Major Mat “Sled” Park, a combat-experienced F-16 Viper fighter pilot, now an instructor at Holloman AFB, in NM, spoke to the Flight 24 Daedalians of El Paso, Texas, about the current life of an Air Force fighter pilot, and of the possible future of his profession as we begin our merge into the 6th Generation of U. S. Fighter aircraft. He also extolled the exciting and rewarding life of both a fighter pilot – – – and a career in the USAF. Almost uniquely, it happens that “Sled’s” wife, Danielle, is also an F-16 Viper instructor pilot at Holloman. They met while on duty in Japan, married, and now have two children. The Air Force arranges for them to serve together.
Colonel Mario Campos
Here’s Major Park’s story, told by Daedalian Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos – at left. (All members of the Flight 24 are also long-time members of the FASF):
Maj Mathew “Sled” Parkgrew up in Phoenix, Arizona with his two brothers. His father served as an F-16 pilot for 20 years and his mother put up with their video games, fights, and affinity for getting into trouble. He often went on long backpacking or motorcycle trips with his brothers, exploring the varied terrain of the Southwestern United States.
Maj. “SLED” Park
Sled went to the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2007 where he dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot . . . until the Air Force determined he was not medically qualified to fly fighter planes. Disheartened but not defeated, he elected to learn Russian and major in Eastern European geopolitical studies in order to work as an intelligence officer in the USAF and eventually at the state department. A last-minute Hail Mary waiver allowed him to attend UPT at Sheppard AFB, TX where he tracked his first choice (F-16s) in 2012.
After graduating from UPT and IFF in 2013, he went to Luke AFB, Arizona, and graduated from the F-16B course at the 309th Fighter Squadron (QQMF), which was coincidentally the same fighter squadron from which his father had retired. His first assignment took him to Misawa,Japan, home of the PACAF Wild Weasel Block 50 F-16s. He deployed in 2015 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, where he flew 376 combat hours in support of friendly troops and experienced firsthand the atrocities committed by ISIS on the people of Iraq, Kurdistan, and Syria.
He returned to Misawa, completed the Flight Lead Program, went on way too many TDYs and exercises across the PACAF theater, and eventually returned to the United States to learn to become an instructor pilot at Holloman AFB, NM. It was there that he married his wife, Major Danielle Park, USAF, also an F-16 pilot, but not a better one, (if you ever ask him). The couple quickly had two children and transferred to the USAF Reserves as a full-time instructor pilot after 5 years on active duty in the Regular Air Force in New Mexico.
Sled and his wife (below photo on a mountainside) live in the mountain resort town of Cloudcraft, NM, and primarily spend their time exploring the state with their children and dogs on various camping, climbing, sailing, and hiking trips.
Sled and Daniellelove mountain climbing
Sled and his wife were recently hired by the Air National Guard (ANG) in January of 2023 and intend to move to the Midwest, where they will continue to fly SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) missions and assist their unit with regular alert responsibilities.
Getting things set up for the meeting: L to R: Col. Alan Fisher, and Sled Park chatting with Connie Sullivan
Flight Captain Colonel Mario Campos sets the Daedalian Shield up for the gathering.
Newly retired Flight Captain Col. Alan Fisher delivered the Daedalipan Flight’s Shield for display at the meeting.
Colonel Bob Pittwas interrupted for the photo shoot while talking with Connie Sullivanat his right. In the background are Colonel Campos speaking with Major “SLED” Park, the meeting’s guest speaker.
L to R: Foreground: Col Mario Campos, Connie Sullivan, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Springstead, in the rear with backs to the camera are: Ulla Rice, Major Park, Col. Fisher,and AFROTC students Adam Hernandez, Maximilian Rothblatt – – – at the rear, facing camera: Jerry Dixon, Cliff Bossie, Judy Campos, Melissa Fisher, AFROTC students, Jorge Villalobos and Lyn Salas
L to R:Cols Bob Pitt and Mario Campos
Colonel Campos introduces the guest speaker, Major Mat “SLED” Park
Colonel Campos presents Major Parkwith his token of the Flight’s appreciation.
