Turning Silver

Members of the F-117 Nighthawk community—retired and active—gathered at Holloman AFB, N.M., Oct. 29 for the Silver Stealth ceremony to celebrate the aircraft’s 25 years of history and 250,000 flying hours. “This was a strategic weapon that really reshaped how the Air Force looked at strategic warfare,” Lt. Col. Chris Knehans, commander of the 7th Fighter Squadron said. The Air Force’s first stealth fighter served in Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Slated to retire soon, replaced by the new F-22A stealth fighter, the F-117 still is in a class all its own for scores of pilots and maintainers. Knehans noted that it’s understandable to shed a 30-year-old concept, but he added, “When you look at its history, its design and its combat record—yeah, the Air Force is going to lose basically a very unique weapon system.” (Read our October article “Fade to Black” on the Nighthawk.)