The 425th Fighter Squadron Returns to Luke

The 425th Fighter Squadron Returns to Luke

The 425th Fighter Squadron Returns to Luke

Story and Photos by Steven Valinski

The 425th Fighter Squadron (425 FS) “Black Widows” returned to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona on Saturday, May 24th, 2014 after participating in Red Flag Alaska 14-1. Red Flag Alaska 14-1 took place from May 8, 2014 to May 23, 2014. According to the Red Flag Alaska website: “Red Flag Alaska, is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. forces, provides joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment”. The 425th FS was based at Eielson AFB, Alaska USA for this exercise.

As part of the 56th Operations Group at Luke Air Force Base, the 425th Fighter Squadron’s purpose is to provide advanced weapons and tactics continuation for Republic of Singapore Air Force’s F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel. This training is conducted as part of an agreement under the Peace Carvin II program. Under this program, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) purchased 18 Block 52 F-16 C/D Fighting Falcons.

Shortly after 1PM MST, the F-16’s of the 425th FS began to arrive. The first group of six aircraft was escorted by a McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender from the 305th Air Mobility Wing (305 AMW) based out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL), New Jersey USA. The second group of F-16’s arrived shortly after 1:45PM MST. This group of four F-16’s was also escorted by a KC-10A Extender from JB MDL. The KC-10’s were the source for aerial refueling on the trip home from Alaska.

Aviation Photography of the West was able to catch the action as the 425 FS returned to the base.

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Steven Valinski
Steven is from Long Island, New York and now resides in sunny Mesa, Arizona. Steven’s love for aviation began when he was a child with a fascination for WWII aircraft. This love of aviation was further fostered by his uncle, a long-time Trans World Airlines (TWA) employee who had a passion for all forms of aviation.

Steven’s interest in photography began when he was 16 years old when he received his first SLR camera, a Minolta XGA. It makes sense that eventually his passion for aviation and photography would merge into a love for aviation photography.

In addition to being the web designer, webmaster and chief editor of Aviation Photography Digest, Steven has been published in numerous magazines worldwide.

Steven has an M.S. from Boston University and uses Nikon photographic equipment.

Steven is a Nikon NPS Titanium member.

Steven can be reached at: [email protected]

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