A large crowd of well wishers saw the last of The 389th Fighter Squadron's F16s depart MHAFB on March 29th as part of the base's realignment to a core F15E Strike Eagle installation. The transition is nearly complete with the first F15E's from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska arriving in December of last year and the last scheduled for this May.
The 389th Fighter Squadron "Thunderbolts" have proven outstanding in many respects but one stands out in my mind. Over nearly 16 years of operation, the squadron's F16s flew more than 57,787 sorties without a single, major accident - an incredible performance by air crews and maintenance personnel alike.
I allow myself a poignant moment or two when units leave the Mountain Home community and I've had those moments a number of times over the past 40+ years. Whether it was the F4s that served so bravely in Southeast Asia or the majestic B1 bombers that left to support operations in Afghanistan and which never came back to Mountain Home - it's hard.
I think it's hard because when see these young men and women leave, mostly kids we may have known for only a couple of years but whom we're so very proud of, it's a bit like saying goodbye to your own children - and that's never easy.