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159 FW Command Pilots Reach F-15 Flying Milestones

By Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Farrell, 159th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

BELLE CHASSE, La. – Significant flying milestones were recently achieved by three F-15 fighter pilots with the 159th Fighter Wing, Louisiana Air National Guard based at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans.

After flying a routine training mission on May 10, Col. David “Ripper” Anderson, commander, 159 FW, landed his fighter jet to the cheers of gathered family members and fellow 159th Airmen as he reached 3,000 flight hours in the F-15 Eagle.  Anderson is the only (current) pilot in the 159th to have flown 3,000 hours and one of an elite few in the unit’s history to accomplish such a prestigious milestone.

“I am extremely appreciative for the opportunity to fly the F-15C over the past 20 years,” said Anderson.  “The Eagle is an amazing aircraft and the air superiority mission provided experiences to fly the jet all over the world.  Our maintenance, logistics, and support Airmen deserve the credit for producing combat capable aircraft to safely fly more than two thousand sorties to get to 3,000 hours.  I’m proud to have reached the 3,000 hours milestone and I know that it wouldn’t happen without the great team that I serve with and my family at home.”

This past Spring, two command pilots, also with the 159th, reached the 2,000-hour milestone.  Lt. Col. Joshua “Tito” Higgins, deputy commander, 159 FW, reached 2,000 hours in the F-15 Eagle while flying a training mission at NAS JRB New Orleans.

“It was an amazing experience as it was a culmination of all the hours of the various variants of the F-15 that I’ve flown.” said Higgins.  “I’m looking forward to flying the newest F-15EX here in the near future as the 159 FW transitions to the new airframe which will better position us in the great power competition.”

The third command pilot to reach an F-15 flying milestone, Lt. Col. Cody “Viking” Clark, commander, 159th Operations Group, reached 2,000 flight hours this past January while deployed with the 159 FW in Okinawa, Japan.

“I was honored to be able to log my 2000th Eagle hour at Kadena AB, Okinawa Japan while deployed in support of our PACAF TSP operating out of the 67th Fighter Squadron,” said Clark.  “It was very nostalgic for me because that location and squadron were also where I logged my very first operational flight hour in the F-15C nearly 15 years prior.”

Congratulations to all three 159 FW pilots for achieving these prestigious milestones in their flying careers.  The highly trained, mission-dedicated Airmen of the 159 FW stand ready to fulfil the U.S Air Force’s mission to “fly, fight, and win – airpower anytime, anywhere.”

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