(L to R) Col. Mario Campos, Adam Hernandez, Maximilian Rothblatt, Jorge Villalobos, Lyn Salas, Maj. Mat ‘Sled’ Park,and Ric Lambart – Photo byCol. Alan Fisher
Considering the size of the USAF, as an amazing coincidence, almost simultaneously, just as we posted her story, the Air Force Academy‘s prestigious Quarterly Magazine for its Alumni Organization, CHECKPOINTS, also printed a parallel feature story about “First” Valentin.
Here, below, is the cover of that issue: (We found out about this coincidence from Col. Alan Fisher, an AF Academy graduate and regular reader of CHECKPOINTS, who excitedly informed your webmaster, that “FIRST” had also just been featured in a distinguished graduate story the same month she was awarded the top LEADER award in her graduating Fighter Class at Holloman. When the Academy CHECKPOINTS staff wrote the article, they didn’t know anything about Captain Valentin’sLeadership award ceremony – nor did we know about their story.
Cover of September 2022 CHECKPOINTS – photo of Cadet 3rd Class Lydia Cella in Combat Survival Training Program
Through the good efforts of two Air Force Academy fellow graduates and long-time FASF members, Alan Fisher and Wes Baker, we were led to the magazine’s Managing Editor, Jeff Holmquist, who gave us the OK to reprint their “First” story. Without further ado, here it is:
[TO VIEW THIS PDF COPY SIMPLY EITHER USE THE “+” SIGN IN THE TOOLBOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIEW YOU SEE OR CLICK ON THE SMALL POPOUT ICON () YOU SEE IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE VIEWER, WHICH WILL PUT THE PDF INTO YOUR BROWSER FOR VIEWING. OF COURSE, THE THE SCROLLBARS ARE USED IN THE NORMAL WAY]
Now let’s look at a short (3:57) video of “First,” one also produced by “CHECKPOINTS” and get a look at how Captain Valentinuses her non-pilot-oriented artistic talents:
[NOTE:Suggest you click on the “Full Screen” mode button at the lower right of the video for the best high-resolution viewing experience.]
A little over a week ago the 314th Fighter Squadron (L) at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) near Alamogordo, NM, celebrated their latest class of graduates from the F-16 Viper Fighter Pilot program: Class 22-ABH.
As usual, the El Paso-based Flight 24 of the Daedalians was on hand to present their much-coveted Leadership Award to the graduate who demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership among the graduating class’ student pilots.
Luckily, your webmaster was the official presenter at the gala dinner event, and was again pleasantly surprised to discover that the winner in this latest class was – once again – – – a female fighter pilot: Captain Melaine “FIRST” Valentin. She clearly lived up to her official fighter pilot call sign (or “handle” as the pilots prefer), “First!”
Here’s a NEWS UPDATE thanks to one of our old-time FASF members and fellow Daedalian – Col. Alan Fisher,an Air Force Academy Graduate (and Flight Captain of the El Paso Daedalian Flight), about this post’s principle subject: Capt. Melaine Valentin(The below photo is from Col. Fisher’sUSAFA quarterly Magazine “Checkpoints” in which a glowingly upbeat story was just published about Captain Valentin):
Here is “FIRST’s” photo, along with one of her many artistic USAF contributions, a special inspirational boost for her fellow female USAF aviators: Capt. Melaine “FIRST” Valentin, winner of the Daedalian Leadership Award in her 314th Class.
Let’s first start off with the official 22-ABH Class video, produced by class member, Lt. Frank “MinMin” Hippler: (suggest you use the lower right corner button to view the video full screen)
The following photos show the celebratory occasion along with the above class video, and a short clip (of fewer than two minutes in length), which shows the Class Leader, Captain Valentin, acting as the MC for the awarding of commendatory citations to the Squadron’s support staff. (To view any of the below photos in hi-res or HD quality, simply click on them.)
L to R: Mrs. Emily Sanford & Squadron CO, Lt. Col. Kirby Sanford, Daedalians Cols. Alan Fisher, and Mario Campos
L to R: Mrs. Sarah Rich& husband, Chaplain Nicholas Rich chatting with DaedalianColonel Mario Campos.
