The 44th Fighter Squadron, an F-15 unit under the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan, won the Raytheon Trophy for 2012, recognized as the Air Force’s top air superiority squadron during last year. “I would just like to thank all the airmen for their professionalism, hard work, and sacrifices that ultimately made this award possible,” said Lt. Col. David Eaglin, 44th FS commander, in a March 11 Kadena release. “The 44th FS was deployed for over 290 days, and that kind of operations tempo can take a toll on our airmen and their families. To their credit, no one ever complained. They just packed a bag, suited up, and did what they were asked to do,” added Eaglin. The 44th FS closed out 2012 with more than 3,000 sorties, logging more than 5,000 hours of flying and providing air superiority over 11 countries across three continents, states the release. This marks the second consecutive year that a Kadena F-15 unit has earned the Raytheon Trophy: the 67th FS took home the 2011 award. (Kadena report by A1C Brooke P. Doyle)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.