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60th Fighter Squadron wins air-superiority trophy

by 2nd Lt. David Tomiyama
33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/29/2005 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- For the second time in less than 10 years, the 60th Fighter Squadron is the winner of the Raytheon Trophy.

Started in 1953 by Hughes Aircraft Company, the trophy is given annually to the top air-superiority or air-defense squadron in the Air Force.

“It’s quite an honor -- bottom line it’s the highest achievement that an air-to-air superiority squadron can get in the entire Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Toth, 60th FS commander. “It took the entire team for this to happen; it’s not just us, it’s the entire (33rd Fighter Wing).”

During 2004, the squadron’s Airmen flew 10 missions supporting Operation Noble Eagle, racking up 140 sorties and 516 hours. Some of these missions included guarding the sky over the president’s Texas ranch, and 24-hour airborne coverage of the G-8 Summit in Sea Isle, Ga. They also flew 4,749 sorties and 5,837 hours supporting peacetime operations.

While at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., for the weapons system evaluation program, the squadron’s Airmen conducted 10 live-missile firings and 24 live-aerial gunnery sorties. They also amassed 105 sorties and more than 137 flying hours, all the while maintaining a better-than 93-percent deployed mission-capable rate.

Perhaps the biggest key to earning the trophy is the relationship between operations and maintenance.

“It’s the teamwork, the bond and the relationship between that we have with our aircraft maintenance unit,” Colonel Toth said. “We have the best operations-maintenance relationship that you can see anywhere in the United States Air Force. Without their efforts there’s no way we would have accomplished the award.”

“The Raytheon Trophy is a huge accomplishment and one of the few awards that really captures the efforts of both operations and maintenance,” said Col. Brett Williams, 33rd FW commander.

The 60th FS winning the trophy was not lost on the maintenance side of the house.

“That they’re the best air-to-air squadron in the Air Force validates the work that we do to provide them quality aircraft so our pilots can train and stay proficient at tip of the spear of combat air superiority,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Davis, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. “It gives us satisfaction on what we do day in and day out.”

“The 60th FS clearly displayed its superior ability to mobilize, deploy, fly and dominate the sky anywhere in the world,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, a former 33rd FW commander. “My congratulations to the men and women of the 60th FS.”

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