Another photo of the RicheswithColonel Campos
L to R: Daedalian Flight Captain, Colonel Alan Fisher talking to Major James Hill
L to R: Colonels Campos and Fisher share photos with Major Hill
L to R: Colonel Fisherand Daedalian-FASF Webmaster, Ric Lambart in front of the 314th Squadron Emblem
More Squadron members in discussions with Colonels Fisher and Campos
Time for dinner . . . Colonel Mario Campos at far right above.
Short (1:38) video clip (above) of the graduation event.
Ric Lambart congratulates Captain Melaine ‘First’ Valentin, Class recipient of the Daedalian Leadership Trophy
A pleased Daedalian presenter, Lambart, and newly graduated top class Leader, “First” Valentinpose for one more . . .
Squadron Commander, Col. Kirby Sanford poses with Captain Melaine Valentin, to show her Graduation Certificate
L to R: Maj. Bradford ‘Nightmare’ Waldieat the podium and new graduates: Lieutenants Jesse ‘Donde’ Maese, Chase ‘MinMin’ Hippler, Abby ‘CYA’ Maio, Cody “RNOT’ Donald, Caleb ‘Ocho’ Mathes, Vince ‘Squid’ Sabin, Gerrod ‘MosseJaw’ Smith, Trent ‘PIT’ Meisel,Capt. Melaine ‘FIRST’ Valentin,andLts. Ellis ‘Groot’ Alexander and Nathaniel ‘Peppy’ Welch.
Flight 24 Daedalians (L to R) Alan Fisher, Ric Lambart, andMario Campospose with Top Leadership winner, Melaine “FIRST” Valentin.
Top Class Leader: “FIRST” – From Class Video
Melaine ‘FIRST” atop an F-16 Viper (From “MinMin’s”class video).
Ric Lambart talks with Captain Melaine “FIRST” Valentin about her assignment in Korea.
All of the Class of 22-ABH – “FIRST”is in middle, on the Fuselage
Many thanks for helping with this post go to “MJ” Tucker,Unit Program Coordinator for the 314th FS, Cols. Alan Fisher and Mario Campos for taking some of the photos used, and to Lt. Chase “MinMin” Hippler for creating the exceptionally high-caliber 22-ABH class video, and for letting us use it here, Well done.
A Louisiana native, Lemoineis a graduate of the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in New Orleans. After graduating college, Lemoinejoined the Air Force Reserve where he flew the F-16 and accumulated one thousand hours including a combat tour in Iraq.
Mover later transferred to the Navy Reserve where he flew F/A-18A+ Hornets for four years. He currently flies the 737-800 for a legacy U.S. airline and T-38As for the Air Force Reserve as an Adversary Pilot.
In 2011, Lemoinereceived his Instructor Certification in Survival Krav Maga and his Brown Belt in 2012. He is also a Louisiana P.O.S.T. – 1 certified Law Enforcement Officer and former National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certified EMT-Basic.
Lemoine lives in New Orleans with his two rescue dogs Sniper and Kaiser Von Ruff. When he’s not flying or writing, he enjoys volunteering with local law enforcement, working out, and running with his two dogs.
C.W. started a YouTube channel in 2018, hosting a weekly show called “MONDAYS WITHMOVER.” Since then, the channel has grown to over 293,000 subscribers.
This post is comprised of two (2) videos by “Mover” of FAS U-2 operations; Part I and Part II. Both videos consist of his interview with his friend, “Splint,” which first describes how “Splint” became a U-2 Pilot. Both video interviews are about a half-hour each.
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST MAY BE SEEN* IN HI RESOLUTION BY SIMPLY CLICKING ON THEM
This Saturday, five active FASF members were again invited to join the base’s 49th Wing as it graduated the latest group of 11 new USAF Lockheed F-16 “Viper” fighter pilots, all members of the 8th Fighter Squadron’s Class 19-CBF.
Attending the evening’s celebratory dinner were Daedalian Flight 24’s Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, it’s Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt,Ric Lambart,Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, and AFROTC Cadet Major, Ammber Valverde, Daedalian Scholarship recipient and currently the youngest member of the FASF. Ammber is a Junior at both the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) AFROTC Detachment 505.
