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F-16 honoring Robin Olds
Taken on Sep. 17, 2023 the interesting photo in this post shows F-16C Fighting Falcon 89-2060 assigned to the 8th Fighter Wing taxis across the runway during Beverly Pack 23-3 at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
After five months of runway reconstruction, 8th FW F-16s resume normal operations at Kunsan AB including routine training like Beverly Pack 23-3 which focuses on strengthening the wing’s rapid response capabilities.
As the picture shows the F-16 features a special tail flash honoring Colonel Robin Olds’ F-4C Phantom II 64-0829.
“Tail flashes are [part of the] unit pride and heritage all across the Air Force,” explained Shaun Chauta, 8th MXS director of operations in the article That’s so Metal; Corrosion Wraps Fourth and Final Flash by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, appeared last year on DVIDS. “It helps the maintainers, who repair these aircraft, as well as the pilots who fly them, connect with their heritage and show pride in their unit. It’s a way to link our current aircraft to previous generations of aircraft, pilots, and warfighters.”
F-16C 89-2060 was delivered to the US Air Force (USAF) in late 1990 serving the 68th TFS. 89-2060 joined the 35th Fighter Squadron (FS) in 2001 and in 2021 was given a special paint scheme honoring the legendary triple ace Robin Olds who led the earlier 8th FW and built the unit to become the well-disciplined and respected unit it is today.
Robin Olds and SCAT XXVII
Besides the tail flash, “SCAT XXVII” can be read of the Viper’s ventral fins. SCAT XXVII was the name given by Olds to his personal F-4C while serving with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron. This aircraft is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force. Olds named all his aircraft after his West Point roommate Scat Davis, who could not become a military pilot due to poor eyesight.
Flying 64-0829 Olds and Lt. Stephen Croker, the weapons system officer, destroyed two North Vietnamese MiG-17s in a single day, on May 20, 1967.
The Wolf Pack
In 1972 the 35th FS arrived at Kunsan AB, South Korea as part of the 8th FW. At this time the squadron was equipped with the F-4 Phantom II the first F-16s arriving in 1981. The then 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and its sister squadron, the 80th TFS (the squadrons and wing dropped the “tactical” designation from their titles during an Air Force-wide reorganization Jan. 31, 1992.), became the first overseas units to convert to the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
On Nov. 17, 2000, the 35th Fighter Squadron received its first Block 40 F-16s. The aircraft carry Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night, or LANTIRN, pods. The combination of LANTIRN and night-vision goggles allows the Wolf Pack to take the fight into the night. The 35th completed the conversion in February 2001.
The “Pantons” of the 35th FS provide combat-ready F-16 C/D fighter aircraft to conduct air operations throughout the Pacific theater as tasked by United States and coalition combatant commanders. The squadron performs air and space control and force application roles including counter air, strategic attack, interdiction, and close-air support missions. It employs a full range of the latest state-of –the-art precision ordnance, day or night, all weather.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick / U.S. Air Force