Empty Nest

The last three F-15s of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., were flown Tuesday to their final destination in Tucson, Ariz., as part of the wing’s transition from an F-15 operational combat unit to a training wing for the new F-35 stealth fighter. Col. Todd Harmer, 33rd FW commander, flew the wing’s flagship aircraft to Tucson, where it, along with the two others, will be placed in storage with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group. “It’s bittersweet knowing that once I’m airborne, it’s the end of the Eagle’s 30-year association with the 33rd Fighter Wing, and the ramp will sit empty until the F-35s arrive next year,” said Harmer before the flight. The wing will formally switch over to a training unit on Oct. 1. The wing began shedding F-15s in July 2008. (Eglin report by Chrissy Cuttita and photo caption by TSgt. Eric Jacobson)