A ‘Blue Team‘ F-16 from the 388th Wing, 421st Fighter Squadron, the “Black Widows“, flies high above the Nevada desert during a training exercise. Taking a break from the action below the clouds, this F-16 from Hill Air Force Base prepares to take on fuel from an awaiting KC-135 Tanker from the Washington State Air National Guard.
11 F-16 Viper student pilots graduated from the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course, during a ceremony at Club Holloman, Saturday, December 14th, 2019.
Graduating students, parents, wives, faculty and guest line up to enter the dining room for the graduation dinner.
The F-16 B-Course is a 37-week long course required for all student pilots. On average, B-Course students log 70 hours of flying time over 59 sorties in addition to roughly 245-hours of academic training and 69-hours of flight simulator training.
The dessert table had the class cake appropriately designated.
The 49th Wing is the Air Force’s premiere F-16 and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew training wing. Graduates of the F-16 B-course will be reassigned to operational flying units throughout the world as members of the combat Air Force.
L to R; Public Affairs Office Photographer, Staff Sgt.Christine Groening, listens to Col. Cowboy Crowell describe his tour in Vietnam conflict as Colonel Mario Campos listens. Both men are active FASF members.
Well into its middle age (it was 1st flown 45 years ago in 1974) the “Fighting Falcon” (it’s official original name, which has been almost thoroughly replaced by the more popular and honored name – The “Viper” – one assigned to it by its many pilots over all those years). As seen immediately below, the Viper remains the chosen exhibition jet for the renown USAF Thunderbirds, which have used its extreme maneuverability in their airshows for 36 straight years.
The above video shows some typical operational F-16 Squadrons carrying out their missions including some hi-resolution cockpit footage.
Colonel Bob Pitt and AFROTC Major, Ammber Valverde talking about her upcoming career in the USAF and of her intent to also become a fighter pilot. Both are active members of the FASF.
Here are the 11 proud members of the graduating Class19-CBF:
Capt. Justin Goar; 1st Lt. Seth Bolon; 1st Lt. Alexander Drakoulakis; 1st Lt. Austin Gillis: 1st Lt. Michael Kelvin; 1st Lt. Tyler Olson; 1st Lt. Colin Ruane; 1st Lt. Landon Santori; 1st Lt. David Schmitz; 1st Lt. Domenick Stumpo; and 1st Lt. Zachary Tarbox.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groening and Colonel Bob Pitt.
Originally designed and manufactured by General Dynamics Corporation and then licensed to for production by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the newest model of the fighter was first put into action just four years ago. It is the newest variant of F-16 fighter jet, known as the F-16V “Viper.” The F-16’s cost the USAF about $38 million each – – – and it cost the USAF about $3 million to train each of these F-16 fighter pilots to master this nimble 4th generation fighter.
Lt. Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde.
8th Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel “Harm” Finch, addresses the audience to help kick of the ceremonies.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groeningin action.
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, LC Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde
8th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-16 Flight Instructor,Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble, who organized the entire event, addresses the audience.
View of North part of Dining Hall at the Holloman Club, with (L to R) in foreground, Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell
View to the SW in Holloman Club’s Banquet Hall. In foreground (L to R) are Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell.
Event’s Guest Speaker, Brig. General Joseph McFall,Asst. Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Asst. Vice Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force.
Graduating Student, Capt. Justin “Hamboar” Goar, presents the class’ thank-you to Guest Speaker, General McFall.
L to R: Captain Justin “Hamboar” Goar, one of the graduating students, presents Capt. Brittany Trimble,with a thank-you gift from the Squadron and its students for having masterminded and planned the entire graduation event – a complex program which unfolded without a hitch!
L to R: Captain Goar, of the 19-CBF graduating Class, presents THE BEST INSTRUCTOR AWARD to Major Locke.
FASF member and Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Col. Mario Camposdescribes Daedalian History and the Flight’s Leadership Award.
L to R: Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell along with Cadet Major Ammber Valverde, watch the Daedalian Award presentation by Col. Campos.
Col. Camposcongratulates Leadership Award Trophy winner, Lt. Colin “Huds” Ruane, who will be in his new active duty assignment at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea in a few weeks.
