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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?

When I was 7 or 8 years old my parents took me to an air show at Fallon NAS, NV and a pilot put me in an F-86 or something like that and let me play around in the airplane, from that day on all I ever wanted to be was an Air Force fighter pilot.

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

First assignment out of pilot training was to Hahn AB, Germany.

Maj. Mike

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

I spent my first 3 years as a B-52 navigator assigned to Ellsworth AFB, SD and went to pilot training just as I made Capt. From there F-16 to Hahn AB, Germany//AT-38 Holloman AFB, NM//F-16 Hill AFB, UT//f-117 Nellis AFB, NV//F-117 Holloman AFB, NM//F-16 Beni Suef AB, Egypt//F-16 Luke AFB, AZ.

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

I flew block 10/15/25/30/32/40/42 and finished with a little over 2300 hours in the F-16 and a little over 4900 hours total during my 20+ years.

5) What was your best assignment and why?

Two best assignments for me.  My initial F-16 tour at Hahn AB because the F-16 was new, the cold war still on and the flying was great.  Most of Germany was a low fly area where we flew at 250 feet, any other fighter could jump you and you them and we deployed all over Europe.  My last assignment as an F-16 squadron commander was also great, working with and for 250+ great men and women and flying LANTIRN F-16's.

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?

Combat was something you train for your entire career and very few ever see it. It was good to validate both your training and your own discipline.

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

(No answer given)

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

Remember most was the roller coaster of emotions from the initial excitement of deploying to a possible combat zone to the boredom of hanging out in the hot desert for months with no end in sight, to the excitement/nervousness of flying combat for the first time, to the casualness one developed flying combat almost daily.

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

After the war I had three more flying assignments ending my career as the commander of the 310 Fighter Squadron, a great way to end an Air Force career. I have been flying for United since May 1997 and am currently flying 767's out of LAX.


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