Saturday, September 25, 2010

Enchilada Memories

I was a member of the 'Enchilada Air Force' from 1966-1970.  I enlisted in the New Mexico Air National Guard in May 1966 and was discharged in June of 1970.

I spent two years on active duty including my training as a photographer/cinema photographer at the USAF Photo School at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.  This photo is in my quarters at Luke AFB in Arizona.  My military service was mostly a great experience.  I left with the rank of Staff Sgt.  The technical and artistic composition training I received at photo school set me on a path to journalism and politics.

Andy House and I went out to the Air Guard today for an open house.  Sadly, the 150th Tactical Fighter Wing of the NM Air Guard will lose their last aircraft, the F-16 fighter in a few days.

Then they will search for a new mission.  The would like to get some F-22s like the one above, but they and other units like them might end up with no piloted aircraft as drones take over.

This old Photo is one I took back in 1966 of one of F-100F Tactical Fighter Bombers.  The F-100 was the first supersonic fighter put into service.

Other Aircraft in the Air Guard's inventory over its lifetime have always been fighters.  I remember as a child watching their World War II era P-51 Mustangs at the airport.

They had a few P-80s which Andy described as a plane that couldn't get out of its own way.

They then went to F-100s.  As a photographer I logged missions in the back seat of the F100F.

They flew the underpowered A-7s for a while.  The pilots I knew didn't like them much.

They then got into the really hot F-16.  It is hard to believe this aircraft now is deemed obsolete.

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