Veteran Viet Nam Fighter Pilot, FASF and Daedalian Flight 24 member, Col. “Cowboy” Crowell presents the coveted “River Rat” trophy to Lt. Austin “Weed” Gillis, who will report to his duty station at Ft. Worth Air Reserve Base in Texas after this graduation ceremony. The “River Rat” award is bestowed upon the student with whom his fellow student fighter pilots would most want to have flying on their wing in combat. The river in the title is the “Red River” and the North Vietnamese Valley through which it flows. The pilots who flew in that theater during Vietnam were affectionately called the “River Rats.”
The 49th Wing Commander, Colonel Joseph Campo (L) presents the Distinguished Student Graduate Trophy to Lt. Domenick “ROK” Stumpo, who will report to Osan Air Base, South Korea, in January 2020.
Again, Col. Campo (L) presents the same “Distinguished Graduate” award to its dual winner, Lt. Seth “Faded” Bolon, who will be reporting to Kunsan Air Base in South Korea for his 1st post graduation duty assignment.
FASF members, (L TO R): Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy” Crowell and Ammber Valverde, applaud the graduates as they received their diplomas.
L to R: Cols. Mario Campos, and Bob Pitt,Daedalian Awardee, Lt. “Huds” Ruane, Col. Miles Crowelland River Rat Awardee, Lt. “Weed” Gillis, and Ric Lambart.Photo courtesy of PAO Staff Sergeant, Christine Groening
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimbleand 49th Wing Commander, Col. Joseph Campo
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimble, Cols. Bob Pittand Joseph Campo.
Ammber Valverde (L) discussing USAF flight training program with Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble.
Ammber is a Junior at UTEP and with the NMSU AFROTC Detachment 505. She wants also become a fighter pilot.
This was a good opportunity for Ammber to learn what’s ahead for her as she gets prepared for USAF active duty.
Ammberand Capt. Trimble continue to cover Ammber’s future prospects.
Colonel Campoand LC Crowell reliving some of their combat experiences. Col. Crowell, an FASF member and a Flight 24 Daedalian, is now retired from active duty with the USAF, and works at Holloman as a private contractor.
Col. Campos (L) talking with a Master Sergeant assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron.
Captain Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Cadet Major Ammber Valverdepose by the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s official Emblem.
The Viper is broadly used throughout the world by powers friendly to the United States, and still remains the preferred aircraft for the world famous USAF Demonstration Team, the “Thunderbirds.“
The Oct. 16 flight in Fort Worth, Texas, marked the first time the venerable fourth-generation fighter flew with an advanced radar like those found on the fifth-generation fighters F-22 and F-35, according to a press release this week from Lockheed.
The F-16V includes an APG-83 active electronically scanned array scalable agile beam radar made by Northrop Grumman Corp. The company also makes so-called active electronically scanned array radars for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The new radar steers beams electronically — without moving parts — and redirects them from one location to another, according to the Government Accountability Office. Unlike a passive version, the radar spreads signals over multiple radio frequencies, making them difficult to detect and jam, and allowing the aircraft employing the technology to remain stealthy.
The APG-83 “fire control radar provides 5th Generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability,” Lockheed said in the release. It “will deliver a quantum leap in capability for the venerable F-16.”
The F-16V advanced avionics configuration also includes a new cockpit center pedestal display, a modernized mission computer and a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, according to Lockheed.
Yet the upgrades aren’t slated to hit the U.S. fleet of more than 1,000 F-16s. The Air Force last year canceled a plan to upgrade some 340 of the single-engine fighters with such enhancements due to budget limitations and instead decided to fund other programs, including the F-35.
So Taiwan is set to become the first country to begin flying the F-16V Viper.
Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, faces competition from the British defense giant, BAE Systems Plc, in the international market to upgrade many of the 3,000 F-16s now flying in foreign armed forces.
Of those, roughly 1,000 are more than 15 years old — making them prime candidates for enhancements to avoid obsolescence. While the F-16 won’t ever compete in the skies with newer jets like the F-22 or F-35, upgrading fourth-generation aircraft is far cheaper than buying fifth-generation fighters.
