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The parents of a marine pilot who rescued a downed Air Force F-15 pilot in Libya talked about their son’s rescue mission.
Captain Erik Kolle, 32, is safe after rescuing an airman who ejected from his F-15 after an engine malfunction.
Thomas and Karin Kolle said their son doesn’t know what all the fuss is about because he was just doing his job.
Thomas Kolle was following the story in the Internet when he learned that Ospreys were involved in the rescue.
“First thing I thought was that there was a possibility that Erik, being an Osprey pilot, might have been involved in the mission,” said Thomas.
A few hours later Thomas Kolle got an email from his son.
“It was very short and to the point,” said Thomas. “It said, ‘Dad, we landed about a hundred yards from the guy. It took him about five seconds to get on the aircraft, and we high-tailed it out of there.’”
The F-15 had crashed about 25 miles east of Venghazi, Libya.
Erik and his co-pilot found and rescued the downed pilot when they saw a flare on the ground.
Karin said her son told her the rescue mission was conducted without any shots being fired.
Kolle has been a marine for the past 13 years. He trained for two years to fly an Osprey.
“He was picked as the only one out of his class to fly the Osprey,” said Karin. “So I think it was all like he meant to do this.”
“I was very proud of all the people who participated in the rescue and also thankful that the pilot was rescued,” said Thomas. “(There) obviously could have had another outcome, which might not have been as pleasant.”
Thomas said he had a feeling Erik would be involved because prior to his deployment to the Mediterranean Erik had been through some specialized night flying certification. The rescue mission took place in the dark.
This is Captain Erik Kolle’s third deployment overseas.
USS Mount Whitney, Mediterranean Sea - Two crew members ejected from their U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle when the aircraft experienced equipment malfunction over northeast, Libya, March 21, at approximately 10:30 p.m. CET.
Both F-15 crew members ejected and are safe.
The F-15 aircraft, based out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, was flying out of Aviano Air Base in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn at the time of the incident.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.
The identities will be released after the next of kin have been notified.
Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to provide operational and tactical command and control of U.S. military forces supporting the international response to the unrest in Libya and enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973. UNSCR 1973 authorizes all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces.
NASA experiments with F-15 Testbed Plane for silencing sonic booms
The quest for a supersonic airplane that can quietly fly passengers over populated areas isn’t always about exotic airframes and developing futuristic shapes. Supersonic aircraft have been flying for more than 60 years, but much of the work to lessen the boom of supersonic flying is still focused on learning more about the shock waves that cause the window rattling noise.
The current research being done at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center is to develop probes that could be flown on an airplane flying in the supersonic wake of another airplane. Right now testing is being done with the probes on the belly of the F-15 testbed airplane, but in the future they would be mounted in clean air on the nose.
“Using these probes can be a real benefit in understanding and modeling the generation of shock waves and their associated sonic booms,” said Dryden research engineer Dan Banks. “They could allow us to accurately define the near-instantaneous flight conditions of the aircraft being probed, while defining that airplane’s flow field.”
In the same skies where the first supersonic flight took place back in 1947, NASA’s recent efforts are focused on developing the technology needed to get real time data of how shock waves are generated and their behavior during flight.
Flying at supersonic speeds is nothing new, but it is only permitted in restricted areas or over the ocean because of the sonic booms created when the shock waves from the aircraft reach the surface. In order for supersonic flight to be allowed over more populated areas, researchers in recent years have been investigating ways to lessen the shock waves emanating from the aircraft.
Eventually the NASA researchers hope to increase their understanding of the shock waves so the noise on the ground can be lessened and supersonic flight can become more routine.
On Feb. 15, Firefighters from the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron practiced extracting a simulated incapacitated aircrew member from a simulated disabled F-15E Strike Eagle during egress training at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB) in North Carolina.
The egress process begins when the firemen receive notification of an aircraft emergency. When they arrive on the scene they access the situation. After the quick assessment they extinguish all fires and hazards. Once the scene is safe based on the conditions they face a decision about best way to remove the aircrew members.
The second a fireman or ladder touches the aircraft the team has exactly 90 second to safely remove the F-15E Strike Eagle aircrew. The personnel extraction times vary depending on the airframe and the number of personnel onboard.
On Feb. 5, members of the 4th Fighter Wing gathered to honor their teammates who excelled throughout the year during the base’s annual awards banquet.
