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The 56th Fighter Wing’s mission is to train the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots and maintainers, while deploying mission ready warfighters. The wing, part of Air Education and Training Command, is home to more than 170 F-16 aircraft and 26 squadrons of which eight are F-16 fighter squadrons. The 56th Fighter Wing graduates more than 400 F-16 pilots and 470 crew chiefs annually.

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Luke Air Force Base News

Thunderbolts volunteer for Litchfield Elementary field day

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

March 20, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Luke Air Force Base Airmen went to Litchfield Elementary School to help support the school's field day March 6.

Twenty five Thunderbolts volunteered for the annual event to run activity stations and interact with the students.

"I think it's pretty cool whenever we can give back to the community," said Tech. Sgt. Douglas Schmidt, 56th Contracting Squadron Plans Programs Flight NCO in charge. "It also gives us a chance to teach the kids a thing or two."

The Airmen ran several stations including tug-of-war, tag, 30-yard and 50-yard dashes, Frisbee golf, and more. The activities were divided into two groups: kindergarten through first grade and second grade through fifth grade. The students talked with the Airmen at each station.
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Winners train, losers complain

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

March 20, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

"Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong." ~Unknown

Luke Air Force Base's varsity basketball team was practicing March 5 at the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness Center to maintain a 6-0 record.

"This team practices well but listens better during game situations and knows how to execute to win the game," said Montey Smith, varsity basketball coach. "Even though there are no superstars, they play well with good camaraderie."
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Luke 1 flies first ØstudentØ F-35 sortie

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

March 19, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

The 56th Fighter Wing officially began training new F-35 pilots today when the first student, Brigadier General Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, flew the wing's first training sortie.

Luke has a long and storied history of training fighter pilots. Advanced flight training in the AT-6 began at Luke in 1941 and by 1944 pilots at Luke had achieved one million hours of flying time. That legacy will continue with the F-35, an unprecedented fifth generation fighter combining stealth technology with fighter speed and agility, fully integrated sensors and network enabled operations, and state-of-the-art avionics. Luke's operators and maintainers will continue to generate local F-35 sorties. The 56th FW will continue to build the pilot and maintainer cadre and complete training systems preparations for the start of formal training with our international partners in May.
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Flyovers: Sight, sound of freedom

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 13, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

They are breathtaking, flawless and can cause the viewer to have goosebumps. They look easy, but, according to those who perform them, flyovers take training, skill and precise decisions to execute.

The most recent flown in the area was the Super Bowl flyover, where the Thunderbirds, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, passed over the University of Phoenix Stadium in a Delta formation, a tight six-aircraft V formation.

"The process starts when wing headquarters coordinates with the agency," said Maj. Michael Artiges, 308th Fighter Squadron assistant director of operations. "The direction of the flyover is determined by the organizer."
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Biggest Loser competition about to begin

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 13, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Obesity -- more than 78.6 million U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only is it to blame for conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, it is costly to the U.S. and those who suffer from it.

To help fight the bulge, the Luke Air Force Base Bryant Fitness and Warrior Fitness Center has come up with the Luke's Biggest Loser Competition, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 23.

"This is the fifth year we have held this annual competition and the reason is there is a plethora of people who need help and want to get a jumpstart on their health and fitness goals," said Paul Johnson, 56th Force Support Squadron Bryant Fitness Center fitness specialist supervisor. "This program is a perfect impetus to get them started on not just working out, but also to get them to learn about themselves during the process and how to eat right."
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CMS: Little things add up in big way

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 13, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

In order for the F-16 Fighting Falcon to fly at Luke Air Force Base, the Viper needs assistance from behind closed doors. This is where the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron comes in.

The 56th CMS is composed of several sections including propulsion, precision measurement equipment laboratory, accessories, avionics, hydraulics, electro environmental systems, fuels and egress.

The 56th CMS mission is to produce the finest aircraft maintainers while improving aircraft availability.
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MDG team takes all in B-ball championship

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 13, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

The buzzer went off, and the ball swished through the net. MDG defeated CE in a nail-biter 42-40.

Last year, the 56th Medical Group became the winners of the 2014 intramural basketball championship. This time around, they faced the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Feb. 3, and once again MDG proved to be the best in 2015.

