5 ways the 35th FW flexes its air superiority
Stripes Japan | .
published: May 05, 2016
1. "First In, Last Out"
Since their origin 50 years ago, the Wild Weasels coined the motto "First In, Last Out," in part because of the pilots' willingness to risk their lives to execute the Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses missions. The Wild Weasel mission was born during the Vietnam War to protect friendly aircraft against enemy surface-to-air missile sites.
2. "The need... the need for SEAD"
Simplified, the SEAD mission involves letting the enemy potentially lock on and attack us, then using that attack to track down where their assets are. Then--BOOM--we lay down suppressive fire or destroy their defenses. During the first SEAD missions carried out during an 11-day air campaign over North Vietnam in 1972, the enemy left the battlefield in fear when the Wild Weasel aircraft were spotted in the sky. This resulted in achieving the ultimate goal--the enemy leaving the fight and turning off their radars. Misawa is the only base in the Pacific that operates this specific mission set, and its impact is felt worldwide.
3. "Falcons run our skies"
The F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 35th FW display the "WW" tail flash, showcasing the Wild Weasel mission. Each aircraft is equipped with a Wild Weasel payload including HARM Targeting System pod, two High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles and a self-protection jammer. Although F-16s are currently used, the Wild Weasel mission was initially carried out by the F-100 Super Sabres.
4. "Top-Notch Performers"
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Bradley Poirier, a crew chief with the 14th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, tightens a valve on an F-16 Fighting Falcon tire at Misawa Air Base, Japan, March 15, 2016. Poirier regularly checks to make sure tire pressure is correct to help ensure the safety of pilots and air crew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brittany A. Chase)
Working all hours of the day throughout any season, the wing's maintainers received recognition for their hard work during 2015. Airmen assigned to the 35th Maintenance Group claimed the Pacific Air Forces titles of Crew Chief of the Year, Senior NCO Maintenance Professional of the Year and Airman Scheduler of the Year, with the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron also winning the PACAF Maintenance Effectiveness Award.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Miklos Preysz, 14th Fighter Squadron pilot, prepares an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a night flight at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Mar. 25, 2015. Pilots conduct regular night flying to remain certified and also prepared to perform in all conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jordyn Fetter/Released)
Misawa's Wild Weasel pilots are assigned to either the 14th Fighter Squadron or the 13th FS, both of which have significantly contributed to this mission. The 14th FS pilots were named the top fighter squadron in PACAF, resulting in their nomination for the Raytheon Trophy, which highlights the top air-superiority and air-defense squadron in the Air Force. Two pilots formerly assigned to the 13th FS were also awarded the 2014 Mackay Trophy for flights conducted over Iraq. The trophy is awarded to the most meritorious flight of the year by an Air Force person, persons or organization.
5. "Because we're awesome"
F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi down the flightline during a surge operation at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 5, 2016. The exercise was conducted to validate the 35th Fighter Wing's ability to generate aircraft in a simulated combat scenario, with more than 70 sorties per fighter squadron being flown each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jordyn Fetter)
Misawa is no stranger to showcasing its air superiority. With annual deployments and numerous temporary duty locations, the Wild Weasels are involved with operations and exercises in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theatre, as well as worldwide. Although the mission is 50 years young, the Airmen and aircraft here remain ready to fight tonight.