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380AEW Article

F-15E WSO, bro joins 1,000 combat flight hours club

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kentavist P. Brackin
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

A 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Airman completed his 1,000 combat hour in the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, April 9.


The 1,000 hour milestone, an equivalent to more than 40 days in combat, is lauded as a rare achievement, which some flyers never achieve.


Lt. Col. Bash, 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons system officer and instructor, achieved the milestone during the 177th combat mission of his career while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.


“Getting a 1,000 combat hours is significant achievement in a sense that it means he’s been on a lot of deployments and he’s got a lot of experience in combat, but it doesn’t happen very often,” said Capt. Baron, a 391st EFS weapons officer.


For Bash, a 14-year veteran of the F-15, the milestone event just another day of supporting friendly forces on the ground.


“Today was just another regular day where we’re went up and we’re trying to do the best job we can to support the guys on ground or whoever it is that needs our support,” said Bash. “At the same time it means I been doing this for a long time with a whole bunch of people. As I look back on my career and remember those teammates – other flyers, ops, maintenance and everybody that put everything together, I have a lot of appreciation for their efforts that have gotten me this far.”


Bash flew his first combat mission from Al Uldeid in 2003 where he sortied over the deserts of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From there he went on to deploy to several locations including Bagram, Afghanistan and a second trip to Al Uldeid before coming here for his fifth deployment nearly six months ago.


In those six months the Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho-based Airman has flown more than 300 combat hours and 55 flying missions supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and that’s just the way he likes it.


“The best part about being a WSO for the F-15 is being able to go do that mission of putting bombs on target on time and have it mean something, whether it’s supporting Americans on the ground or going out and neutralizing targets to prevent bad guys from carrying out their own goals,” he said. “That is the operational mission and being able to do it with teammates like the rest of the squadron is a lot of fun.”


Baron describes Bash as someone who, despite his wealth of experience and higher rank, is very humble and approachable – a key feature to being a good teacher and mentor.


“He flies with our young lieutenants quite a bit since he’s a more experienced flyer,” said Baron. “I’m sure it’s comforting for them to know they’ll have someone flying with them who will know what to do in many different situations because of the background he has with the F-15.”


He added, “In our community we use terms like ‘he’s a bro’ meaning, despite the experience or the rank he has, he’s always known as a bro to us…that’s a good thing. That means he is still one of us.”

(Due to safety and security concerns last names were removed.)