The Hawai‘i Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron held its final F-15C Eagle training sortie today. Eagles 78-0509 and 78-0522 took on the 199th's F-22A, 03-4046. The last three of 14 F-15Cs will be officially retired by the 199th next week. The other 11 have already gone onto new homes or AMARG.
HNL RareBirds was privileged to watch the Raptor (seen above, piloted by Lt. Col. Kristoff "Jag" Sills, Steek11) and two Eagles (Mytai12) depart Runway 8R, up close from Taxiway RM, a mere 50 yards away from the centerline. Not only did we hear the roar of the engines as the fighters passed us by, but we felt it as well, as they all took off with full afterburners.
After performing their last F-15 left overhead break, the pair of F-15s landed on Runway 8L, and taxied back to the 199th's ramp. The two Eagles (seen above) return to their clamshells after their final HANG training sortie. The top photo shows F-15C 78-0509, piloted by Lt. Col. Jeffrey "Saw" Sage, and the above photo shows F-15C 78-0522, piloted by Lt. Col. Mark "Odie" Ladtkow, taxiing in. Also, both the "HH" tail code, and the "Hawai‘i" tail flash have been painted over. These two Eagles are destined for Nellis AFB, NV.
Upon deplaning, both "Eagle Drivers" were hosed by junior pilots, as a sign of the end of the F-15 era with the HANG. After being hosed, "Odie" and "Saw" posed for photos and interviews by the press, and social media. "Saw's" wife provided the lei for the pilots. They will go on to complete F-22 training with the retirement of the F-15s.
HNL RareBirds extends a warm mahalo to Pacific Air Forces, the Hawai‘i Air National Guard, the 154th Wing, and the 199th Fighter Sqaudron for your service to our country and state, plus allowing us to attend today's event.