Those recognized during the ceremony ranged from first term Airmen to those who retired from active-duty and accepted civilian jobs on the base. The annual award nominees were treated to a base tour the day before the event where they learned about F-15E Strike Eagle munitions, and the missions of those who work in the explosive ordinance disposal flight, the air traffic control tower, the fire department and the military working dog kennels.
The 4th Fighter Wing commander, Col. Patrick Doherty, presented each of the nominees with a medallion at the start of the evening to set them apart from their peers during the banquet.
“Everyone who was nominated is a winner,” Colonel Doherty said. “You are all the back bone of this base, the best of the best here at Seymour.”
When the evening’s events concluded, 12 F-15 Airmen received the honor of being named the top achievers on the base.
“Receiving this level of recognition is such an honor,” said Airman 1st Class Armelyn Braceros, the Airman of the Year and a 4th Medical Operations Squadron health services manager journeyman. “I feel extremely blessed and a little overwhelmed because winning this award was beyond my expectation. This simply proves that through hard work and determination, you’ll be able to achieve anything you put your mind to.”
Kimberly Huskins Webb, the Senior NAF Civilian of the Year and 4th FW library director, said she felt honored to be recognized for her dedication to her customers.
“As a former Air Force dependent, I truly believe in the mission of the library to meet the needs of dependents, active duty, retirees and students of this base,” she said. “Even after being a librarian for more than 20 years, 17 years before coming here four years ago, I have never been more proud and dedicated to meeting the informational and recreational needs of such great people as those associated with the Air Force.”
Mrs. Huskins Webb, who shares her award with her staff members, has overseen several projects to enhance the services and events for their customers.
“The three big programs we had during 2010 included a local author night in February, a professional story teller in June and another story teller for the children’s Summer Reading Program celebration party in July,” Mrs. Huskins Webb said. “More than 100 people attended the storytellers and approximately 40 people attended the author night. I don’t think there has been an author night like we had with four local authors before, and it has been years since we have had any performers for the children.”
Master Sgt. Wayne Powell, 4th Force Support Squadron force management operations flight chief, earned the Volunteer of the Year title. Sergeant Powell is a dedicated volunteer with a range of organizations including the N.C. State Prison system, the American Red Cross and JROTC. In addition, he traveled to Kentucky to help with a construction project, organized a coat drive and coordinates volunteers to feed hungry people.
“This award is special because volunteering is something I love to do,” the Clovis, N.M. native said. “I appreciate the recognition but do not expect it.”
Sergeant Powell encourages others to dedicate time to helping in the community, but to volunteer for the right reasons.
“Don’t volunteer to win awards; do it because it means something to you,” he said. “Awards will come and go, but the lives you change will last forever. Everyone needs a hand sometime in their life. If you are the one capable of giving it, why not? Sometimes that is all it takes to change a person’s life.”
Earning an award is not going to cause F-15 Airman Braceros to become complacent in her job.
“This encourages me to do so much more and to keep striving for even bigger and better things,” the Honolulu native said. “I find it truly inspiring when my siblings tell me that I am one of their greatest role models and what I do inspires them to also work hard and keep aiming for success. It means the world to me knowing the fact that my family is extremely proud of what I do, and that they are there supporting me every step of the way.”
Like the other award winners, Airman Braceros recognizes that she did not earn this award strictly on her own, that it took the support of those around her.
“It took a lot of sweat and hard work but ultimately, I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I did if it weren’t for having supervisors who truly cared for their Airmen,” she said. “Their mentorship and leadership inspired me to do many things that I would never have been able to do on my own. It is their unwavering support which helps me keep going and encourages me to continue to set positive examples to my fellow Airmen.”
According to the Jan. 30 Yonhap news report, South Korea will bring forward its planned purchase of an advanced fleet of combat fighters with stealth capability to 2015, a project estimated at 10 trillion won ($9 billion).
The move comes as tensions persist on the Korean peninsula as the South is concerned about North Koreas’s missile building, while China confirmed earlier this month it had held its first test-flight of a stealth fighter jet.
U.S. and European defense companies have been gearing up for the third phase of South Korea’s fighter modernization program to replace decades-old F-4E and F-5E/F jets that have been involved in several fatal crashes in recent years.
“There is a consensus building within the government to speed up the next-generation fighter project,” Yonhap quoted an unidentified government source as saying.
“A budget of 300 million won is earmarked for the research and development this year, but (the government) could set aside additional money through a budget adjustment if needed.”
Under the original timetable, South Korea would receive proposals from defense companies early next year and pick one in August 2012 to introduce fighter jets with stealth capability between 2016 and 2020.