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Tyndall F-15 training throttles ahead

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Capling
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
After more than 60 days of stand-down time, Tyndall Air Force Base's 2nd and 95th Fighter Squadrons are resuming their F-15 training operations. 

The units already have more than half of their instructors back up to current status and both squadron commanders expect all of their instructors to be in full current status in about two weeks.

The first priority for both squadrons was to get all instructors retrained and to work on skills needed for the job.

"We need at least a certain level of proficiency to go along with the currency," said Lt. Col. Kevin Murray, 2nd FS commander.

Thus far, it's been an easy transition for the instructors to get back into the cockpit, said Lt. Col. Kevin Huyck, 95th FS commander.

"Morale has been very high," Colonel Huyck said. "There's a little rust, but that's why we retrain to get that proficiency. Their level of performance is quickly resuming to what it was before the stand-down."

The 2nd FS's next priority is to graduate their senior basic course, class 07-FB, who were within five weeks of graduation when the stand-down occurred.

"Those guys are my biggest concern," Colonel Murray said. "I also have two transition students from other bases I need to fit along with the senior basic course."

Colonel Murray said the senior basic course would have about two weeks of extra flights, followed by other training to help get the students back to previous levels before they get back into the syllabus.

The 95th FS began training transition students again, starting with Eglin AFB's 33rd Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Todd Harmer.

Getting training operations back to full speed is going to be a little tricky, Colonel Huyck said.

"That's going to depend on sortie capacity, the type of students, proficiencies and what it takes to get back to the proficiencies," he said.

The 95th and 2nd FS both have about half of their jets flyable. The limited amount of aircraft can make the training a balancing act, Colonel Huyck said.

"It's going to be tough," Colonel Murray said. "That's why we're doing one class at a time."

The 95th FS aims to start working on training the rest of their transition students mid-February and getting the basic course students back in the cockpit by March.

"We can't just jump in where we left off," Colonel Huyck said. "We have to gradually bring students back up through the simulator and two-seater missions." 

Both commanders were pleased with the maintenance of the aircraft.

"I'm very proud of the maintainers," Colonel Murray said. "Without their Herculean effort, we wouldn't be as far into the spin-up program as we are now."

During the stand down, both squadrons kept the basic course students busy.

"We've kept them in the books, studying their systems and practicing in simulators so they're ready to go when it's time to fly," Colonel Huyck said. "They can also learn a lot just being around the operation."

The 2nd and the 95th also used some of their extra time to work on community projects like Habitat for Humanity and Bikes for Tykes.

"I've been very proud of my squadron through this whole ordeal," Colonel Murray said. "I'm most proud at how my pilots have found ways to be good officers and how they stayed productive."

Colonel Huyck had similar sentiments.

"The instructors of the 325th Fighter Wing have acted in a very professional manner," he said. "Everyone's taking retraining seriously and going with the attitude that every sortie counts."
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