Airmen in Air Force Reserve Command’s 944th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz., bid farewell to the last three of their 17 F-16s this week, complying with BRAC 2005 direction to send the Vipers off to other units. The trio of aircraft performed a flyover before departing for Las Vegas, where two of them are to serve with the aggressor squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev. The third will undergo maintenance at Hill AFB, Utah, and then will be assigned to an Air National Guard unit in Tucson. The 944th also loses the 302nd Fighter Squadron, which will form up at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, as an associate F-22 unit. The 944th will get to continue training F-16 pilots, as an associate unit to the active duty 56th Fighter Wing.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.