Flying, Mx Record for Iron Falcon

Aircrews and maintainers deployed from Eglin AFB, Fla., to Southwest Asia for the month-long Iron Falcon exercise set an exercise record for most aircraft available and highest fully mission capable rate. The 58th Fighter Squadron deployed 10 F-15s to participate in Iron Falcon, which ran Oct. 25 to Nov. 30, with dissimilar aircraft from England, France, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The Eglin team included support personnel from other 33rd Fighter Wing units, and all together, said Lt. Col. Mark O’Laughlin, 58th FS commander, “achieved 100 percent mission success.” The event also provided a “more robust” opportunity than normal for pilots to upgrade to mission commander, said Capt. Jason Trew, a 58th FS pilot. He explained: “Instead of leading an eight-ship, we led a 24-ship, a four-ship team from each nation on the blue-air side. The four of us [pilots undergoing upgrade] were able to each fly 12 large force exercises in four weeks.” Trew added, “This was definitely the highlight of my F-15 career.” (Eglin report by Chrissy Cuttita)