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Vampire Bats named Air Force's top air superiority squadron
Airman 1st Class Agustin Gonzales, 44th Fighter Squadron aircraft maintainer, performs final pre-flight checks with Capt. Jeffery Thomason, 44th FS pilot, before a mission on Kadena Air Base, Japan. Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, recently announced Kadena's 44th FS, known as the "Vampire Bats," as winner of the Raytheon Trophy for 2012. (Courtesy photo by Jake Melampy)
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Vampire Bats named Air Force's top air superiority squadron

Posted 3/5/2013   Updated 3/5/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Brooke P. Doyle
18th Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, recently announced Kadena's 44th Fighter Squadron "Vampire Bats" as the winner of the Raytheon Trophy for 2012.

Awarded annually since 1953, the Raytheon trophy is awarded to the top air-superiority or air-defense squadron in the Air Force. Units are not only evaluated on operational mission performance, training and organization as a whole, but also individual achievements, awards and unit incentive programs.

The 44th FS closed out the year with more than 3,000 sorties, logging more than 5,000 hours of flying; and also provided air superiority for 11 countries across three continents.

"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. "The 44th FS was deployed for over 290 days, and that kind of operation 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."

In 2012, the squadron did more for global United States' interests both at home and abroad than any other fighter squadron in the world.

The Vampire Bats re-wrote a joint and combined operational plan which is now being adopted verbatim by Allied Forces Central Europe. They also participated in two major contingency deployments, three flag-level exercises, six international training exercises, five operational readiness exercises and four international air shows.

"Whether flying from their forward-based home in the Pacific or protecting joint assets throughout the world, the Vampire Bats always delivered unparalleled air supremacy," said Lt. Gen. Stanley Kresge, Pacific Air Forces vice commander.

During the year, the squadron proved they were the best not only as a whole, but individually as well. Airmen from the 44th FS were awarded various awards: Bronze Star, Air medals, Air Force Commendation medals and Air Force Achievement medals.

"They have set themselves apart as dominant air superiority warriors," said Carlisle. "Their long legacy, from flying some of the first sorties on Dec. 7, 1941, to combat sorties in U.S. Central Command, have proved them worthy to join the long line of excellence that spans 57 years of Raytheon trophy competition."

3/10/2013 4:02:33 AM ET
Those that are able to employ with impunity in the air to ground and surface warfare missions should be thankful for our air superiority squadrons instead of scoffing them. Easy to forget what they will provide when it matters. April 15 1953 is day we should never forget like so many have within our own military.
Air Superiority Steward, The Earth
3/6/2013 11:07:17 AM ET
So how many combat hours did those guys fly How much did they employ
Sammy Small, Deployed
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