* If you would like to have any of these photos, feel free to download them from the hi-res (larger size view), after you click on it as it appears in the actual post/story.
Long discussed and requested, it finally came to pass: The FASF presented its history, and how that history resulted in the actual creation of Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), all our other Air Bases, Army Airfields and U.S. Naval Air Stations across the world, and, in fact, left virtually no place on earth unaffected by both the military and civilian aviation era that was born in Columbus, NM in 1916 and 17.
Yours truly had the privilege of presenting the unique First Aero Columbus history of how American Air Power was born during the Punitive Expedition of 1916, and of how American Civil Aviation was contemporaneously also re-born – – – and in the same place.
Thanks to a special invitation of the base’s Operation Group’s Commander, Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton (left above), an FASF member, his troops had the opportunity to learn many new things about their own, the nation’s, and the Air Force’s actual history.
49th peronnel file into the HAFB Theater to hear more about their history. Photo by Col. Patton. The woman in the center left front row corner is the HAFB Historian, Martha Whipple.
Among the estimated 400 some odd airmen at the Base Theater on Tuesday of this week, only a small handful actually knew of this part of their history, the very history it is the mission of the FASF to help protect and preserve for future generations.
Colonel Patton is the Commander of the 49th Operations Group at Holloman. His Group maintains and manages Air Combat Command’s most complex and diverse airfield and airspace operations, with three live-fire air-to-ground ranges and more than 58 thousand square miles of military operating airspace.
The Group also supports remotely piloted aircraft (“RPA“), the deadly MQ-9 Reaper,” Air Education and Training Command’s F-16,German Air Force Tornado flight training, Joint test operations, and NASA, while providing combat ready Airmen for worldwide combat commitments. There are several RPA MQ-9 Reaper photos at the end of this post.
Here are some photos of this week’s event:
Colonel Patton (R) Discusses the program as Lambart (L) listens. This photo is courtesy of Lt. Colonel Trevor “Phantom” Merrell, the 49th operation Group’s 9th Attack Squadron Commander.
Lambartpointing to one of the FASF Power Point Slides during his presentation. Photo by Col. Tank Patton.
Lambartduring the lecture. This and the below photo were also taken by Lt. Col. Trevor “Phantom” Merrell.
Col. Patton presents Lambart with the special commemorative “Challenge Coin” of the 49th Operations Group in appreciation to the FASF for its presentation.
Here are some photos of the MQ-9 Reaper RPA’s and F-16 Vipers used by the 49th:
MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft are lined up in the 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hanger at HAFB. Taken by J. M. Eddins, Jr.
MQ-9 Reaper Firing an air to ground missile. USAF photo
The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Courtesy of J.M. Eddins, Jr.
A Reaper crew at their work-station ‘cockpit. From thousands of feet above the terrain, the Reaper crews can focus in on targets with incredible sharpness, often with enough magnification to read license plates on vehicles. USAF photo.
This weekend’s FASF-Daedalian Graduation Event at Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, NM
< Just cllick on any photo below to view it in higher resolution and larger size>
L to R: Colonel “Spud” Caldwell, Graduation Speaker, MJ Tucker (who managed the Graduation Arrangements), FASF-Daedalian members, Roger Nicholsand Col. Mario Campos.
Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, Commander of 314th Fighter Squadron,Captain “Titto” Hannah, who shepherded the Daedalians, andCol. “Spud” Caldwell.
L to R: FASF-Daedalians, Colonel Mario Campos and Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, currently a civilan contractor at Holloman, discussing their combat experiences.
L to R: Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton, Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, and Roger Nichols . . .
L to R: “Roger That” Nichols,LC Michael D. “Burn” Clapper (CO of the314th Fighter Squadron), and Col. Mario Campos, Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, pose before “Burn’s”F-16 Fighting Falcon Jet.
L to R: Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, USAF Ret., Roger Nichols and Col. Mario Campos, share a laugh.
L – R: Colonels “Cowboy” Crowell, Col. Jeff Patton,his wife, Tracy,Mario Campos and Roger Nichols enjoy Dinner.
