According to the video in this post, the 493rd Fighter Squadron won the 2020 Raytheon Trophy for the U.S. Air Force Top Air Superiority Squadron, the fifth time in a row for the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, England.
The squadron had already received the trophy in 2019.
“They should just call it the Liberty Trophy from here on out,” 48th Fighter Wing Commander Col. William Marshall said after the 493rd was awarded the trophy last year.
His words sounded prophetic.
The Raytheon Trophy, formerly known as the Hughes Trophy is awarded for outstanding performance to an Air Force or Air National Guard fighter unit with a mission in air defense or air superiority.
Every year, fighter squadrons across the Air Force are judged on their performance across specified mission sets, exercise participation, inspection results, and squadron and individual achievements.
The 493d Fighter Squadron, nicknamed “The Grim Reapers”, is part of the United States Air Force’s 48th Fighter Wing located at RAF Lakenheath, England. The 493d is currently the only USAF squadron flying the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15C/D Eagle within United States Air Forces Europe and has been flying the Eagle since 1994.
The squadron received its first maintenance trainer F-15C Eagle on Jan. 10,1994, then its full compliment of aircraft by Jul. 22, 1994. This marked the first time that the 48th had an air-to-air weapon in its inventory, after flying for more than 50 years with an air-to-ground mission. With its new weapon system, the squadron began a hectic pace of real-world deployments that would keep the unit constantly deployed from 1993 until today.
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog / U.S. Air Force
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