U-2 pilot Maj. Ralph Shoukry logged his 1,000th combat flying hour in the aircraft type during a sortie supporting operations in Southwest Asia, according to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. “I think reaching 1,000 combat hours is a byproduct of us supporting the war effort,” said Shoukry after the milestone sortie on March 6 from the wing’s undisclosed air base in the region. “I love my job and the fact that the U-2 provides a robust combat capability that directly supports the warfighter,” he added. Shoukry hit the milestone on his 113th combat sortie; he racked up these sorties over the course of nine deployments, according to the wing. He is currently deployed with the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron from Beale AFB, Calif. He has flown combat missions over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. (See 380th AEW Facebook posting.)
Robins Air Force Base, Ga., has completed two environmental reviews, clearing the way for new construction to support the bases four new missions sets, which will replace the E-8 Joint STARS mission that has defined the base for decades.