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Vipers in the Storm
Pilot Debreif


1) Flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon, especially in combat during Operation Desert Storm, is a thrill few individuals have experienced.  What inspired you to become a fighter pilot?

I have been fascinated with flying for most of my life.  When I decided to join the Air Force, most of the people I came in contact with had been or were currently fighter pilots.  The life they led and stories they told convinced me that the only thing I wanted to do in the Air Force was fly fighters.

2) When did you join the Air Force, and what was your first flying assignment after completing Undergraduate Pilot Training?

I was commissioned in June of 1984 and completed UPT at Laughlin AFB, TX in August of 1985.  My first flying assignment after UPT was at Eielson AFB, Alaska flying the O-2 and OV-10.

3) What aircraft have you flown, and what are the different bases you have been assigned to during your Air Force career?

I have flown the T-37 and T-38 at Laughlin AFB, TX.  The AT-38 at Holloman AFB, NM.  The O-2 and OV-10 at Eielson AFB, AK.  The F-16 at Hill AFB, UT and Al Minhad AB, UAE.

4) Which models of the F-16 have you flown, and how many hours do you have in the Viper?

All of my F-16 time is in the C/D models.  I have a total of 766 hours in the F-16 (Block 25, 30, 32, and 40).

5) What was your best assignment and why?

My best assignment was the three years spent in Alaska in the O-2/OV-10.  Even though they were probably the slowest aircraft in the Tactical Air Command, the missions we flew and experience we gained in a relatively hostile environment really prepared me for the challenges I would face later on.

6) This year marks the ten year anniversary of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the beginning of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Looking back, what was the experience of combat like for you?

For me, the combat experience re-defined my priorities in life.  My entire Air Force career had been spent preparing to engage in combat.  Once I had survived that hurdle, I was ready to move on to building a family and trying to make a difference in this world.

7) How many combat missions did you fly, and is there one particular mission that stands out more than any other?

I flew 26 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.  I was fortunate enough to participate in a mission supporting a small group of U.S. Army troops who needed help behind Iraqi lines.  Many people have claimed to have participated in this mission and we were certainly glad to have your support.  If you were a "pointer" and remember "guard on guard", you know what I am talking about.

8) What do you remember most about your time spent in the United Arab Emirates at Al Minhad AB?

What I remember most about the time I spent in the UAE is the sense of family that developed in the squadrons.  We learned to trust each other and work together to survive in conditions that were not always pleasant.

9) What have you been doing since the war, and where are you now?

I left the active duty Air Force in September 1991, and began a career with Delta Air Lines in November 1991.  I was fortunate enough to join the Air Force Reserve in 1993 as a member of the 419th Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, UT.  During 4 years of furlough from Delta, I worked in several squadrons in the 419th, finally ending up re-qualified in the F-16 and working as an Air Reserve Technician in the 466th Fighter Squadron.

I returned to Delta full time in October 1997 and am currently flying as a 757/767 first officer in the Salt Lake City pilot base.  My wife and I are expecting our third child in the next couple of weeks.


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Copyright © 2003 by Keith A. Rosenkranz.  All rights reserved.
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