Cold War Samurai – The 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1987 – 1991

This site's the panther's roar! Photo of 549 courtesy of Mr. Akira Watanabe of nabe3saviation.web.fc2.com


Leave a comment

Grand Poobah Leads from the Front!

It’s not everyday you run across a picture of your esteemed Commander, preserved for posterity in the National Archives, but when you do, it’s worth a posting!

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Hamilton, commander, 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron (14th TFS), briefs pilots from the 14th TFS and from Marine Fighter-Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323) during Exercise COPE NORTH 89-1 (Courtesy National Archives)

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Hamilton, commander, 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron (14th TFS), briefs pilots from the 14th TFS and from Marine Fighter-Attack Squadron 323 (VMFA-323) during Exercise COPE NORTH 89-1 (Courtesy National Archives)

The full caption gives a little more info on the date and time of the event, indicating it was taken 15 December 1988, which would have been a short time after that notorious Operational Readiness Inspection by PACAF that year.  A briefing to both 14TFS and VMFA-323 (The “Death Rattlers”) would probably have been held in the main briefing room in between the 14th and 13th sides of old Building 918.

Various interpretations of this photo have come in from squadron members, attempting to explain what is seen. The possibilities so far are as follows, as of 111215Z June 2015:

“…right here, H.A. is saying.. “And I don’t know what the hell Duck Perry was doing off over here”!! opined Duck.

“The answer to HA’s question, “…dragging Sledge to the merge,”” thought Sledge.

“I think HA had that look on his face because he couldn’t get the taste of the dog jerky treats that Sledge and I left on the duty desk in a beef jerky bag off his mind,” said Sluggo.

“Actually he was trying to describe one of Frymo’s elaborate “cloverleaf” maneuvers for the strike package,” remarked Spanky.

As for the apparent incongruence of the calendar date (1988) and year designation of the exercise (89), that’s a little fiscal year (FY) military madness inflicted on everyone in DoD.  The new “money year” began on 1 October (still does from what I know), and events like this COPE NORTH exercise, COPE THUNDER, COBRA GOLD, etc., received the fiscal year designation in their title, which could cause confusion to those not familiar with the custom.  Fiscal Year 1989 began 1 October 1988, hence COPE NORTH 89-1 happened to be scheduled in December, 1988.  Makes sense, right?  Maybe, maybe not!

References

Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 – 2008;
Series:  Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 – 2007
VMFA-323, Wikipedia entry, at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMFA-323
Advertisements


2 Comments

Put out to Pasture

A recent photo feature on aircraft in the “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, captured in one image what appears to be a former Samurai jet currently being preserved, serial number 85-1558.

F-16's rest in the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  Former Samurai jet 85-1558 rests to the right, in 457FS livery.  (Courtesy  )

F-16’s rest in the Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. Former Samurai jet 85-1558 rests to the right, in 457FS livery. (Courtesy Lili Sams at Mashable.com)

She is seen to the right, in markings of the Air Force Reserve’s 457th Fighter Squadron, the last unit she served with before entering the Boneyard on 2 August 2010.

Tail number 558 first arrived for duty at Misawa AB in June, 1987, as the 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron equipped with brand new aircraft.

Link to 558 in 14TFS

She served in the 14TFS until October, 1990, when she transferred back to the CONUS and to the 72nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron in the F-16 RTU at MacDill.

She left MacDill in August 1992 and joined the AF Reserve, first in the land of the Cajuns, serving with the 706th Fighter Squadron in New Orleans before transferring to the 457th FS at Carswell/JRB Ft. Worth in July 1996. She was with the 457th for just over 14 years before “Big AF” decided it was time for her to rest in the summer of 2010.

Hopefully the ground crews at D-M will keep her in good condition. With the chaos around the world, Middle East, Eastern Europe, South China Sea, etc., we need some good jets on the bench in case we get into a situation that we need to get out of. So keep 558 ready to answer the call to duty if/when it should come!

References
Ghosts of aircraft past lie in wait at the ‘boneyard’, at: http://mashable.com/2015/06/07/ghosts-of-aircraft-past/?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner

F-16C Block 30B 85-1558, in the F-16 Database at F-16.net, at: http://www.f-16.net/aircraft-database/F-16/airframe-profile/1914/