67th Fighter Squadron breaks Kadena AB sortie record
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 67th Fighter Squadron broke a Kadena Air Base record on March 26, for the most sortie missions flown in four days.
The 67th FS set a lofty goal of getting 267 sorties in four days, but because of hard work, coordination and perseverance they were able to meet and exceed those goals by completing 278 sorties, which beats the previous record held by the 44th Fighter Squadron of 244.
"This is the most surge sorties that have been produced at Kadena to my knowledge," said Col. William Denham, 67th Fighter Squadron commander. "The young guys and gals of the 67th AMU did a wonderful job and they are worthy of a lot of recognition for how well this week went."
A sortie is a mission from the moment an aircraft takes off to when it lands. Depending on what the pilot is trying to accomplish during the mission determines how long they are in the air, but once they are back down that completes one sortie. During a normal day the 67th FS will usually conduct 22 sorties.
"The excellent thing about the surge is it gives the ops side great training because we go out there and get multiple sorties all in a row, so for our basic fighter maneuvers our proficiency increases greatly," Denham said. "The other benefit of it is that it is a way for us to make sure each pilot is getting the training sorties they need each month. On the AMU side, it was a great exercise in terms of being able to max produce the number of sorties which they might be required to do in combat."
The flightline was busy with Airmen from various sections working together quickly to keep the sorties going, such as the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron, the 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and the maintenance back shop. Even the 115th Logistics Readiness Squadron Air National Guardsmen from Madison, Wisconsin, helped keep the aircraft launching. The surge tested the Airmen's ability to fix and refuel the F-15 Eagles in a very short time frame.
"The surge operations hinged largely on the hot refueling program which is where we can refuel an aircraft with only shutting one engine down and keep it running so they can go right on to their next mission," said Tech. Sgt. Raynard Tsukiyama, 67th AMU flightline expeditor. "We had coordination with LRS for fuel support; coordination with the fire department because of added risk of fueling while engines were running; and coordination with the wing to be able to get the fuel and trucks for this operation."
According to Tsukiyama, the back shops, such as sheet metal, the 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and the 18th Component Maintenance Squadron, were relied on heavily during the surge and did an awesome job.
Throughout the week, the Airmen had to reliably and safely keep the aircraft flying. If they weren't able to fix them correctly, they would not have been able to reach their goal.
"I've spent 13 years with F-15 C models, Tsukiyama said. "To be in a unit that does this even with a lot of young maintainers out here, a majority of them three-levels and their first surge operation, to have this level of success just speaks to the level of training that we have and how hard these guys work."
"I am super proud of the 67th AMU and all the hard work that I saw from the young Airmen on the line," said Denham. "They did all the work this week, but there was a lot of team effort behind it as well, LRS making sure all the fuel trucks were there for us all day did some phenomenal work and across the board effort from MXG and OSS."
With the help of the 67th AMU and many 18th Wing agencies, the 67th FS demonstrated they can rapidly deploy and go above and beyond expectations to sustain their mission of delivering unmatched combat airpower.