across two geographically separated training units.
Fun fact: Our contract employees have survived more than 4,500 hours of aerial combat and have been awarded 12 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 97 Air Medals and one Purple Heart.
21st Fighter Squadron Gamblers
Mission: Train lethal warriors for the defense of Taiwan
Demographics: Nine U.S. Air Force instructor pilots, four Taiwan air force IPs, 12 civilians and 75 contracted maintenance professionals
Commander: Lt. Col. Javier Antuña
Director of operations: Maj. Ron Sloma
Fun facts: The unit has flown the P-47 Thunderbolt, F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-4 Phantom II, OA-10 Thunderbolt II and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Since 1996, it is a squadron composed of Taiwan and U.S. Air Force personnel, training the Taiwan air force pilots in advanced F-16 tactics.
62nd Fighter Squadron Spikes
Mission: Train the world’s best F-35 pilots.
Vision: Develop professional fighter pilots and leaders for the U.S. Air Force and our partners.
Demographics: Currently there are nine U.S. Air Force officers, three Norwegian officers and four enlisted personnel.
Commander: Lt. Col. Gregory Frana
Director of operations: Lt. Col. Matthew Vedder
Norwegian senior national representative: Lt. Col. Martin Tesli
Responsibilities: The 62nd FS is the first multi-partner F-35 squadron in the world and is responsible for conducting F-35 partner training for the United States and seven partner nations at Luke. The 62nd will eventually consist of 14 U.S., seven Norwegian and five Italian F-35s.
Fun facts: The squadron motto is: “Spike Aces… 357 and Counting!” Since Jan of 1941 the 62d FS has destroyed 357 enemy aircraft either in the air or on the ground. Spike!
56th Operations Support Squadron
Mission: Deliver outstanding operational support to Luke Air Force
Base and the surrounding airspace while developing combat-ready
Demographics: There are 16 officers, 180 enlisted, 28 civilians and
Commander: Lt. Col. Jason Hokaj
Operations officer: Lt. Col. Matt Gaetke
Superintendent: Senior Master Sgt. Lori Hayworth
Responsibilities: Provide airfield management, air traffic control, rated training and flying training syllabus support, weapons, tactics, and intelligence expertise, weather forecasting services, flight records management, operations scheduling, aircrew flight equipment, and rated manning management. Executes an annual flying hour program of more than 24,260 hours and 18,100 sorties.
Fun facts: The squadron war cry, “Get in the fight!” serves as a call to arms and a challenge to others to match the squadron’s excellence.