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Check Out The 4th Fighter Wing’s 75th Anniversary Heritage F-15

The 4th FW Strike Eagle 75th Anniversary Heritage Jet. Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton

The 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina is celebrating their 75th anniversary this month, and recently unveiled a new heritage paint scheme on one of their F-15E Strike Eagles to honor the milestone and achievements throughout their history.

“It was once said that the footprints of your heritage help determine the course of your future, so here at the 4 FW we remember and we celebrate that heritage as we look forward,” said Col. Christopher Sage, 4 FW commander. “The heart of the eagle squadron volunteer resides in today’s Airmen of the 4 FW.”

Members of the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron spent more than a month painting the anniversary scheme for the jet, and the paint job will remain for an entire year.

“If you haven’t gotten the chance to observe the work that Tech. Sgt. Timothy Fox and his fabrication team have done to make that Strike Eagle sing with all the ferocity, pride and esprit de corps this wing is known for, I encourage you to do so,” Sage said.

The 4th Fighter Group was activated Sept. 29, 1942 in Debden, England during World War II. The Eagle Squadrons consisted of American volunteers, until the 4th FG became part of the Army Air Corps and drafted members.

The 4th FW Strike Eagle 75th Anniversary Heritage Jet. Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Victoria Boyton

The wing has flown nine different aircraft in 75 years and has destroyed over 1500 enemy aircraft, dropped more than 4 million pounds of ordnance, produced 63 aces, countless Distinguished Flying Cross recipients and one Medal of Honor recipient.

Since becoming the first operational F-15E Strike Eagle squadron in 1989, the 4th FW has seen action in many operations, including DESERT STORM, SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, ANACONDA, IRAQI FREEDOM AND INHERENT RESOLVE.

This past weekend, the 4th FW also held a number of events and ceremonies to mark the occasion. They unearthed a 50-year-old time capsule, which included contents from 1967 and 1992 such as operations documents, photos, newspaper clippings, a 334th Fighter Squadron shirt, a small F-4 Phantom II static and more, before replacing the time capsule with their own belongings, to be unearthed again in 25 years.

Pianos burn in a fire to honor the lives lost during the Battle of Britain in World War II, Sept. 15, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Seven squadrons on base each decorated a piano in respects to their units’ heritage. Credits: USAF/Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton

A base tour to celebrate the wing’s legacy was also conducted, followed by a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A four-ship missing man flyover was done at sunset, followed by a traditional burning of the pianos.

The weekend closed with a 75th Anniversary Gala, which celebrated the achievements and history of the U.S. Air Force and 4th FW. The items from the time capsule were on display, and guests viewed the new Heritage F-15E, along with other heritage aircraft.

 

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Written by Mike Killian

Mike Killian

Killian is an aerospace photographer and writer, with a primary focus on spaceflight and military and civilian aviation. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, in clean rooms with spacecraft destined for other worlds, front row for launches of historic missions and on numerous civilian and military flight assignments.

When not working the California-native enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, storm chasing, producing time-lapses and shooting landscape and night sky imagery, as well as watching planes of course.

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