F-15s to Replace F-16s in Fresno

The first of 21 F-15s slated to replace the 144th Fighter Wing’s F-16s touched down at the Fresno Yosemite Airport in California on June 18, states a base release. The 144th Fighter Wing has been flying F-16s out of Fresno as part of a homeland defense mission since 1989. The wing will transition from F-16s to F-15s as part of the Air Force’s Fiscal 2013 force structure changes. As more F-15s continue to arrive from Montana, the F-16s will leave for Arizona to be used in training operations. “We’re going to miss the F-16. There’s not a fighter that we’ve had nearly as long,” said Lt. Col. Dave Johnston, 144th FW antiterrorism officer. “But the arrival of the F-15 means we have the right aircraft for the mission. From a capabilities standpoint, it’s much better suited for the role. It’s big. It’s got a lot of power. Its radar is exponentially better. It can do things the F-16 can’t.” When the F-15 arrived at Fresno ANGB on June 18, it was greeted by a cheering crowd. “It’s a beautiful day,” said Maj. Jon Burd, the pilot who flew the F-15. “It couldn’t have been more perfect,” he added. (See also Montana Government Fights F-15 Move from Great Falls)