Page 1 - Luke AFB Thunderbolt, November 2020
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“We train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen”                                                              November 2020
                                                                                                                                                 Vol. 19, No. 11

               INSIDE                           Joint training makes Australia’s F-35 mission operational

                                                                 by Airman 1st Class
                                                                 BRooke MoeDeR
             StorIES                                            56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

             What it means to be                Luke Air Force Base is fulfilling Secretary of Defense Mark
               Hispanic, 2                      Esper’s national defense priority of strengthening alliances
                                                and partnerships by training alongside the Royal Australian
             Invisible wounds, 2               air force.
                                                 The Royal Australian air force returned most of its F-35A
             War Stories, 3                    Lightning II pilots, maintainers and aircraft to RAAF Base
                                                Williamtown, Australia, in December 2019, but still maintains
             ALS graduates, 4                  a joint pilot-training and maintenance presence here.
                                                 RAAF Maj. Christopher Baker, 61st Fighter Squadron instruc-
             56th Ammunitions                  tor pilot and graduate of the F-35A pilot training program at
               Flight, 6                        Luke, attests to the importance of the training partnership
                                                between the U.S. Air Force and the RAAF. He explained it is
             Chaplain’s thoughts, 10           extremely rewarding to reinvest and train both nationalities
                                                in the same aircraft with the same tactics.
                                                                                                                                       Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder
             New runway repair, 12              “I feel like we contribute something to the U.S. Air Force   Royal Australian air force Maj. Christopher Baker, 61st Fight-
                                                training mission by bringing our own unique perspectives, con-
                                                figuration, roles and environments to the mission — just like   er Squadron instructor pilot, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom
                                                the U.S. Air Force mission brings that to us as well,” Baker said.   Hayes, 61st FS commander, pose for a photo Sept. 9, at Luke
                                                “I think that’s what’s really useful about it being combined.”  Air Force Base. The U.S. Air Force is strengthening alliances
                                                 According to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Hayes, 61st FS com-  and partnerships by training F-35A Lightning II fighter pilots
                                                mander, three components enable the successful integration of   alongside the RAAF since 2014. All RAAF personnel are
                                                the RAAF and the U.S. Air Force: the platform, common tactics   scheduled to return to RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia,
                                                                                                         by December 2020. The first B-course for the student pilots
              Continue to get Luke’s latest     and the objective of training the world’s most capable fighter   at RAAF Base Williamtown is projected to launch in January
               news and information from        pilots.                                                  2021 and will be taught by instructor pilots that trained at
               these sources: https://www.                                            See Mission, Page 8  Luke AFB.
                                                                                                         A U.S. Air Force
                   and social media                                                                                                       and a Royal Austra-
                                                                                                                                          lian air force F-35A
                                                                                                                                          Lightning II assigned
                  Luke56thFW      @LukeAFB                                                                                                to the 61st Fighter
                Date of publication                                                                                                       Squadron, Luke Air
                                                                                                                                          Force Base, fly in
                  First Friday                                                                                                            formation during
                    of the month                                                                                                          a commemoration
                                                                                                                                          flight Oct. 8, over
               Submission deadline                                                                                                        Bagdad, Ariz. The
            15th day of the month                                                                                                         event celebrated the
           prior to date of publication                                                                                                   partnership between
                                                                                                                                          the RAAF and USAF
                Veterans                                                                                                                  in their joint efforts
                                                                                                                                          training the world’s
                                                                                                                                          most capable fighter
                   Tell us Your Story                                                                                                     pilots at Luke AFB.
             Active-duty, Reserve, Retirees                                                                                               The flight marked the
           All military branches are included                                                                                             final sortie between
            Email name, phone number and a                                                                                                the two nations
           brief description of your service to                                                                                           before Luke AFB’s
                                                                                                            Australian partners
                                                                                                                       Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook   departed.

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