U-2 Pilot Reaches 100 Combat Missions

Maj. William Gottenberg on March 9 returned from completing his 100th combat mission in the high-flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft on a sortie over Southwest Asia. Gottenberg, who is deployed from Beale AFB, Calif., and switched from the RC-135 to the U-2 in 2005, said the time flying the U-2 at 70,000 feet “goes by really quickly once I get on station … interacting with guys on the ground providing them with actionable, near real-time intelligence.” Lt. Col. Kirt Stallings, commander of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron from Beale, thanked Gottenberg, saying his “100 [combat] sorties in the U-2 is a big deal.” Gottenberg believes the U-2 “in the last three to four years … has revolutionized itself in how we employ it.” (380th Air Expeditionary Wing report by MSgt. Scott Sturkol)