The basketball was thrown into the air for the tip-off, and the game began with high speed intensity on both ends of the court. Both teams were scoring back and forth, but CE was able to take the lead with 12 seconds left on the clock during the first half. MDG had an opportunity to tie the game but failed and CE finished the first half 19-16.
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Thunderbolts Newest Major and Colonel Selects

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 10, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Please join Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, in congratulating our Team Luke members who promoted to the next rank! Great job, Thunderbolts! Continue to Rise Above!

Colonel (select):
John C. Peterson, 309th Fighter Squadron

Major (selects):
Christopher A. Behrens, 56th Operations Support Squadron
Bradford J. Brizek, 54th Operations Support Squadron
Mark S. Browning, 308th Fighter Squadron
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VH1 brings Super Bowl concert to Luke

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 6, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Hundreds of Thunderbolts waited in line, some with faces painted and signs ready, in anticipation of seeing their favorite artists -- Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX.

The VH1 and Papa John's Super Bowl Blitz: A Concert for the Troops event was hosted by Nick Lachey, former 98 Degrees band member, in Hangar 999 at Luke Air Force Base.

Speaking for the group, Fall Out Boy's bass guitarist shared some words.

"I think it's important to give back to people who are of service to you, and it seemed like it was a cool opportunity to go up and meet our troops, interact with them and see what life on the base is like as well," said Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy bass guitarist.
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‘First Faces’ shines light on Thunderbolt

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 6, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

A Luke Thunderbolt has been nominated for the First Faces award, a monthly Air Education and Training Command Chaplain Corps program that honors Airmen who do great work that highlights diversity while doing the mission.

Airman 1st Class Arta Rexhepi, 56th Medical Group public health technician, has overcome tremendous odds to be where she is today. Her story is different from her peers.

Rexhepi was born in the small town of Uglar, Kosovo, located in the central Balkan Peninsula. She lived there until age 4 when her life took a drastic turn.
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FSS squeaks by AAFES 49-44

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

February 6, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

The 56th Force Support Squadron basketball team took on the Army and Air Force Exchange Service basketball team Jan. 28 at Luke Air Force Base and picked up a 49-44 victory.

The 56th FSS stayed on top, but the game got closer as halftime approached. The first half ended with a score of 20-23.

"We played smart and made sure we kept control of the game the first half," said Koraye Williams, 56th Comptroller Squadron customer support technician from the FSS team. "They really made us work for that lead."
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Luke 1 takes last Viper ride

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

January 30, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, took his last flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon Jan. 23 symbolizing another step forward in realizing Luke Air Force Base's new mission -- training the world's greatest F-35 fighter pilots.

"My last flight in an F-16 is a personal milestone, but it also represents a big change for all the 56th Fighter Wing Airmen," Pleus said. "I have been flying the F-16 for 22 years, so I am going to miss the jet. But I am excited to start my F-35 training and learning how to fly our amazing new jets."
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61st AMU assigns first F-35 dedicated crew chiefs

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

January 30, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

Even though being a crew chief may not seem like the most rewarding, their role is crucial in today's Air Force.

Crew chiefs have played an invaluable part through the advancement of aviation over the past 100 years. They are technically proficient in most, if not all, aspects of aircraft maintenance and work with specialized maintainers to keep aircraft flying and mission capable. Without crew chiefs, the mission to train the world's greatest fighter pilots would not happen.

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Luke hosts NFL Pro Bowl practice

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

January 23, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

NFL Pro Bowl players came to the Luke Air Force Base football field January 22 to practice and sign autographs for service members and their families.

Since 1938, the Pro Bowl has been an NFL tradition during which players are selected by the coaches, players themselves, and the fans. Players who are accepted into the Pro Bowl are considered to be elite.

This year, Pro Bowl players were separated into two teams--Team Carter, named after Chris Carter, former NFL Hall of Famer, and Team Irvin, named after Michael Irvin, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver.
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Pilot saves six Marines earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor

This post was originally published by Luke Air Force Base - Luke Top Stories

January 23, 2015 in Arizona, Luke Air Force Base by clevine

It was October 2008 in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. A Marine had been shot twice in the arm, another in the helmet and the Marine Special Operations Team had three of their weapons damaged by fire. They were outnumbered 11 to one and in desperate need of air support.

The enemy began overwhelming them with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and small-arms fire. The last building they found cover in had been struck by more than 20 rocket-propelled grenades causing the walls to crumble forcing the team into their last few defensible rooms. For more than two hours the team repelled three attempts by the enemy to breach their cover. They were approaching a hand-to-hand combat situation.
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