JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
The Western Air Defense Sector hosted a formal dedication ceremony Sept. 13 at the WADS Air Park for a McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle, S/N 76-116.
“The ceremony honors both the aircraft’s legacy as America’s premier air superiority and air defense fighter, and the men and women of NORAD’s air defense enterprise, past and present, who have dedicated themselves to protecting our two great nations,” said Col. William A. Krueger, WADS vice commander.
“The aircraft will remind our Airmen everyday as they walk into the building that since 1960 our core mission has always been protecting the homeland. First as the Seattle Air Defense Sector, then the 25th Air Division, and finally as the Western Air Defense Sector.”
The aircraft has a long and varied history before making its’ permanent home at WADS. It became operational at the 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Langley AFB, Va., flying air defense missions in support of the NORAD from 1983 to 1986. It was later assigned to Holloman AFB, N.M., from 1989 to 1996 with the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Before going to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARC), known as the “Boneyard,” in 2004, its’ final assignment was to the 412th Test Wing, Edwards AFB, Calif., where it performed as a multi-role test support aircraft. This aircraft is one of only a few F-15s configured for anti-satellite weapons employment by carrying the ASM-135 Anti-Satellite Missile.
“It was an honor to have Col. Robert Hehemann as our guest speaker because of his wealth of F-15 knowledge since he was one of only three U.S. Air Force F-15 pilots who has three confirmed air-to-air combat victories,” commented Krueger.
Hehemann has served over 28 years in the active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and USAF Reserves and is currently the Individual Mobilization Augmentee assigned to the NORAD/US NORTHERN Command J3 Operations Division.
The ceremony was highlighted with a two-ship F-15 flyover from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, which was only fitting since the dedicated aircraft is painted with the 142nd FW “Redhawks” tail flash.
The F-15 had a long journey from its’ desert storage facility at AMARC to its permanent home at WADS. The dissembled aircraft was loaded onto two flatbed trucks and shipped to McChord Field in December 2015. Upon arrival at McChord, the aircraft was cleaned, painted and reassembled before making a slow move from the flight line to WADS where it was hoisted by a large crane and placed on its permanent pedestal June 14.