An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | July 29, 2022

Eagle Soars for 50th Year

By Senior Airman Yosselin Perla 18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Created during a time of much needed skill and innovation, the F-15 Eagle remains undefeated in combat with over 100 air-to-air victories and zero air-to-air losses. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Eagle’s first flight.

Dating back to the Vietnam War era, the U.S. needed an aircraft that could go up against the MiG-25 Foxbat. The McDonnell Douglas Corporation answered the call with the roll out of the F-15 Eagle on June 26, 1972, with its first flight taking off only a month later.

“After its first flight was completed, the F-15 became a part of the U.S. Air Force inventory in 1974,” said James D’Angina, 18th Wing historian. “On September 29, 1979, the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, now the 18th Wing, received 16 F-15’s assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron. We were the first to receive the F-15 Eagle in the Pacific Theater.”

The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the U.S. Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield.Throughout the last 50 years, it has done just that.

The F-15 Eagle supported various conflicts throughout the Middle East, including Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, operations Southern Watch, Provide Comfort in Turkey, Allied Force in Bosnia, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

Here in the Pacific Theater, the F-15C Eagle plays a crucial role ensuring a free-and-open Indo-Pacific. The 67th and 44th Fighter Squadrons at Kadena Air Base are the only U.S. air superiority specialists in the Pacific that fly the F-15C Eagle.

“Kadena is located in the Keystone of the Pacific and we are able to showcase airpower anytime and anywhere,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Patrick Sullivan, 44th Fighter Squadron F-15C Eagle pilot. “This not only acts as a deterrent but also helps ensure freedom of navigation in the Pacific area of responsibility, as well as reaffirms our commitment to our partners and allies.”

Bilateral training with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) reinforces the U.S. and Japan alliance and fosters an environment to produce a more lethal and effective fighting force.

“Training with the JASDF synergizes efforts to seamlessly execute joint operation plans as well as build interpersonal relationships with our allies,” Sullivan explained. “Building camaraderie amongst our local partners allows us to learn from each other and overall become a more cohesive joint force.”

Despite its age, the F-15 Eagle remains relevant amongst newer aircraft. A key factor to the Eagle still flying proudly for half a century lies in the hands of the maintainers who work around the clock to ensure the jets are able to take off, as well as the pilots who push the aircraft’s capabilities to their limits.

“The Eagle may be a legacy platform, but over the years it has received numerous upgrades to keep it in the game,” Sullivan said. “It’s a unique combat platform that is highly adaptable. Not only does it have high-end sensors and weapons, but it also has a fuel load that allows us to project combat power throughout the entire area of responsibility. The people that help support the jet have been amazing in keeping it flying for so long, and the pilots have been able to evolve tactics over time to keep up with the current threats we may face.”

Like Us
Follow Us



CNO Hosts Full-Honors Welcoming Ceremony for Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng
Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng receives a full-honors welcoming ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, May 25. Beng, who earlier this month became the first naval officer to lead Singapore’s armed forces, reaffirmed with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday the enduring U.S.-Singapore bilateral defense relationship during his visit to Washington. (U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael B. Zingaro)
May 26, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng in Washington, D.C., for a full-honors welcoming ceremony, May 25.At the ceremony, CNO presented Beng with a...

Vietnam Vets Honored during 50th Anniversary Celebration
Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. walk the length of the wall March 11 and observe the more than 58,000 names engraved on the wall. The memorial is the most visited memorial on the Washington, D.C. Mall with more than 5 million visitors every year. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Sarah Sangster, Army News Service)
May 26, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- The Vietnam War Commemoration hosted Welcome Home, a three-day event in Washington, D.C. on May 11-13 to celebrate 50 years since the last Soldier, Master Sgt. Max Beilke, left Vietnam, and to honor Vietnam...

Washington Guard Prepares for Hanuman Guardian 23
Vehicles from 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, Washington National Guard, sit in the loading bay of a cargo ship as it is being loaded for travel to the Kingdom of Thailand prior to Hanuman Guardian 23 on May 23, 2023, at the Port of Tacoma, Wash. (Joseph Siemandel)
May 26, 2023 - TACOMA, Wash. -- This summer, more than 500 Washington National Guard members will take part in Hanuman Guardian 23, an annual, bilateral exercise hosted by the Royal Thai Army at the Cavalry Center in Saraburi, Thailand...

PACAF RQ-4 Global Hawks Arrive at Yokota Air Base
An RQ-4 Global Hawk, assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, 319th Operation Group, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, sits on the flightline at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 2, 2023. U.S. Pacific Air Forces began positioning RQ-4 Global Hawks at Yokota Air Base, Japan, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 15 to provide theater-wide enduring operations in support of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S, Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)
May 25, 2023 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Pacific Air Forces began positioning RQ-4 Global Hawks at Yokota Air Base, Japan, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 15 to provide theater-wide enduring operations in support of...

U.S. Partnership with U.K., Australia Enhances Security
U.S. Marines with 3d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Ground Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22, establish defensive positions as MV-22 Ospreys approach for landing during an airfield seizure event as part of exercise Koolendong 22 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtin, WA, Australia, July 18, 2022. Exercise Koolendong 22 is a combined and joint force exercise focused on expeditionary advanced base operations conducted by U.S. Marines, U.S. Soldiers, U.S. Airmen, and Australian Defence Force personnel. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cedar Barnes)
May 25, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- In September 2021, the U.S., Australia and the U.K. announced a new partnership, AUKUS, meant to strengthen alliances and security, especially in the Indo-Pacific. In March, plans for moving forward on the first...