US Air National Guard Receives Service’s First Combat-Ready F-15EX

Defence Industry

St. Louis (Missouri): The Air Force on June 5 received its first combat-ready F-15EX Eagle II fighter. The Boeing-made jet was flown from the company’s facility in St. Louis, Missouri, where it was built, to Portland Air National Guard Base in Oregon.



It is the first of 18 F-15EXs to be completed at the St. Louis factory that will be assigned to the Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing in Portland, and the first of nearly 100 operational F-15EXs expected to be delivered to the Air Force overall.


Wing Commander Col Michael Kosderka said in a video the Air Force posted online that it is unusual for the Air National Guard to receive a new weapon system before active duty units. But he said the skill of the 142nd’s pilots, maintainers, fuelers and logisticians made the wing the ideal to be the first to fly operational Eagle IIs.

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“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that an Air National Guard base got a major weapon system before the active component,” Kosderka said. “It’s a super big deal.”



Maj Calvin “Knife” Conner and Maj Brandon “Wiggles” Wigton, of the 142nd Wing’s 123rd Fighter Squadron, flew the two-seater fighter jet to Oregon. Air National Guard deputy director Maj Gen Duke Pirak attended the jet’s departure from the St. Louis factory.


“We’re here to protect the Pacific Northwest with our 24/7 alert mission,” Kosderka said. “We’re also here to now get this new weapon system that will allow us to participate and survive in major combat operations.”