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Train the world’s greatest F-35 and F-16 ghter pilots                                                                                                            April 29, 2016
                                                                                                                                                                  Vol. 16, No. 17

INSIDE Ducks graduate newest fighter pilots ...

STORIES                                                                                                                                          Courtesy photo  FROM LEFT: 1st Lts.
 Thunderbolt changes, 3                                                                                                                                         Chad Roberson and
 ALS grads, 4                                                                                                                                                   Elliott England, Capt.
 309th graduation, 6                                                                                                                                            Scott Eldredge, 1st Lts.
 Wounded warrior, 7                                                                                                                                             Anthony Garlisi, Sean
 Passions vs. priority, 19                                                                                                                                      Robere and Josh Smith,
INDEX                                                                                                                                                            Capts. Zach Thompson
                                                                                                                                                                 and John Hadjis, and 1st
Action line ............................. 2                                                                                                                      Lts. Jimmy Graves and
Briefs..................................... 3                                                                                                                    Johsua Caudill, and Capt.
Spotlight ................................ 4                                                                                                                     Brannan Studley gradu-
Diversions ........................... 16                                                                                                                        ate today from class 15-
Sports.................................. 19                                                                                                                      BBC.

Look for the first monthly                     F-16 pilots learn to fight at night
  edition of Thunderbolt
  May 6 in its usual place                               by Airman 1st Class                      tions have proven successful in numerous       ation may occur,” Blauser said.
          Questions?                                          RIDGE SHAN                          engagements such as the war on terror             In order to mitigate the amount of
    Call 623-856-5998                                                                             and the con icts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
                                                                56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs  Today’s night training takes the experience    disturbance night ying might cause for
                                                                                                  gleaned from past con icts and combines        local communities, pilots who y at night
                                                  Student pilots at Luke Air Force Base are       it with advanced modern technology and a       use changed ight patterns and practice
                                               learning important skills and combat tac-          thorough training regimen in order to craft    locations.
                                               tics essential to ying and ghting at night.        capable and well-rounded pilots.
                                                                                                                                                    “We use noise abatement techniques and
                                                  Training to master nighttime operations            “Night vision goggles, infrared pointers    draw our training away from surrounding
                                               enables a pilot to utilize a vast set of tools     and consistent night training ensure we        communities as much as we can,” Blauser
                                               and strategies to increase their lethality in      own the night now,” Gaetke said. “Training     said. “We try to practice our approaches
                                               combat situations.                                 with these systems allow us to maintain        away from Luke whenever the opportunity
                                                                                                  pro ciency and not forfeit the night to the    presents itself.”
                                                  “Night ying requires more detailed at-          other side.”
                                               tention,” said Maj. Michael Blauser, 310th                                                           Gaetke said that, despite the possibility
                                               FS director of operations. “It requires rep-          Night training occurs in two blocks         of noise, night ying is essential to training
                                               etition and practice which ensures you’re          during the eight-month training cycle of       combat-ready war ghters.
                                               pro cient as well as safe. Your ability to y       student pilots in the 310th FS. Each block
                                               during the day is not a transferable skill to      lasts between two and four weeks.                 “It is absolutely crucial to maintain
                                               the night.”                                                                                       night training,” he said. “We can’t win for
                                                                                                     Blauser said the training is based on a     our country if we’re limited to ghting in
                                                  While nighttime air combat operations           crawl, walk and run mentality.                 the day.”
                                               are a crucial aspect of current U.S. military
                                               doctrine, this wasn’t always the case.                The rst block introduces the pilots to         The instructors of the 310th know that
                                                                                                  proper use of night vision goggles, basic      preparedness means being ready at all
                                                  “During the Vietnam War, the enemy              night ying, single-ship instrument ying,       times, which is why they teach their stu-
                                               owned the night,” said Lt. Col. Matthew            tactical intercepts, and basic nighttime air-  dents to y regardless of how dark it is
                                               Gaetke, 56th Operations Support Squadron           to-air combat techniques. The second block     outside.
                                               director of operations and F-16 Fighting           teaches them advanced nighttime air-to-air
                                               Falcon pilot. “Thousands of pounds of sup-         and air-to-ground combat techniques that          “In order to train the world’s greatest
                                               plies moved through infiltration routes            simulate the types of engagements they         F-16 pilots, we teach our students to oper-
                                               to insurgents in South Vietnam because             might face today.                              ate day or night, under any weather condi-
                                               we were unable to effectively interdict at                                                        tion, no matter what happens in order to
                                               night.”                                               “We never know when the call is going       get the mission done,” Blauser said. “We
                                                                                                  to come or what time of day a combat situ-     need to make sure they are prepared for
                                                  Since then, nighttime air combat opera-                                                        everything.”

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