Worth Repeating

Now that the Air Force has grounded its air superiority F-15 fleet for a second time in one month, it may be worth recalling some prescient comments from Gen. Ron Keys before he retired as head of Air Combat Command. At AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Florida last February, Keys expressed frustration at not being able to replace combat-weary aircraft like the F-15 with fresh machines not plagued with geriatric flaws. “I sign a lot of letters to [the families] of people we lose,” Keys said, “and what I don’t want to have to do is write a letter that says, ‘Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith: Your son or daughter is dead because a wing fell off their jet on takeoff. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know when, and I’m sorry I had to take a chance with your kid’s life.’ ” Keys added, “That’s the stark reality of what we’re facing.” In the Nov. 2 crash that precipitated the F-15 stand-down, the pilot survived, thankfully.