Wednesday I flew my last syllabus flight, the 2nd of two Surface Attack Tactics (SAT). We briefed up a set of medium-altitude GBU-24 (GBU stands for ‘Guided Bomb Unit) attacks complete with threat reactions and threw in a little VIS JDAM and WCMD (Joint Direct Attack Munition and Wind-corrected Munitions Dispenser) for good measure. Unfortunately, a lot of jets broke during the 1st go, and two of us ended up stepping to jets without targeting pods. Later, #3’s targeting pod broke in-flight. So ultimately, they weren’t very good GBU-24 attacks, although we at least went through the motions of dropping them. The VIS JDAM and WCMD worked much better. On the way to the target, we pretended we were getting shot at by SA-6 SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles) and by S-60 57mm AAA (Anti-aircraft Artillery). We weaved up and down, left and right throughout the sky, and simulated jamming and threw chaff all over a small chunk of western Arizona. Of course, we can’t actually jettison our fuel tanks, so we didn’t really get an excellent hack at a good last-ditch turn, but it was still fun. It’s like doing acrobatics to save your own life! We finished the sortie, and that ended my involvement with the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB.
Thursday, I hopped into the back seat of one of the 310 FS’s -D models. Normally, this isn’t a terribly exciting event for a current and qualified Viper driver. However, I got to watch a FAC(A) upgrade flight (Forward Air Controller (Airborne)), and I watched from a newly upgraded CCIP (Common-configuration Implementation Program) Block 42. The new jet had LINK-16 capability, which is basically an airborne network that lets us see where everyone else on the Link is, and what they see and where it is. The jets I will soon be flying have this capability, so I wanted to see and learn a little bit before I actually have to use it myself. Plus, I’d never seen an F-16 firing WP marking rockets before. That certainly made target acquisition a lot easier.
Yesterday I simply grabbed all my paperwork and signed out. In the early afternoon, I was privileged to administer the commissioning oath to Rob K., a friend of a friend who just joined the Army as a First Lieutenant in the Chaplaincy. For anyone keeping count, I’ve commissioned two guys into the Army, zero into the Air Force, zero into the Navy, and zero into the Marines. The Navy and Corps I understand. I find it curious that my Army score beats my Air Force score. Anyway, Rob is a good guy with a great attitude, and the Army definitely needs him. After the mini-ceremony, I had to break off and go to an officers’ call, and after that the partying started. It was a great last day at Luke AFB.