By Tech. Sgt. Dhruv Gopinath and Tech. Sgt. Rachel Maxwell
SOUDA AIR BASE, Greece —
U.S. F-15E Strike Eagles assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron, stationed out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, conducted an Agile Combat Employment movement to Souda AB Greece, within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, July 15, 2022.
“We wanted to operationalize the concept of agile forces conducting operations in multiple combatant commands from a single geographic location,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Culver, 494 FS commander. “We demonstrated that we can rapidly move aircraft between combatant commands, and be ready for contingency operations in either.”
In order to validate the concept, the 494 FS flew two of its Strike Eagles from Souda Air Base, Greece to the CENTCOM AOR, which landed, refueled and then returned the same day.
“It was a really cool experience overall,” said Capt. Sean Blye, the mission’s flight lead. “It was great to see all the different teams come together to make it seamless and show just how easy it is to send out airpower across multiple combatant commands in a single day.”
written by Patrick “Red” van Dam
Mission Ready is a visual narrative about a world that’s not accessible to most of us. Until now. Documentary photographer and creative director Patrick van Dam gives us a realistic and uncensored insight into the “Best Fighter Squadron of the U.S. Air Force”. Through compelling images, he offers an insider perspective of the legendary 493rd Fighter Squadron’s daily operations. This is not Top Gun. This is better. This is real.
From 2016 to 2021, Van Dam was granted access to several restricted military airbases and experienced first-hand what it takes to be a fighter pilot during a training mission in an F-15 Eagle. His contemporary photography is never shy of demystifying a sometimes romanticized world, yet always with an aesthetic point of view.
U.S. Air Force Airmen and F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England, arrived at Andravida Air Base, Greece, to support INIOCHOS 22. The exercise is a Hellenic air force-sponsored operational and tactical level field training exercise, hosted by the Hellenic Air Tactics Center at Greece’s fighter weapons school, located at Andravida Air Base, Greece, from March 27 to April 7, 2022.
The exercise aims to enhance combat readiness and fighting capability, while providing participants the opportunity to develop capabilities planning and conduct complex air operations in a multinational, joint force environment.
photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Wood
Welcome home! The 494th Fighter Squadron “Mighty Black Panthers” returned back to RAF Lakenheath, Oct. 26, 2021. Deployed as the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron for 8 monhts in support of Operation Inherent Resolve at the 332nd Expeditionary Wing, the Panthers generated over 1900 sorties and over 8400 hours of combat operations while in theater.