Bye, Bye Black Sheep

Airmen at Holloman AFB, N.M., held an inactivation ceremony for the 8th Fighter Squadron. The “Black Sheep” are standing down after less than two years of operating F-22s due to the Air Force’s Raptor fleet consolidation plan, which calls for Holloman to lose its two squadrons’ worth of F-22s and take on two F-16 squadrons for training. “We flew 2,500 sorties and over 3,000 hours. That’s more than 10 sorties a day, with less than nine F-22s,” said Lt. Col. Craig Baker, 8th FS commander, in highlighting his unit’s accomplishments during the inactivation ceremony. The inactivation takes effect on July 15. Some of the 8th FS’ F-22s are going, for the time being, to Holloman’s 7th FS, while others will bolster the ranks of F-22 units at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; JB Langley-Eustis, Va.; and Nellis AFB, Nev. The 7th FS’ F-22s will eventually shift to Tyndall AFB, Fla. This is the second time in the 8th FS’ 61-year-history that the unit will go on inactive status. The first time was in April 2008 following the retirement of the F-117 Nighthawk. The Black Sheep have flown 15 different aircraft throughout their history. (Holloman release by A1C Siuta B. Ika)