314th Fighter Squadron personnel, parents and guests, applaud graduating students of class 18-HBB at HAFB
Colonel Mario Campos (R), Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, congratulates Lt. “Pickles” Mossing on his achievement in winning the coveted Daedalian Class Leadership Award.
L to R: Roger Nichols, Col. Mario Campos,Daedalian Leadership Award Recipient, Lt. Jason “Pickles” Mossing, Ric Lambart,Colonels “Cowboy” Crowell and “Tank” Patton,Commander, 49th Operations Group at Holloman AFB
Colonel Dean “Spud” Caldwell Commencement Speaker, shares what’s ahead for the new Fighter Pilots
L to R: Colonel “Cowboy” Crowell,and the “River Rat” awardee, Lt. Doug “Magnus” Clark, and Colonel Jeff “Tank” Pattonare all smiles. Lt. Clarkalso won the Distinguished Student Award in his class, which was the 314th Fighter Squadron’s Class 18-BBH. The River Rat award is given to the student that the other pilots would most want on flying on their wing in combat. The River Rat designation came from the Vietnam conflict and is named after the Red River Valley (Association) of the Vietnam war, an organization to which many pilots who flew in combat over North Vietnam belong. Both of the above Colonels are active members in the FASF.
L to R: Col. Mario Campos, Captain “Tucky” Durbin,event Master of Ceremonies, his wife, Stephanie,and Roger Nichols.
L to R: (Taken by Stephanie Durbin) – Col. Mario Campos, Capt. “Tucky” Durbin, Ric Lambart, and Roger Nichols. The two-finger salute being given by Mario and Tucky is that of the 314th Fighter Squadron.
All thirteen (13) new F-16 Viper Fighter Pilot Graduates pose before their Commander’s Fighter.
Long overdue on its scheduled delivery, and clearly well over its earliest budget estimates, the F-35 has hardly been without its share of public scrutiny and even legitimate criticism.
But here are a few videos to help you understand that this machine’s status – and reputation – are in a constant state of flux, but do appear to be moving in the right direction, in terms of the Stealth Jet’s ability to not only overcome its early deficits, but to actually pleasantly surprise even some of its harshest critics as to its true lethal combat capabilities.
Below, by way of The joint Forces Channel, is this 2:28 long video that poses this post’s basic question re the current combat readiness of the Air Force’s latest 5th Generation fighter, in particular, how it stood up in the skies above Edwards Air Force Base to combat capabilities against the Air Force’s middle aged 4th Generation (now more accurately, 4.5 generation), but thoroughly and actual combat proven, F-16 Viper (or, if you prefer the official General Dynamic’s Name – the Fighting Falcon:
Below, thanks again to The Joint Forces Channel, is a 2:12 long video entitled:
Reaction of a highly experienced combat F-16 Pilot After Flying the new F-35
Below, 7:24 long, courtesy of “New Update Defence” is a video entitled:
Here’s why the F-35 once lost to F-16s, and how it made a stunning comeback.
And here is a short commentary video (1:56 long) by USMC Colonel Steve Gillette, entitled “Why the F-35: It can go where other aircraft can’t.”
Josh Hayes and Melissa Paris Go Ballistic in the F-16 Viper.
This motorcycling husband and wife take a wild ride far above the race track, cavorting about the sky in a pair of F-16 Vipers belonging to the Ohio Air National Guard.
Repeated American National Superbike Champion (2010, 2011, 2012) racer, Josh Hayes, lived out a childhood dream. He and his wife, Yamaha R6 Daytona Sportbike racer Melissa Paris,each got a back seat ride in an F-16. They even did a little dog fighting; no marriage counseling required. This chic flick is brought to you by OnTheThrottle (OTT). They announce that they don’t have F-16 parts – – – but they do have sport bike parts!
The below 8:00 minute long video allows you to follow them into the sky.
The above opening video still photo shows Josh Hayes(L) and his wife, Melissa Paris (R) in front row during pre – flight briefing. Sitting behind them is Ohio Air National Guard Lt. Colonel Zane E. Brown (Call Sign “Insane Zane” or “ZEB”). Colonel Brownhas since been promoted to full Colonel. He is one of the pilots who flew the couple (Melissa) in the F-16s.