Spang Loses First Six Vipers

The first six of 21 F-16 fighters will depart Spangdahlem AFB, Germany, today, as part of USAF’s 2010 legacy fighter drawdown. The next increment, another six, will leave April 30, with all 21 slated to depart by the end of May. The Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing will receive 20 of the Spang Block 50 aircraft, which are newer models than the Air Guard unit currently flies. The other Spang Viper is destined for Edwards AFB, Calif. As part of the fighter drawdown at Spangdahlem, the 52nd Fighter Wing plans to merge its 22nd Fighter Squadron and 23rd FS into one slightly larger squadron. Reports that the new unit would be a resurrected 480th FS may have been premature, because Lt. Col. Aaron Piepkom, Spang’s CAF restructure project officer, referred to that as “one proposal” in an April 26 release. (52nd FW report by SrA. Kali Gradishar)